Lets go birding together! Those that are bird curious at any level are always welcome. My bird outings are inclusive of all gender pronouns, sexual orientations, races, cultures, ethnicity, ages and socioeconomic status. Current bird outings are limited to a group of 5 or less, with masks on and socially distanced due to Covid-19. We will meet at the birding location. Contact me at Roniq@shebirds.com for birding rates.
As a Birdability Captain, I also support accessible birding which helps to remove barriers to birding and the outdoors for those with mobility and or other challenges. Bird outings that are accessible will be noted as such in the description.
Please follow your states or countries Covid-19 guidelines when birding. If you are able to, enjoy birding safely on your own or mask up and social distance with birding pals.
As always when birding follow the American Birding Associations Code of Birding Ethics.
Creating a healthy, bird friendly and safe environment enables us to connect closely to nature. Observing birds from a distance increases overall human wellness by providing a calming, mindful and enjoyable experience.
This is especially true in a time when so many of us are staying close to home and maybe just learning about the joys of birds around us. Many people hung up bird feeders for the first time in 2020 during shelter in place orders and may not realize that as we are providing a food source we also have a responsibility to help keep our visiting birds as healthy as possible.
Currently there is an outbreak of Salmonellosis in birds from British Columbia to the bay area of California as well as parts of Idaho and Montana.
It coincides with an "irruption" year of Pine Siskin visiting from the Boreal forests up north where a lack of cone seeds have caused them to shift south in massive numbers as they look for food. Pine Siskins are social and congregating in such high numbers on feeders is contributing to the spread of Salmonellosis which can spread to other songbirds as well. Salmonellosis is highly contagious and fatal. Unfortunately infected birds rarely recover.
As of now, Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife is recommending that people remove their seed feeders completely until at least April 1st 2021 to slow the spread of this fatal bacteria. When rehanging your feeders it's advised to only fill them halfway full and monitor them for sick birds as well as clean them weekly. If you see a sick bird remove feeder for at least a week, clean and rehang.
It's important to keep our feeders clean and keep an eye out for sick birds visiting feeders and yards all throughout the year. With our bird species rapidly declining, birds can use all the help we can give them.
Information on Salmonellosis and birds
Consider planting native plants and avoid pesticide use to provide a healthy environment for birds and pollinators to shelter, nest and feed. Find native plants to your area with Audubon's Plants for Birds database.
Consider turning your yard, school or place of work into a Certified Wildlife Habitat. A win win for our local wildlife and us! I transformed my tiny condo backyard into one. It's fun and easy!
Roniq Bartanen (She/Her)
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Pine Siskins visiting my feeder before the Salmonella outbreak. Photo by Roniq Bartanen
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