The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks has reported an avian salmonella outbreak in Billings, Montana, the Billings Gazette reports.
Wildlife managers were tipped off to a problem by a large number of dead birds in people’s backyards, the article says. One homeowner found 50 dead birds. Some of the dead birds were sent to the US Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin and were diagnosed with avian salmonella.
Both the article and information from the National Wildlife Health Center say that humans are susceptible to some strains of salmonella that infect birds, so people should use caution when cleaning bird-feeders in a 10 percent beach solution — preferable in a bucket outside.
“Most of the dead birds are red crossbills.” the Gazette article says, noting that this species is particularly susceptible to salmonella.
Photo: This red crossbill is in the Deschutes National Forest Located in Oregon and does not have salmonella. By Dave Menke, courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service