[Tweeters] Pine Siskens

Diane Weinstein diane_weinstein at msn.com
Sun Apr 13 13:34:21 PDT 2008

Thank you Jim! I have also wanted to help the Pine Siskens, but did not know how to other than keeping the feeders and bird baths clean.

Last year I picked up a product at a pet supply store called Marvel Aid for caged birds. It is a broad spectrum antibiotic drinking solution that is given instead of water. It contains 15 mg. of sulfadimethoxine per fluid ounce. I was later advised that this type of antibiotic would not help with salmonella, so I never tried it. Has anyone else tried it or have any knowledge of this product?

Diane Weinstein

----- Original Message -----
From: Jim Ullrich<mailto:jim at wbugigharbor.com>
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu<mailto:tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 12:48 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] Pine Siskens

Over the past 16 years we have seen various cycles of illness developing
in our Pine Sisken flocks. The number of reported ill birds this Spring seems to be far
less then in years past. The larger the flock, the better chance they may have of spreading
Salmonella amongst the group, in their evening roosting area primarily.
We have found that cleaning the outside of your feeders is very important, especially,
if there is an outbreak of conjunctivitis or salmonella. We recommend wiping down the outside
with a 10% bleach solution to kill any bacteria that may be on your feeder. Swab out the seed tray, if
you use one, 2-3 times a week to remove any droppings. Also water in any droppings on the ground
under your feeders to stop the spread of any diseases to your ground feeding birds.
We have also found that an ill Pine Sisken gets all puffed up and lethargic and will just sit on a perch
or in your seed tray. You can actually go out pick them up and nurse them back to health.
We have had a 71% success rate of getting them through the first night of illness. We have a small
box ready for them in the house, a little water tray and small pile of sunflower chips in another tray.
When I have brought them inside I put my gloved finger in H2O and put it on the beak of the ill
bird and it invariably will drink any number of drops of fresh water. I then put it in the box for the day/
evening. Check it again a few hours later and go through the fresh water routine.
Next morning we have been lucky enough to see a good number of survivors fly back into their native
It is like having a bad human cold, we need H2O, food and rest to get over the hump
of any illness. The same applies with our friends the Pine Sisken, we believe.
We also recommend that you keep your bird baths full and clean, and your feeders full
and clean. If you take the food and water source away, you may exacerbate the problem
by removing a guaranteed clean feeding area.
Sincerely, Jim Ullrich

3120 1/2 Harborview Dr
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
253-851-2575 or 800-851-2575
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