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LET’S TALK GARDENING – Bird Feeding

By Doug Hensel
Doug's Blog

BIRDING IS THE COUNTRY’S SECOND-MOST POPULAR PASTIME (AFTER GARDENING)

BIRD FEEDING IS OKAY AGAIN IN VIRGINIA

Some of you may be asking yourself “was there an issue with bird feeding last year?” The quick answer is yes. But, for us here in Central Virginia we were not affected as badly as in the mountains and Northern Virginia. Last year it was highly recommended to stop bird feeding due to reports of birds displaying eye and neurological signs.

Many bird lovers are asking if it is safe to feed birds once again in Virginia. The resounding answer is YES!! So many bird lovers stopped feeding birds last year out of an abundance of caution. Being such a strong and popular pastime, so many bird lovers were saddened by the news last year that Virginia was one of the first states that received reports of birds displaying eye and neurological signs. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources began documenting dead or sick bird reports.

ADVICE FOR BIRD FEEDING

But, as of this past August the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources released the following advice about feeding birds: WE ADVISE RESIDENTS THAT CHOOSE TO FEED BIRDS OR PROVIDE WATER IN BIRD BATHS SHOULD REMAIN VIGILANT FOR AVIAN MORTALITIES AND CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES:

  • CLEAN FEEDERS AND BIRDBATHS REGULARLY WITH A 10% BLEACH SOLUTION. This solution will help prevent future infectious diseases spread between birds and other wildlife. After cleaning, rinse well with water and allow to air dry.
  • WEAR DISPOSABLE GLOVES WHEN HANDLING BIRD FEEDERS AND BATHS AND WASH YOUR HANDS WHEN FINISHED.
  • KEEP PETS AWAY FROM SICK OR DEAD WILD BIRDS.
  • AVOID HANDLING WILD BIRDS: If you must do so, disposable gloves or place an inverted plastic bag over the bird in order to avoid direct contact. Dispose of dead birds in a closed plastic bag in household trash.
  • IF YOU OBSERVE ANY ADDITIONAL BIRD MORTALITIES IN VIRGINIA, submit a mortality event to the DWR.

Personally, I am ready to get back to feeding our feathered friends. Every year I get more attached to birding. So, between my love of gardening and my love of birding, I seem to be in very good company. But, this year will be a little more challenging in wanting to help protect our birds. But, it will be worth the challenge!!

ENJOY THIS WONDERFUL PASTIME!!!!!

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