Dirty feeders can kill birds, DNR warns

May 10, 1994

Maryland Department of Natural Resources wildlife specialists cautioned songbird lovers yesterday to keep bird feeders clean, after reports of isolated outbreaks of disease among some finches and sparrows.

Edith Thompson, DNR urban wildlife biologist, said sick or dead songbirds have been spotted this spring around the state, although most reports have come from the Baltimore-Washington area.

"We've had more reports than normal," Ms. Thompson said, adding that there is no link between the diseased songbirds and the avian cholera that killed more than 35,000 waterfowl this winter on and around the Chesapeake Bay.

Ms. Thompson said bird feeders should be cleaned each time the food is changed.

She also said that if sick or dead birds are found near the feeders, people should stop providing food for at least a month and notify DNR's Urban Wildlife Program.

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