Skip to main content

Photo Submission

Submitted By

Kathryn Zancanella

Oroville, CA, United States


This spotted towhee’s right eye shows signs of infection similar to what I have been watching for in the finches. So far, all of the finches have appeared to have healthy eyes, but I had seen a similar condition in a California towhee two seasons ago.


Eye problems


Spotted Towhee With Eye Infection Or Injury

Right eye infection/injury

6 replies on “Spotted Towhee with eye infection or injury”

Lorcan Keating says:

I have a California Towhee with eye infection and poor feather condition. Today another showed up with a similar poor feather condition. I thought ti might be molting but after seeing both with very similar feather loss around the head and shoulder region I am wondering if it is some ailment. Location is San Francisco, CA. Sep 15, 2020

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Lorcan, Molting is the most probable cause of messy-looking feathers. Most birds are molting at this time of year. That being said, if one has an eye infection, that could be related to something else. In any case, anytime you see (or suspect you’re seeing) a sick bird, it’s best to take your feeders down and clean them. Cleaning them regularly (every 1-2 weeks) is the best way to prevent disease, even when you see no sick birds. You can learn more about bird diseases and how best to clean your feeders here.

Dee Warnock says:

On September 10, 2020 I took pictures of a Spotted Towhee with an issue around its right eye, and just a slight unusual look to the left eye. I have seen it several times in the last 2 weeks, and also had the concern whether it was an infection/ health issue or just temporary molting related. Never saw anything similar in 10 years at this location. Had several batches of towhee families throughout the summer and currently the other 4 or 5 Towhees of assorted sexes and ages regularly in the yard seem fine. Two photos posted at Flickr album link.

Anita-P says:

On Aug 5, 2023 there was a Spotted Towhee with one eye severely crusted over and the left eye not much better. It was clear that it could not see hardly at all. It allowed me to get within a foot of it, several times. Took several photos which I can send somewhere, but I have no website to share them. I removed the bird feeder and will disinfect. Thinking it best to wait a few days before I put the feeder up again.
FYI, my area is near Prescott Valley, Arizona.

Mrs. C-A says:

Same here. Towees have ‘growths’ around their eyes. I found several dead birds in our yard last year. I would like to know how to heal them. It breaks my heart to see them like this. I ‘do’ clean the feeder. I bought a new feeder last year. Do wish someone could give me the answer so I can save these beautiful birds.

Susan Arthur says:

I’m in Skagit County Washington State. I watched a female towhee with what I thought was an injured eye hang out near the feeders pretty much all day. Within 2 weeks she began fluffing up her feathers. The eye looked infected at this point. Eventually, she was unable to close her beak fully and started “choking” down larger pieces of food and finally panting before I found her dead in the yard. I noticed the infection had spread from her eye to her beak in such a way as to prevent it from closing. Since then, 2 more Towhees show a compromised eye, so I’m afraid it’s not a one up. It’s kind of like the House Finch disease, but none of the finches or any other birds seems affected. Sadly, I’m taking feeders down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Nearby Submissions
Recently Liked