House Finch Eye Disease
Help us monitor House Finch eye disease through Project FeederWatch
House Finch eye disease was first noticed in 1994 by FeederWatchers in the Washington, D.C., area. Birds infected with this disease (also called Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis) appear to have red, swollen, runny, or crusty eyes. In extreme cases the eyes become swollen shut and the bird becomes blind. You might observe an infected bird sitting quietly in your yard, clumsily scratching an eye against its foot or a perch. While some infected birds recover, many die from starvation, exposure, or predation.
Conjunctivitis can have many causes, but the type most often seen in House Finches is caused by the bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum. This bacterium has long been known as a pathogen of domestic turkeys and chickens, but has been observed in House Finches only since 1994. The disease has affected several other species, including American Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, and Purple Finch.