Watchable Wildlife

Backyard Wildlife

Many people enjoy watching wildlife in their own yard. Some want to provide food, nest boxes and habitat for their visitors. Watchable Wildlife Program staff encourage you to get involved in creating habitat through our Habitat at Home© Program or just by putting out some bird seed. Roughly ¼ of Americans feed and watch wildlife around their homes, so you are among many friends. Remember, if you want to be a good host, you have responsibilities too! Resources provided below explain some of the issues related to wildlife viewing and taking care of your visitors, as well as providing feed and getting the most out of your own habitat!


We have received several reports of large die-offs of pine siskins, goldfinches and other passerines from western Virginia (Rockbridge County and south). Similar events have also been reported from other southeastern states including WV, NC, and TN. Necropsy findings of birds from other states indicate that these die-offs are due to Salmonellosis, and we suspect the outbreaks in Virginia are also due to Salmonella sp. infections. Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that is commonly spread among passerines at bird feeders. More information can be found at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center.

Some suet feeds have been recalled because of the recent Salmonella outbreak related to peanuts. You can find out which ones at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. Please be advised to check to see if any bird feed you are using is on the recall list, and please discontinue using any recalled feed. Also, be advised that you should safely dispose of any dead birds by placing the carcasses in a plastic bag and disposing of them in the garbage, or by burial in the ground. Direct contact with any carcasses should be avoided, and hand washing after handling is advisable.

If you find dead birds in your yard or at your feeder, please report them to your nearest VDGIF regional office.

Providing For Wildlife

Agency Resources

Other Resources