Backyard Birds

Finch Eye Disease

We have been getting reports in the area of House Finches with “finch eye disease” or conjunctivitis. Infected birds have red, swollen, runny, or crusty eyes; in extreme cases the eyes become swollen shut or crusted over, and the birds become essentially blind.  Birds in this condition obviously have trouble feeding.  You might see them staying on the ground, under the feeder, trying to find seeds.  If the infected bird dies, it is usually not from the conjunctivitis itself, but rather from starvation, exposure, or predation as a result of not being able to see.  If you notice these finches, take down your feeder and clean with a 1 to 9% bleach solution and be sure to remove any build-ups of dirt around the food openings.  We also have a product from Carefree Enzymes that works well. Let the feeders dry completely and then re-hang them. Also, rake underneath the feeder to remove old seed and bird droppings.