South Carolinians are being asked to temporarily take down their bird feeders following a troublesome rise in bird deaths.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) is requesting that residents remove their feeders until early April, which is when Pine Siskins —the birds at the greatest risk—begin to migrate north.
According to SCDNR, Pine Siskins are more susceptible to getting sick from dirty bird feeders than other species, but they're not the only birds suffering.
A particularly wet winter in the Palmetto State has caused mold and bacteria to form on bird seed, both in the feeder and on the ground. This risk of mold, which can cause fatal avian diseases, is greatly reduced when bird feeders are cleaned regularly.
"While many South Carolinians enjoy feeding wild birds, those who have bird feeders must ensure their bird feeders stay clean. Without adequate care, bird feeders can harm, rather than benefit, the local bird population," the department explained in a statement. "Dirty feeders can harbor spoiled feed, seed hulls, and waste which can become a source of bacteria, mold, and transmissible diseases between birds."
But don't worry about offending your feathered friends. SCDNR is adamant that they will be back.
"Temporarily removing bird feeders from your yard will not prevent wild birds from returning after the feeder is put back up," the department notes.
It's not goodbye, it's just see you later!