This little guy was waiting for his turn to have a bite of lunch at the birdfeeder. In the photo I managed to get, I saw that his eye looks good.
I hadn’t known about the eye disease that went through the finch population in the last thirty years or so, but after reading about it, I made sure to take care of my feeders, keeping them clean and raking up the ground under the feeders where mould might collect around dropped seeds and bird poop.
The bacteria that affect the finches appear to have originated in chicken feed. Possibly some finches helped themselves to it and then got sick, spreading the disease to each other.
Scientists found that when the population of finches went down, the disease seemed to spread less easily, and future populations were less affected. Social distancing? However, the problem has not been solved completely, and it was noted that even as surviving birds recovered, the bacteria mutated and got more virulent. The bacteria causing eye disease are still out there, stronger than before, so we have to be aware and clean those feeders.
By the way, does this house finch look like he has only one leg? He must have two, but where is the second one? Maybe he’s got it pulled in close to his body to warm his toes. It’s been cold out there.