Like Carl Runge, we saw a one-eyed house finch about a month ago.
We were aware that there was an epidemic of conjunctivitis among house
finches, and asked VTBIRD if anyone knew of any organization that was
collecting reports of diseased finches. Someone kindly pointed us toward
the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Web Site.
At the web site, we found that we would have to register as
participants in their house finch disease survey to make our report. We
dutifully provided them with our names, address, phone number, E-Mail
address, password, fingerprints, retinal image, DNA samples, etc. and waited
to hear back from them so that we could enter our sighting. It's been
nearly a month, and we've heard nothing.
Nearly fifteen years ago, we started doing Feeder Watch with the
folks from Cornell. We quit about five years ago because we found that
while they were quite prompt in requesting participant fees ( I think it was
costing us about $15.00 per year when we stopped - who knows what it is up
to now), they were very sloppy when it came to doing their reports. Some
annual reports didn't come out until September of the following year; quite
often the data content was decidedly thin. As the Lab gradually swung over
to an Internet-based system, things didn't seem to be getting any better, so
we stopped dealing with them. We
have come to suspect that their "citizen science" initiatives are more about
fund raising than they are about doing any serious science.
It seems to be much the same for their house finch disease survey.
We suspect that their reporting system is geared to collecting data from
paying members of their Feeder Watch program, and can't really handle
reports from random citizens.
A guiding principal in our life is to never impute malice when
stupidity is sufficient, but sometime you've got to wonder.
Larry and Mona