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Why Do American Goldfinches Get Avian Conjunctivitis?

Why Do American Goldfinches Get Avian Conjunctivitis?


Stephanie Bradberry is an educator herbalist, naturopath, and energy healer. She loves all things natural and the beauty of nature.

As an avid, but amateur, bird-watcher, there is always a thrill when the opportunity to add a great picture to our album arises. This is especially true since I work hard feeding the birds and doing whatever I can to attract them so my husband can take the picture. However, not every picture can make the cut. This was the case with a seemingly perfect picture of a male and female American Goldfinch.

An Almost Perfect Picture

“Hey, honey, look at this,” said my husband. It was one of the bird photos from our backyard that showed a male and female American Goldfinch feeding off our thistle sack. This was the perfect opportunity to include a picture of our state bird in our album. But it looked like the bright yellow male was missing an eye!

The excitement over a new picture to upload to our website waned. The paler female looked fine, but her mate was not so picture-perfect. What was wrong with this American Goldfinch? We posted our pictures to an online discussion board: WhatBird.com. Our first response came back concerning the goldfinch: “Your bird has conjunctivitis. The poor thing will probably die soon.”

What Is Avian Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis, known as avian conjunctivitis and mycoplasmal conjunctivitis for birds, is a disease caused by a parasitic bacterium. Our male goldfinch had the typical symptoms of red, swollen, watery or crusty eyes. As the disease progresses, the eye(s) can swell shut or crust over, leaving the bird blind. Infected birds have trouble feeding because they cannot see.

But, the symptoms seemed odd, considering conjunctivitis is a respiratory infection. Clearly, the bird was breathing. And, the disease is commonly found in House Finches, not American Goldfinches. I had to look up more information about the disease.

The History of the Disease

The spread of avian conjunctivitis was first noticed in 1994 when House Finches—with the symptoms listed above—were seen at feeders in the Washington, D.C. area. Until the 1940s, House Finches were only found in western North America and Mexico. In 1941, the birds were sold illegally in a New York pet store as “Hollywood Finches.” Knowing that the authorities were coming to inspect his shop, the Brooklyn shop owner set the birds free.

The birds bred successfully in the wild. But, with so few birds to populate the species in the east, the birds became highly inbred. And inbred species tend to become susceptible to more health and physical problems.

Why Was an American Goldfinch Infected?

So why was a male American Goldfinch in a central New Jersey backyard infected? American Goldfinches are part of the same family as House Finches, Fringillidae. Purple Finches, Evening Grosbeaks, and Pine Grosbeaks have been known to contract conjunctivitis. This is no surprise since they are also in the same family, but it is extremely rare. But studies do show an increase in the amount of infected songbirds.

Because we get many species of birds in our backyard, I did not want the other birds to become infected. All I could think about was the faithful female goldfinch in our picture becoming as sick as her mate. I needed to know what to do.

Ways to Help

  • Disinfect: The best defense against infection is to disinfect. Cleaning feeders with one (1) part bleach to nine (9) parts water will sanitize the feeders. Let them dry before re-hanging them in the yard.
  • Rake: Another way to prevent the spread of infection is to rake under feeders to remove potentially contaminated seeds, shells, and bird droppings. Handling a feeder after an infected bird has fed on it is not a problem, as this strain of the disease does not affect humans. Sometimes people are confused because humans do get a form of conjunctivitis, pink eye. However, avian conjunctivitis cannot be transmitted to humans.
  • Report: You can also be part of the bird-watching survey for Cornell University and report infected birds.

Great Sources

  1. Link to House Finch Disease Survey run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/hofi/hofifaqs.html
  2. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “House Finch.” All About Birds. Cornell University, 2011. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/house_finch/lifehistory

Cite This Article:

MLA

Crosby, Stephanie Bradberry. American Goldfinches: Avian Conjunctivitis. HubPages, 2011. Web. Today’s date.

APA

Crosby, S. B. (2016). American goldfinches: Avian conjunctivitis. Retrieved from http://www.hubpages.com/hub/American-Goldfinches-Avian-Conjunctivitis.

Questions & Answers

Question: My goldfinch has an eye disease. Will it die?

Answer: Without treatment, your goldfinch will die because it will have trouble seeing and finding food.

Question: Am I making the spread and transmission of conjunctivitis worse by keeping backyard feeders?

Answer: Yes and no. It is important to track if you notice any infected birds. If you notice them it would be a good idea to routinely disinfect your feeders.

© 2011 Stephanie Bradberry

John Bryans on March 06, 2017:

Thanks for writing about this, Stephanie. We are saddened to see several of our South Jersey goldfinches affected this year, after seeing just one in 2016.

Lindaflee on February 12, 2017:

I was somewhat surprised to see the shot of an American Goldfinch with conjuctivitis in this article. It's my shot, taken on March 17, 2008 at one of my backyard feeders, and I did not receive a request for permission to use this shot! Several years ago, I allowed the Audubon Society of California to use it, but I believe that's the only time I allowed it.

Stephanie Bradberry (author) from New Jersey on February 24, 2015:

Hi Coolgurl,

I did not know there were centers like this in NJ that would help rehabilitate a bird with conjunctivitis. This is awesome news to me.

Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing!

Coolgurl on February 21, 2015:

Thank you for your article. I am in South Jersey and found a female goldfinch with Conjunctivitis. I had no idea what was wrong with it. A wildlife rehabilitate is caring for it and administering oral antibiotics hoping it will cure it.

Stephanie Bradberry (author) from New Jersey on January 27, 2015:

Hi poetryman6969,

Thanks. We all have our strengths. For all else, find someone else who is. But with time and patience we can often learn the skills of others :)

poetryman6969 on January 27, 2015:

Some lovely birds. I am not too good at taking care of animals but I am glad someone is!

Stephanie Bradberry (author) from New Jersey on September 23, 2012:

Hello Michael,

Thanks for stopping by. It is fun when you get to see birds fairly up close and personal. We only got to see a Baltimore oriole once in our yard. It was literally there one minute and gone the next. I read about them in my bird books and cut an orange in half and tacked it to the tree it was at to try to coax it back to our yard. No luck though. We have cardinals year round, and it is actually the mascot for a lot of schools in my area. They are most beautiful during mating season. Thanks for reading!

Michael Milec on September 22, 2012:

StephanieBCrosby, Hi .

Thanks for so many information Ina relatively short article.

[ That's my " professor" mastering the English language --your own words to me, formerly (Martus)]

Watching and feeding birds is least to say quite rewarding pastime.

Mine feeder hangs roughly 4 feet away from the pedio dor on 2nd floor deck area, giving me a pleasant view to be part of their fellowship in looking at each other.

American Goldfinches come to the feeder mostly when the sparrows and House finches leave.

One of the rare beauty the Baltimore Oriole comes seldom and stays only for a very short time ; Northern Cardinals are showmasters in demonstrating of elegant eating, they throw empty shelves of black sunflower seed away...

Observing their unique behavior , one has to notice each of them given specific features by the Creator to make world more interesting. One of that is a sense of "selfsufficiency " as they build their " houses" create their offspring , take care of them: feed and educate them , bringing to maturity, thus the next season , the procedure would continue. ( Oh, what a lesson for humanity!)

It's a pleasure to read your pleasantly composed writing.

God bless you. ( Michael)

Stephanie Bradberry (author) from New Jersey on June 11, 2012:

Hello Movie Master. Thank you for the wonderful comments and feedback. I never heard of the condition either until we heard back from the discussion board. So far so good though, no more birds have shown up since then with the condition.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on June 11, 2012:

Hi Stephanie, a very nice article with interesting and useful information.

What beautiful birds - I had never heard of this condition before.

I enjoyed reading, thank you and voted up.

Stephanie Bradberry (author) from New Jersey on April 25, 2012:

Hi daisynicolas. My heart really did break when I learned the probably fate of the pair. Right now I am looking out my front window at the sock feeder and all the goldfinches and house finches eating. I keep watching to make sure there are no infected birds. Thanks for reading.

daisynicolas from Alaska on April 25, 2012:

Thanks for making us aware of this condition. Educational and clear to understand with a lot of empathy.

Stephanie Bradberry (author) from New Jersey on December 01, 2011:

Hello grandmapearl. Thanks for your response to my article. My heart really broke once I found out what the fate was going to be for this beautiful bird, and other finches. I also hope the recent findings from CLO are accurate.

Connie Smith from Southern Tier New York State on December 01, 2011:

Hi Stephanie! I have heard and read about this disease, which seems to have such horrible consequences for our beautiful finches. I think it originated with chickens. But I have also read that recently the problem seems to be lessening, according to the latest findings from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I'm hoping that this is truly the case. Thanks for such an informative look at this nasty problem. Voted Up, Useful and Interesting

Stephanie Bradberry (author) from New Jersey on May 23, 2011:

It is sad. Now every time I see a goldfinch I always wonder in the back of my mind that if I look closer will it be an infected bird.

Mrs. Menagerie from The Zoo on May 22, 2011:

Very interesting info regarding these beautiful little birds. I didn't know anything about them. I'm sorry for the poor little guy, so sad!

Stephanie Bradberry (author) from New Jersey on May 05, 2011:

Paradise7, thank you. I know, I felt really bad once I knew the end was near for such a lovely bird.

Stephanie Bradberry (author) from New Jersey on May 05, 2011:

ColibriPhoto, thanks so much. I cannot take all the credit for the photography. Usually I just yell for my husband to get the camera. I just make the birds happy so they will keep coming back.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on May 05, 2011:

Good info on the finches. Poor thing!

ColibriPhoto from Quito, Ecuador on May 05, 2011:

Nice article with good information. It is one thing to like birds, it is another to care about them. When you care it is reflected in your photography and your life. Keep up the good work.


Why Do American Goldfinches Get Avian Conjunctivitis? - pets

It should be pointed out at the outset that while MG shows characteristic symptoms which make it relatively easy to spot, other diseases can cause similar symptoms (see below) and the only way to know with certainty if any given bird has MG is to have it tested by a qualified avian disease lab. Since in most cases this will be impractical, if you suspect the birds visiting your feeder may have MG, check with your state wildlife office for their advice.

Thus far the only songbirds in the wild in which MG has been confirmed have been house finches and American goldfinches. From personal observation, in these two species the visible symptoms of MG have been similar. At least in the case of house finches, MG can appear in one or both eyes. This may also be true in goldfinches (the SCWDS's Fischer EID Article study data in fact includes "unilateral" cases of goldfinches), however each of the seven goldfinches I have seen with MG-like symptoms had both eyes affected).

In its early stages, I have noticed that in many finches, though not all, MG causes them to squint at first or they will be seen sitting quietly either blinking their eyes or simply with their eyes closed. Often, the rims of their eyelids will appear slightly swollen. A great danger at this point, even though swelling may not yet be severe, is that if the birds eyes are watering, the secretions can dry, essentially gluing the birds eyes shut (while I have seen this in house finches, too, I have found this to be a particular problem for most of the few goldfinches I have observed). Some finches, however, will show no squinting at all. The following photos [Figure 1] show one open-eyed male and three other finches with their eyes closed or squinting, as they feed, showing early development of MG. Judging from the loss a feathers around the eye of the open-eyed male on the far left, it may have had MG for some time but has not developed much swelling. (See Goldfinches photos, below, for two examples of closed-eyed goldfinches.)

From my own observations, MG can take some time, about a week or longer, from first becoming evident until it becomes obvious, though individual cases may vary greatly. In the photos below [Figure 2], each finch has clearly swollen eyelids and the feathers around the eyes have been lost, making a dark purplish exposed ring of swollen tissue around the eye. Also, each of these has the underlying conjunctiva, the redish-pink tissue surrounding the eye, exposed and protruding below their eyes. While not all finches will show this protrusion of underlying tissue, many do.

Additionally, the eyes can become very watery, causing the feathers around the eye to become matted down. In many cases, the swelling caused by MG can become huge [see photo on left, Figure 3]. This swelling further aggravates the situation for many finches in that it acts as a dam, preventing the eye secretions from draining, leaving the finch functionally blind, as though trying to see out from the bottom of a pool or, as noted above, risking the eyes becoming glued shut as these secretions dry. Finches with watery eyes can often be seen rubbing them (either to clear their vision or perhaps because they itch, or perhaps both?), sometimes causing the area to become further caked with dirt. As some finches rub their eyes, this will cause wet feathers to point outward, forming tufts, giving them the appearance of being "little owls" [see arrow in right photo, Figure 3]. These tufts can provide a clue that a finch has MG, even when its affected eye cannot be seen directly. In the "group photo" on the opening page, there is at least on male with one of these MG-related tufts, possibly two.

As noted previously, in early 1996, American goldfinches became only the second songbird species in the wild confirmed to have become infected with MG. Below [Figure 4] are photos of three such goldfinches taken in January and February, 1996. The one on the right was later confirmed by the SCWDS to have had MG.

FIGURE 4. The goldfinch on the right was among the first in the country confirmed to have had MG. During the time I was able to observe this bird, it had daily problems with its eyes becoming glued closed by the drying of its eye secretions. Photos by the Author. [Return to text reference]

There are two other sources of photos of finches with MG that I am aware of on the World Wide Web. The Cornell Labs' House Finch Study has one photo currently. Additionaly, the Ley EID DNA Study has two more, one of which is of a goldfinch.

Summary of Visible Symptoms of MG

Finches with MG can show one or more of the following symptoms:

  • One or both eyes may be affected.
  • Sitting quietly, eyes closed.
  • Squinting or blinking of eyes.
  • Visibly watery eyes.
  • Feather tufts protruding from the side top of the head and/or wet, matted, or caked feathers around the eyes.
  • Rubbing eyes on branches, poles or other surfaces, such as bird feeders.
  • Protruding or exposed conjunctive tissue below the eyeball itself.
  • Swelling of the eyelids (sometimes hugely), typically with loss of feathers around the eyes, producing a ring of inflamed pink or purplish exposed tissue.
  • Often more than one finch at a feeder at the same time will show MG symptoms, in some cases irrupting to affect as many as 30 to 40 percent of them.

Other Conditions that Might Be Confused with MG

Considering the abundance of finches coming down with conjunctivitis in the eastern US, generally speaking in these areas a swollen-eyed finch will most likely have MG (especially if it is known that MG exists in ones area). However, not all finches (or other birds for that matter) with conjunctivitis or swollen eyes will in fact have this disease. The only way to know for sure what disease any given bird has is by having it tested.

Initially, in early 1994 when swollen-eyed finches first began appearing in the mid-Atlantic area, some had suspected the disease might be chlamydiosis, a rare disease spread via droppings. Many people upon seeing a swollen-eyed finch with MG for the first time at their feeders suspect the bird has injured its eye somehow. Birds, just as people, can get insect bites that cause swellings, or develop into infections. In short - any number of things can cause a bird to develop a swollen eye.

As noted by Dr. Kollias of Cornell University:

Conjunctivitis may also be a sign of a disease that affects the area around the eyeball, such as sinusitis (inflammation of the respiratory sinuses). . some organisms that cause conjunctivitis include bacteria such as Chlamydia psittaci, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa fungi such as Canada albicans viruses and nematodes and protozoa.

Conjunctivitis can also be caused by exposure to aerosols such as cigarette smoke and chemical fumes, environmental toxins, and certain types of ultraviolate radiation. These irritating factors are not usually a problem for wild birds.

If so many factors can cause conjunctivitis, why do we think that the crusty-eyed House FInches seen at feeders are indeed victims of Mycoplasma? Lab tests have confirmed the diagnosis in some locations. Also most other diseases don't usually cause such severe infection. One that does, avian poxvirus, is transmitted by biting insects, so it's not usually a problem after the first hard freeze.

- Dr. George V. Kollias, Birdscope, Spring 1996, page 5

Of all the alternative causes of conjunctivitis and swollen-eye symptoms in songbirds, the one apparently most likely to be confused with MG, as noted by Dr. Kollias, is avian poxvirus.

There are two types of avian pox, one that infects air passages internally (or "wet pox"), and one that causes exterior "wart-like" growths on exposed areas, such as the legs and feet, where the beak joins the face - and around the eyes ("dry pox"). [See first frame, Figure 5] As explained to me by Dr. Kim Miller of the National Wildlife Health Center:

. wet pox does not look like MG. Avian pox is a viral disease that has two forms - dry and wet (or "diptheritic") pox. Dry pox is more common and consists of warty growths on featherless areas of the body. Wet pox is less common and affects the mucus membranes of the digestive and respiratory tracts.

Avian Pox growths can vary in size from small to quite large. . sometimes pox lesions may appear as pinkish, yellow, or dark colored growths or raised swellings. . Areas affected with pox can also develop secondary bacterial infections. Because of the variation in presentation of avian pox and the fact that other organisms such as bacteria can cause conjunctivitis, culture results are the only way to definitively determine the cause of the disease.

- Dr. Kimberly Miller, NWHC, Madison, WI

Thus avian pox can appear in some forms to be similar to cases of MG. Unfortunately, I have thus far been unable to locate any photographs of finches with pox lesions similar in appearance to those of MG, for comparison purposes. In the event I do, I will add them here.

FIGURE 5. The photo on the right shows "a house finch with avian pox growths on the beak and sere." At center is yet another finch I suspect had a pox growth, though I cannot be sure since it was not tested. On the right are two photos of a male mourning dove with some sort of lesion above its right eye. Its cause was never determined and could have been caused by anything from a disease, to an injury, or a cat attack. The photo on left is by M. Richeson, from the National Wildlife Health Center brochure, Coping with Diseases At Bird Feeders (see "Bird Feeder Safety and Hygiene" section of page "Web Links and Other Resources" for information about obtaining this brochure.) All other photos are by the author. [Return to Avian Pox text reference.]


Does MG Already Exist in Far Western States?

Over the past five or six months, since January, 1997, I have come across a number of reports from people believing they have seen finches with MG, but in places where MG has not yet been documented to have arrived, places like New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, California and the Pacific Northwest. [One case in Waco, Texas has recently been confirmed to have been MG.] In each case where I have corresponded with the persons posting these reports on various internet list services, I have referred them to the Cornell Lab's Finch Study web page, asking them to compare the birds they were seeing with the photo of a finch with MG shown there. In almost every case the response I got was that the finch in the Cornell photo looked like the finches they were or had been seeing previously. (In fact, the idea to create this web page in some respects began with the need I saw to offer more photographs for such people to use in trying to determine if they were indeed seeing MG or not).

However, a possible alternative explanation to these western sightings may be found in the form of a US Fish & Wildlife Service notice, issued back in Dec., 1991. USF&WS Information Bulletin, No 91-114, specifically warned about an outbreak of avian pox in house finches, entitled "Avian Pox is Widespread in Populations of House Finches Observed at Bird Feeders." A person reading this bulletin and seeing a finch with MG would probably presume the finch had avian pox. It notes "Pox lesions appear as growths on skin and mucous membranes. These lesions can be found on the feet, legs, skin, around the edges of the eyes . " (italics added). It also notes that the outbreak of pox prior to then had been primarily confined to western states, where it began. Is this what these more recent western observers are seeing in house finches still? Or has MG somehow gotten as far as the west coast undetected? Or, beyond that, might the finches these people are seeing have something entirely different? Until such birds are actually tested, we will not know.

Avian and Feeder Diseases on the Web

There are a number of other sites on the WWW that readers may wish to visit to learn more about avian and feeder diseases.

These include:

© 1997 James Cook
All Rights Reserved


75 replies on “Eye disease in American Goldfinches”

when we found a goldfinch with eye disease we were able to take it to a wildlife rehabilatator who was able to treat and release it when it was well. It is worth looking into if you have the time and ability

I too, have considered bringing this one goldfinch to the wildlife clinic… I have noticed him staying at the feeder for quite some time, took photos and it appears that there could be a beginning of this horrible eye disease,
So, you had good results with the treatment, do you recall what the clinic used.
Feb. 2017 RI

This past summer we had three or four House Finch with eye disease and 4 Gold Finch as well. They came to the feeders regularly. One of the Gold Finch was infected in both eyes and I have no idea how the thing could find the feeder or bird bath water but it did. I could walk right up to it and touch it’s back and it would just keep right on picking thistle seeds.

So far since the count has started I haven’t seen one bird with infected eyes.

Thanks for this information. I WILL look for the eye disease in the American Goldfinches which come to my hanging bird feeders. I must tell you, though, that my feeders are about 100-125 feet away from my viewing place in my sun porch. I use binos to watch my feeders. They are all hung high enough so that “Mr./Mrs. Bear” cannot reach them, even when standing on his/her hind feet. (We live on the side of a small mountain in southwestern Virginia, and have learned from experience with black bear visits, that we cannot put up low, close-to-the-house bird feeders.)

All this is to tell you, that I will do my best to look for the eye disease, but may miss some, due to the distance, feeder height, and that my binos are only an 8X32 model.

Thanks for including photos. I’ve been involved with FeederWatch for many years and had never actually seen photos on an infected finch. Now I understanding what I’m actually looking for. At my new location I regularly see many house finches and fewer goldfinches.

I have only just now joined Feeder Watch–but I’ve been watching my feeders/birds for years. I had read about this disorder. Poor little guys.

None of the birds of any species at my feeders nor out and about have ever shown signs of the disease (this is Youngstown NY).

Neither have I seen any evidence of this in any species where I spend summers & watch birds (near Midland, Ontario, CA).

I had two goldfinches this past summer with this, at the time I did not know what it was. You could walk right up to the birds and they would not fly away. Is this a treatable condition if you capture the birds?

So far this winter no eye infections but will be on the look out.

Since the beginning of this winter’s bird count, I have had a single infected Goldfinch who remains at the feeder all day. S/he is able to pick sunflower kernels out of the feeder and seems normal in every way except the painful-looking eyes.

I spotted a house finch with eye disease this summer- I took down my feeders immediately, afraid I might be enabling the spread of this illness. Should I have?

Removing your feeders for a few days can be helpful to prevent the spread of disease and allowing the diseased birds to disperse. Before re-hanging your feeders, be sure to clean them with a bleach solution and rake the ground to remove shells and droppings. Read more @ http://feederwatch.org/learn/house-finch-eye-disease/#frequently-asked-questions.

Thank you for the information one the eye disease. I have feeders here for the finches and as far as eye disease, we have not seen this in the American Goldfinches but the house finches seem to have this problem yearly. The past two months, I have not seen any of the finches but they will be back soon and hopefully disease free.

Thanks for allowing us to report this data. I had several diseased goldfinches at my feeders 2 years ago when I had a flock of over 40 goldfinches visiting daily. I tried cleaning and disinfecting my feeders nearly every day when they were emptied, but the disease continued to spread. Last Feeder Watch season, I did not set out sunflower or niger seed in order to disperse the flock in hopes of curtailing the spread of the disease. This fall, I again began offering sunflower and niger. My flock of goldfinches is much smaller now, and I have seen no disease in them, yet. If I begin to see eye disease, I will switch back to safflower, which most of the finches don’t care for. Few of my neighbors feed wild birds, so I hope my strategy will help keep my finches healthy.

I am glad that the continuation of eye disease in finches was reported here. We have a large number of goldfinches and I had no idea that this disease was a problem for them also. It is an important reminder for me to clean the feeders more often.

Several years ago mycoplasmic conjunctivitis was very prevalent in my house finch visitors – perhaps 30-40% affected. The last several years there are fewer house finches. Goldfinches seem increasingly involved. What’s the prognosis? If untreated, is it fatal or might the bird recover?

We joined the Bird Studies of Canada Feeder Watch initiative this year and have reported seeing the Finch eye disease this past weekend. We’ve only seen it in our HOUSE Finches and not yet on any American Goldfinches.

QUESTION: How can we help these birds?

The best thing to do is keep your feeders and feeder area clean by washing feeders with a bleach solution and raking shells and droppings on the ground. Read more @ http://feederwatch.org/learn/house-finch-eye-disease/#frequently-asked-questions.

I see a lot of the posters ask if this disease is fatal and no one answers the question. Obviously, if a bird can’t see it surely is at greater risk, but is the disease fatal or not? Thanks

Hi Jude, birds can recover from the disease. However, they are often at risk for starvation, exposure, and depredation.

I am curious as to the geographic distribution of the disease. I used to see eye disease in house finches but have seen none in the past several years. I have never seen the disease in gold finches. I live in Denver.

Good question. I will watch for an answer with you. I live in the Willamette valley and saw terrible Salmonella infections last winter in the pine siskins. Two or three Lesser Goldfinches have been seen at our feeders having trouble landing on the outer wire to perch and feed. They flutter struggling in midair unsure where alight. Is this a symptom? I thought they were fledges from a second clutch and just learning to fly initially. But they didn’t look healthy.

I was unaware of the eye infection of the goldfinch until I read the article today.

I will try and look for this infection. It’s hard to look at the infected eye of those
I wouldn’t be able to catch one to have it treated, but I can report it if I should
see it.

This looks very much like the disease a birder friend has seen on a female Great Horned Owl. Other owls including two Screech Owls are not affected.
We live on the Gulf of Mexico at Tarpon Springs, Florida. The Anclote River is close to the north. I hope this information helps your research.


About the disease

In the winter of 1994, Project FeederWatch participants in the Washington, D.C., area began reporting that House Finches at their feeders had swollen, red, crusty eyes. Lab tests revealed that the birds had Mycoplasma gallisepticum, a parasitic bacterium previously known to infect poultry. Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, as the disease is sometimes called, spread rapidly across the Eastern Seaboard, leaving House Finches listless, mostly blind, and vulnerable to predators and bad weather.

Until the 1940s, House Finches were found only in western North America. They were released to the wild in the East after pet stores stopped illegal sales of “Hollywood Finches,” as they were commonly known to the pet bird trade. The released birds successfully bred and spread rapidly throughout eastern North America.

Initially, House Finch eye disease primarily affected the eastern House Finch population, which is largely separated from the western House Finch population by the Rocky Mountains. In 2006, however, the disease was found west of the Rocky Mountains and has since spread to House Finch populations throughout the west.


Conjunctivitis in Dogs

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye or red eye, is as common in dogs as it is in humans. It’s an itchy inflammation of the tissue that coats the eye and the lining of the eyelids, called the conjunctiva.

Conjunctivitis can happen at any age, by itself or because of another eye problem.

While just one eye is typically affected, conjunctivitis can spread to both.


Watch the video: Nature Walk u0026 Talk with Sam Romeo: Cleaning Your Feeders, November 5, 2020