House Finches and eye disease

Photo by Chris Bosak A House Finch with an eye disease visits a feeder station in Stamford, Conn., March 2015

Photo by Chris Bosak
A House Finch with an eye disease visits a feeder station in Stamford, Conn., March 2015

It had been a while since I saw a House Finch with Mycoplasma gallisepticum, an eye disease that inflicts many House Finches in the eastern U.S.

The other day, however, I was watching a feeder station in Stamford, Conn., when a lone male House Finches showed up. With my new-found appreciation for House Finches (click here for more on that) I was happy to see the bird. Then the bird adjusted itself on a branch near the feeder and I noticed it had the disease. Poor thing.

Based on Project FeederWatch observations that alerted ornithologists to the problem, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology started the House Finch Disease Survey in 1994. Much was discovered about the disease, but obviously it has not gone away. The project has since been defunded, but Project FeederWatch participants can still report House Finches with this disease. It’s may seem like a small way to help, but it’s something. Every little bit helps when it comes to bird study.

For a lot more information on House Finches and the eye disease, click here.

Photo by Chris Bosak A House Finch with an eye disease visits a feeder station in Stamford, Conn., March 2015

Photo by Chris Bosak
A House Finch with an eye disease visits a feeder station in Stamford, Conn., March 2015

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2 thoughts on “House Finches and eye disease

  1. The NH fish and game recommends no action be taken, the infected birds should be left to eventually die. I was told the House Finch is actually invasive, not a native bird to the eastern US. They were kept as pets at one time and their release into the wild upset the balance especially of Purple Finch’s, which numbers have seriously declined over the years. It is sad to see though….

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    • Yes, House Finches were introduced to the East Coast in 1940s. They were sold in the East as “Hollywood Finches.” Similar to Monk Parakeets along parts of coastal Long Island Sound and other parts of the country, they established wild populations. Thanks for the comment.

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