at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are investigating disease
dynamics in House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) and we
need your help by monitoring your bird feeders for color-banded
finches. Since 2000, an intensive banding effort has been underway
in Ithaca, New York and over 2000 House Finches have been color-banded.
Reporting your sightings of these birds will allow estimation
of survival and rates of House Finch movement from the Ithaca
study area; factors key to understanding the geographic spread
of mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, also known as House Finch eye
four bands placed on the legs of our captured House Finches.
Band combinations are ‘read’ in a specific sequence
from the bird’s point of view. The first band position
is the top band on the bird’s left leg; the second band
position is the bottom band on the left leg. The third band position
is the top band on the bird’s right leg, followed by the
bottom band on the right leg. There are 11 color bands (which
include an aluminum – silver band) including pink, purple,
dark blue, light blue, orange, red, yellow, white, silver, and
two bi-colored bands, yellow/red, and dark blue/red. In some
cases birds may appear to have more than 3 color bands; these
birds have the bi-colored bands attached.
the color-band combination, please record the date, time of day,
finch gender, and whether you see signs of conjunctivitis in
its eye(s). For more details (including photographs) about identifying
diseased finches and ‘reading’ color-bands, please
web page. If you observe the same color-banded bird on another
day, please report these repeat observations.
report your observations to Chris Jennelle by email,
phone, or postal mail:
Department of Natural Resources
Ithaca, NY 14853
Thank you for your help.
Every observation we receive gives us a better understanding
of House Finch movement and the potential impacts of conjunctivitis
on finch populations.