September 10, 2012

Bird Feeder Claims First Victim

Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. A backyard bird feeder claimed its first victim today. Owner of the feeder, Lionel Deimel, reported Monday that he found a dead bird at his feeder in the morning. He went out on his deck intending to fill the empty feeder, where he discovered the deceased songbird.

Deadly bird feeder
Deadly bird feeder
“I was so upset when I saw the bird,” Deimel explained, “that I didn’t even try to identify it.” The bird had seemingly expired while feeding at the house-type feeder sold by Wild Birds Unlimited.

Deimel indicated that he was unable to dislodge the bird with a stick. He had to use tongs to remove the avian corpse.

“As I removed the bird, it became clear that its death was not natural,” Deimel said.

Investigators concluded that the victim was trying to obtain seeds when the feeder was empty or nearly so. Apparently the deceased put its head into the seed bin, where it became trapped by the plastic bin wall. (See photo below.)

Feeder station
Feeder station where bird was killed

Speculation focused on the shape of the seed bin wall, which is made of clear plastic. The bottom edge of the wall, where seed is released into a shallow feeding station, is higher in the center than at the edges. Investigators suggested that the bird may have reached into the bin at the center, moved its head to the side, and been unable to extricate itself.

“I don’t think the feeder is really dangerous,” Deimel said. “There is no danger to birds unless the feeder is nearly empty. Unfortunately, birds can empty the feeder pretty fast.”

Wild Birds Unlimited, which sells the feeder made from recycled materials, was not available for comment.

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