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Submitted By

Shayna Johnson

Fort Worth, TX, USA


I went outside after a rainy night to count and clean birdbaths. I saw this little out front shivering. No other birds birds were cold or fluffed up. He flew away — no trouble flying. I went out back and he was just sitting on the feeder and flew to the birdbath. He sat took a few sips, sat a bit more then flew to one of the feeders. He ate and sat then flew away. He flew back 2 additional times while I was outside. Once to sit and watch on a well-protected feeder and another to the feeder favored by pine siskins. He ate some but mostly protected his perch from anyone who dared fly his way. Nothing seemed to be sticking to his bill like is described with salmonella. Would anyone be able to follow-up with me or be interested in video of this bird?


Sick behavior


Lethargic, Possibly Sick, Pine Siskin

6 replies on “Lethargic, possibly sick, Pine Siskin”

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Shayna, This does indeed seem like a sick bird. Exact diagnosis may be impossible without testing, but Salmonella is certianly possible. Symptoms are not always obvious. Sick birds may appear thin or fat and fluffed up and may have swollen eyelids. They are often lethargic and easy to approach. Some infected birds may show no outward symptoms but are carriers of the disease and can spread the infection to other birds. Because of this, we recommend taking any feeders down and cleaning them as well as cleaning your bird bath and refreshing the water. You can learn more about the best methods for cleaning from this webpage.

Judy Smithey says:

We have had several sick Pine Siskin in our yard and feeders. We decided to take our feeders down since several of little dead birds have been found. At first we thought it was the freezing weather but after the snow and the weather was milder, then we realized that they had been infecting each other. We cleaned out the feeders,washed them out with bleach and water threw away the seed and start all over. That has stopped the outbreak.


Here in Bonner County, northern Idaho, were advised to take down all of our bird feeders for at least a month. Salmonella has been reported. I am hoping we can restart counting soon.

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Judith, Salmonella outbreaks are unfortunately common in years when species such as siskins, irrupt southward. It’s ok to skip FeederWatch counts if you wish, but you are also welcome to instead count the birds that come within your count site – perhaps attracted to other things such as plants or water features. if you have more questions, please email us at

Erin Kahle says:

Hi Holly, the Fish and Game request to remove all feeders has been expanded to southern Idaho now as well. I’m sure I will have lingering angry birds chirping at me for a few days. This close to the end of the season, I suspect we will probably just have to keep the feeders down permanently. So far I haven’t seen any birds that appeared to be sick but I certainly don’t want to inadvertently cause it to happen either.

Thank you for providing the suggestion to count birds that show up at the count site without the feeders present.

Lisa armstrong says:

I think I have may have a sick pine Siskin. I’ve never seen one at my feeder. Stayed for quite sometime and chased away other birds. Looked like there was something sticking to its bill.

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