[Tweeters] Salmonella in backyard birds - WA 2020-2021 update WDFW

Anderson, Christopher D (DFW) Christopher.Anderson at dfw.wa.gov
Thu Feb 11 13:56:31 PST 2021

Hi Tweets,

Current recommendation by WDFW is through end of February in WWA and through end of March in EWA based on what we are seeing through today.

See our blog here as it outlines all of this and has frequently asked questions: https://wdfw.medium.com/frequently-asked-questions-on-salmonellosis-in-wild-birds-cae47b1c13dd

King 5 relayed a month longer than our current recommendations (good intent and these things happen) - WDFW Public Affairs is reaching out to have that corrected.

WDFW continues to receive elevated reports of songbird ill/dead (particularly siskin) across the state - 10 times plus more coming in than in other years (even other salmonella years in recent times - it is a doozy and as our wildlife vet recently put very well "still raging"). I think it is pretty safe to say that yes, siskin are driving this, and are the main carrier in the larger region. Along with that the concern is siskin hold potential to spread this around more due to their spatial ecology and foraging patterns being widespread in comparison to most other "backyard" feeder birds. Both symptomatic and asymptomatic potential there with carrier individuals. Infected birds/other animals spread it to features that concentrate birds/wildlife (like feeders). Other area birds that are less likely to have erratic, landscape-level foraging movements can then pick it up via eating contaminated feed and/or contact transfer. For example, hypothetical salmonella load on a shepherd's crook from siskin perching and defecating on perch; hummingbird or other bird - I use hummingbird since there has been debate, perches on crook that has salmonella load - preens, ingests salmonella load and then we may have issues in that individual animal, more carrier individuals, more spread, etc. Hummingbirds can come down with salmonellosis - but yes usually not related to their feeding per se. The sugar nectar we provide them is not really a source - it is the potential for a scenario like what I just mentioned - being close to other sick birds or surfaces that they can pick it up from and being unnaturally concentrated within and across species. The situation we have can support not only a more widely distributed point spread pattern of species moving it around (mainly siskin) but also, plausibly, more localized birds can keep it within the local area circulating about due to infected feed, surfaces, etc.

We are seeing this all up and down West Coast (BC through California and inland a bit, e.g. Nevada, Idaho, etc.).

Seattle Audubon and many area wildlife rehabbers such as PAWS have been relaying similar to WDFW and in contact with us regarding all of this. A big thanks to all citizens, partners - all that are taking this to heart and taking measures as they can. No different than past years we have had similar epizootic outbreaks with salmonellosis in backyard birds - just a real bad one this winter!

Audubon has a general salmonellosis info page here for basic background on the illness: https://seattleaudubon.org/learn/birds-of-wa/bird-facts/bird-diseases/salmonellosis/

Please report sick/dead/injured wildlife on this WDFW page: https://wdfw.wa.gov/get-involved/report-observations

Thanks for all that folks are doing and for keeping this in mind!

Chris Anderson
District Wildlife Biologist
District 12, King County
WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife - Region 4
16018 Mill Creek Blvd.
Mill Creek, WA 98012
425.775.1311, ext 111
Christopher.Anderson at dfw.wa.gov

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