Over the last couple of days, I had noticed some odd flying behavior among several House Finches. They seemed to be very disoriented and when I approached, they didn't fly until I was right up on them.
After observing them I noticed that those exhibiting the behavior had issues with one or both eyes. My friend who lives approximately 15 miles away has also seen the same thing in some finches at her feeders and did a little research.
House Finches were originally only found in western North America and were only released in the east after pet stores stopped the illegal sales of "Hollywood Finches".
1994 seems to be the year when the disease was first noted in finches on the east coast. Populations declined over the next 2-3 years. So I hope this is not a forbearer of another round.
This afternoon I took down the feeders and washed with a 10% bleach solution that was recommended on several websites. I am hesitant to put back up because the minute one goes back and reaches its head in for a seed, the cleaning has just been voided. So I will have to do some thinking on what is the best way to still provide seeds to all the birds and lessens chances of spreading the disease.
If anyone has encountered this and has recommendations on a feeder that will lessen chances of aiding in the spread, please leave a comment.