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.