Bird feeders and avian influenza - Cornell as a resource

Lisa Myers

As one can imagine, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife often take a conservative path. Ed said it all very well in his email. Another reference is Cornell as they study wild bird populations for a living. They have updated their online information on this subject just this week. I encourage folks to take a look at their insight into the issue.

Lisa Myers

On 9/14/22 9:05 AM, ed pandolfino via wrote:

Though I can’t disagree with Lily’s post on this, I’ll offer a nuanced counter. I suspect that, if one is willing to commit to scrupulously disinfecting the perches on your feeders every couple days (keep a spray bottle with 10% bleach handy), the benefits of winter feeding probably outweigh the risks. I suspect that the largest risk comes from those who rarely (if ever) disinfect their feeders. And the benefits of supplying our urban birds (including the wintering Cooper’s Hawks that take indirect advantage of this) with supplemental food are probably substantial. That said, birds are resourceful and know better than to rely on a single source of food so you probably won’t damage the population dynamics by NOT feeding this winter.
Ed Pandolfino

-----Original Message-----
From: Lily Douglas <ldouglas14@...>
To: kathy.blankenship@...
Sent: Wed, Sep 14, 2022 8:37 am
Subject: Re: [centralvalleybirds] Bird feeders and avian influenza

Hi Kathy,

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is discouraging feeding and providing water to wild birds, especially in the vicinity of backyard poultry or other captive birds.

There probably isn't a large risk to the species that would visit feeders, but I've personally chosen to follow this advice, particularly because there are a number of backyard chicken flocks in my neighborhood.

Lily Douglas (she/her) ~*~ ldouglas14@...
Midtown, Sacramento, CA

On Wed, Sep 14, 2022 at 6:07 AM Kathy Blankenship via <> wrote:
Hi everyone,

I typically offer bird seed to White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows during the winter.  Early in the morning I may have as many as 20 sparrows jostling with each other to grab a bite on the tray feeder.   I try to keep the area swept up and once the sparrows migrate I remove the tray.  With the threat of avian influenza should I feed wild birds this winter?

Kathy Blankenship 
Davis, CA

Lily Douglas
Sacramento, CA

Kathy Blankenship

Hi Lisa, 
Thank you so much for the link!  I have a better understanding of the situation and I am going to feed my winter visitors as usual.

Kathy Blankenship
Davis, CA