2020 Superflight Brings Large Concentrations of Flocking Birds

Portland Audubon’s Care Center is seeing an increase in admissions of Pine Siskins and other flocking birds showing symptoms consistent with a salmonella outbreak. Salmonella is a bacteria that people and pets can be susceptible also. Always wear gloves or wash your hands after handling feeders or sick birds.

When you have large concentration of Pine Siskins or finches at your feeders, and any time you see a sick bird:

  • Clean and disinfect your seed feeders daily to prevent spreading disease. Wash feeder with soap and water, rinse, soak or spray with 10% bleach solution, let set for 10 minutes, then rinse again and allow feeder to dry completely before refilling with food. Having a second feeder to rotate in/out for cleaning will buy you time to deal with the used feeder while allowing you to put out a clean feeder each day. Keep area around feeder clean (spray poles, fences, branches, grass, etc. with hose, rake soil below feeders) and consider rotating feeder to alternate locations in the yard.
  • Alternatively, you can remove your seed feeders for 7‐14 days to help the birds social distance.  Consider waiting twice as long if you still have a concentration of Pine Siskins in the neighborhood after the first 14 days.


  •  are lethargic
  •  stay hunkered at a feeder when others leave
  •  look plump; feathers are fluffed to stay warm from chills
  •  may have difficulty getting lift or unable to fly


  • Call or take bird to Portland Audubon’s Wildlife Care Center

Open 9‐5 every day / (503)292‐0304 / 5151 NW Cornell Road, Portland

  •  If after hours, keep bird in a warm, dark, quiet, and confined place overnight and bring them directly to the WCC the next morning

For information about this year’s superflight of finches go to https://www.audubon.org/news