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Photo Submission

Submitted By

Lisa Bowling

Columbia, MD, USA


I saw 3 or 4 of these on my Bird Buddy camera on 11/13. I took my feeders down until 11/25, putting them out after I cleaned them. Today, 11/29 I saw another one so I took down my feeders again. Maybe they have always gotten this eye disease, but I only saw it because of my camera feeder. Is there anything else I should be doing to help prevent the spread of this?


Eye problems

Cardinals With Eye Disease

These cardinals what I think is finch eye disease, or conjunctivitis.

5 replies on “Cardinals with eye disease”

Ava says:

I posted a previous comment but for me it has disappeared.
I think that you’re doing everything that you possibly can. You could try keeping the feeder down for a longer period of time, but otherwise I don’t think there’s anything else you can do.

Lisa Bowling says:

Thank you Ava! I just feel so badly for them. I will leave them down longer this time. I’ve seen more posts about finches having this problem but I have only seen cardinals here.

Rebecca says:

I also am seeing cardinal issues. All of the noted issues immediately followed our 12/23 severe cold spell in GA (8 degrees plus chill factor). On 12/28 while filling feeders, I noticed a cardinal near one that seemed off. She didn’t fly away when I approached the feeder and appeared lethargic. On 12/29 leaving my house to fill the feeders, I noticed a male cardinal struggling to fly. He would flutter from branch to branch and then when he took off to fly away it’s like he lost energy and just glided down to the ground and sat there. At the same time, I noticed another female cardinal struggling to fly, but this one appeared to have an injured wing. I have seen it since and it appears the same. On 1/1 I noticed a male cardinal near my window. With binoculars, I noticing that his eye was crusty with whitish stuff (like Lisa’s photo above). I could not see his eyeball. All other birds seem okay, jays, towhee, Carolina wren, woodpeckers, chickadees, titmouse, sparrow, finch, nuthatch, and a few other cardinals that I saw.

I immediately took down all feeders and I’m in the process of washing with dish detergent and sterilizing. Unfortunately I can’t be around bleach, so I am trying a vinegar wash. I’m not sure how much vinegar to use to a gallon on water or how long to soak it. I also would like to put a few feeders back up, but I don’t know how soon to do that so it’s safe for all birds. I normally clean my feeders every two – three weeks (power wash, scrub and clean with an e-cloth), but not sterilized.

Heidi Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hello Rebecca, thank you for reaching out. We recommend soaking bird feeders for one hour in a weak vinegar solution. You can find more info on the Feeder Care section of our Safe Feeding Environment page.

Texas Bird Family says:

I use a hose to rinse off my feeders an then dry them with a paper towel.

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