Cases of mycoplasmosis in wild passerine birds at feeders:
The infection is confirmed
Many people remember the outbreak that happened several years ago. It almost eradicated the local House Finch population. With eyes closed by swelling of the eyelids, ocular discharges and loss of feathers around the eyes, birds cannot search for food.
House Finch infected by mycoplasmosis.
During the month of February bird watchers reported birds with eye lesions in southern Quebec. The clinical presentation observed in the pictures provided by observers is highly suggestive of mycoplasmosis.
A severely affected house finch was found in Laval on February 15th. The postmortem examination carried out on this bird confirmed the suspicion. Histological lesions characteristic of mycoplasmosis, including infiltration of the conjunctival and airways mucosa by a large number of lymphoid inflammatory cells, were observed, and Mycoplasma gallisepticum was detected from a conjunctival swab by molecular method (PCR).
This diagnosis confirmed the presence of an epidemic of mycoplasmosis in the birds frequenting feeders in southern Quebec. As of February 21, a dozen episodes have been reported in the regions of Montreal (including Laval, Deux-Montagnes and Longueuil), Drummondville, Quebec (including Lévis) and Sherbrooke. For now, this disease has been observed in three species of passerine birds: the American Goldfinch (7 episodes), the House Finch (5 episodes), the Cardinal (2 episodes) and the Snow Bunting (1 episode).
- During a known outbreak of mycoplasmosis, temporarily remove bird feeders and bird baths (for one to two weeks) to reduce bird aggregation.
- Clean your feeders and bird baths regularly with a solution of 10% bleach (one volume of bleach for 9 volumes of water). Allow feeders and baths to dry before putting them back in place.
Report any sick or dead birds to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative. Find your closest regional centre at: http://www.cwhc-rcsf.ca