I have been feeding my birds here in the city where I live( Chicago). I usually ground feed because we have too many birds in the area and not enough places to put feeders in our back yard. I have within the last week had 2 sickly pigeons. One I captured last week died the night I captured it. I have no idea what was wrong with it, it just acted odd, kind of slow going and staying by itself. I have now another pigeon who is acting off as well, just staying by itself. It stayed on my upper level back porch all night last night and has been up there again most of the day today. I am just leaving her/him be. The back porch is semi-enclosed so it is pretty hidden up there and out of the wind and elements.
Anyhow, I am now worrying maybe they got sick from my ground feeding them?? I mean birds poo everywhere, even where they eat. We try and sweep up the poops daily, but it is hard in the winter months because the ground is so wet outside with the snow and such. We never leave food laying out overnight. In fact the birds gobble up all the food as soon as we put it out usually. We clean the areas once a week with a bucket of hot water and soap. Also we change our bird baths daily. We have a thermostat de-icer that is meant for birdbaths, it prevents the water from freezing.
Is it safe to ground feed? I worry with the poops they leave all over that maybe this is why two pigeons are sick?? I mean this is just a guess. The other birds seem okay( starlings, and sparrows) as far as I can tell. We did find one dead sparrow last week near our garage, but again, that could be from anything since it is only one bird out of the load that are coming here to eat. I was reading about Salmonella and how it can spread amongst them. I mean lets face it, pigeons and other birds can be messy and they even stand in the birdbaths and poop in it as well. Like I said, we change the waters out with fresh daily and scrub the baths weekly usually. How does everyone else here feed their wild Ferals? Am I making them sick. I just think it is odd I have 2 pigeons so far within a week that have come here sick and not acting right.