Just Another Gus
It turns out that Gus, our blind bird, is not alone. There is a disease that is spreading rapidly in the area. An tiny organism gets into bird eyes and causes them to go blind. There’s nothing that can be done except keep the bird feeder and bird bath clean, according to our local experts at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center. Brenda washed everything with chlorine bleach yesterday.
We’ve also christened the bird bath, “Bethesda” or “Beth-zatha” (John 5:2) — choose your Greek transliteration — but the pool angels haven’t been around to stir the waters. Besides, the blind birds are scrambling to get up on the bird feeder rather than into “Bethesda the Bird Bath,” so it seems an empty gesture.
We have a blind bird feeding at the bird feeder. He’s young and doesn’t have adult plumage so we can’t tell what it is but I’m guessing its a finch. Brenda decided he looks like a Gus.
We first noticed him a few days ago during a hard rain storm followed by heavy rain for several hours. Gus was hunkered down on the bird feeder the whole time — very odd behavior. The next day we say him again and it appeared he had no eyes. But that didn’t make any sense. How can a blind bird find the bird feeder?
Our bird feeder is in front of our picture window (a 4 pane affair). He flies down from the roof and flutters in front of the wall until he finds the first pane, which is more narrow. Once he gets oriented on the first pane, he flutters to the east until he runs into the bird feeder. It takes him several seconds to get oriented on the bird feeder, but eventually he gets oriented and hops up onto the feeder post and pigs out.
Most birds only stay a few moments, maybe up to a minute, at the feeder. Gus will usually sit there for several minutes before flying up on to the roof and wherever he goes from there.
We wonder how long a blind bird can survive. Some finches winter here but there are no evergreens next to the house so he won’t have good cover — even if he does survive to the cold weather.