According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, a statewide Salmonella bacterial infection has caused the sporadic mortality of some wild birds.
“Many of the deaths have been associated with bird feeders or birdbaths,” said LDWF State Veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour said. “Typically, an infected bird has picked up the infection from either a bird feeder or birdbath. That, in turn, spreads the bacteria among other birds.’’
LaCour said when dead birds are observed, it is best to remove the feeder and/or bird bath and clean them with warm, soapy water and a 10% bleach solution and allow them to dry. The bird feeders/baths should be stored, out of use, for two months to allow birds to seek other feeding sources to break the cycle of infection. Any contaminated bird feed should be discarded.
Bird carcasses should be picked up with a sealable plastic bag and disposed of in the trash to help minimize contamination of the landscape and infection of other animal species.
Salmonella bacteria can be contagious to humans so it is best to wear rubber gloves when handling infected bird feeders/ baths and carcasses of dead birds, and to clean feeders/baths outdoors and away from food preparation areas.
For more information or to report significant bird mortalities, please contact Dr. LaCour at Jlacour@wlf.la.gov.