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A healthy pine siskin (left) and a healthy common redpoll feed on a thistle feeder Thursday afternoon at Hartley Nature Center in Duluth. There have been reports in Northeastern Minnesota of diseased pine siskins and redpolls this spring. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Are dirty feeders killing the Northland's birds?

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Redpolls and pine siskins are dying at bird feeders in central and Northeastern Minnesota, and the cause is suspected to be salmonella from spoiled feed.

"The first signs came in late February," said Rich Staffon, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources area wildlife manager at Cloquet. "We've had a dramatic increase in inquiries in the last couple of weeks. Huge numbers [of birds] have built up at people's feeders, in the hundreds of birds in some cases."

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