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Portland, ME, United States
This Tufted Titmouse appears to have an infection in both eyes. The eyelids appear swollen, and the feathers around its eyes are all wet and disheveled. I first noticed the infection in the left eye, and then the right. The titmouse started coming to our window feeder a lot and started sitting in the feeder for great lengths of time eating mealworms. It would then sit on the edge of the window feeder for while looking out before coming back into the feeder to eat. From what I can tell it started to have vision difficulties, flying erratically as it tried to find a branch to perch. It would also hover in front of the window feeder before lighting. I think this is why it started staying so long in the window feeder to eat. It also seemed to be affected by bright sunlight – I noticed it shutting its eyes a lot more when it’s not in shade. It also appeared to clean its beak a lot on branches and the edge of the window feeder.
I removed all the feeders and disinfected them with a 10% bleach solution. I waited about a week before putting the feeders back up. I haven’t noticed eye infections in any of the American Goldfinches at the feeders, nor the couple House Finches that have come occasionally lately.