Sunday, March 1, 2009
Suet and Bird Deaths
There seems to be a trend of sick and dying Siskins and Goldfinches.
It looks like there may have been a severe Salmonella outbreak and yes the peanut butter recalls might be partially to blame. Suet containing peanut butter or peanuts has been recalled and once it is in the wild population it is spread through feces.
So if you see dead birds around your feeders or sluggish sick birds, dispose of the seed in the feeders, wash the feeders with a mild bleach solution and discontinue feeding for a few days to let the fecal material around the station get washed away by snow and rain.
To be on the safe side make your own suet with the recipe below from Birds & Blooms, Feb. 2009.
2 cups cornmeal
6 cups water
1/2 cup bacon drippings
1 cup flour
1 rounded teaspoon sand
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon red pepper
Raisins, nuts optional(avoid peanuts)
Mix cornmeal with water, boil and cool. Add remaining ingredients. Mix in enough additional water to bind mixture together and pour into small foil pie pans. Bake at 400 degrees until brown. Hang the pans in a tree and watch the birds flock to the treat.