December 8, 2016
FeederWatch collected data on eye disease in American Goldfinches for many years and then stopped because the prevalence of disease in goldfinches was minimal. Last season a number of FeederWatchers wrote to tell us they were seeing an increase in eye disease in American Goldfinches. Given the recent reports, we have reopened the disease reporting option for American Goldfinches. Now when you enter a count for this species, you will be asked if you looked for eye disease. If you answer yes, then you will be asked how many individuals you observed with disease.
Check for disease and tell us even if you see no disease
You don’t see any disease at your feeders? Do you think that makes your observations insignificant? It does not! There is no way to know the correct proportion of infected individuals without all those zeros. Even if only 1 person out of 100 notices signs of the disease, we need to know about those 99 zeros to be able to say that there is an infection rate of 1%.
Please report if you look for the disease during your regular count even if you don’t see American Goldfinches with apparent infection. Then check the “yes” box when asked if you looked for the infection, and type in a “0” when asked how many finches were infected.
Here are some examples of what to look for in American Goldfinches.