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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.

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"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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