I love my finches, they are active little things with cute calls and understandable social structures. They can be very messy but they make up for it by being good breeders. In fact, zebra finches are always held up as starter finches.
In the wild, the birds are doing better these days since Australia stopped allowing exports. Yet the true gem of finches from Down Under, the Lady Gouldian Finch, is still endangered. You probably have heard about the crazy wildfires that burn the southern-most continent. Fire destroys the seeds that are the main food supply for Goulds and clears out the trees they need to nest in.
The good news is, Australia has introduced an award-winning fire control plan. With prescribed burning, they reduce the threat of out-of-control fires and help not only the finches but many types of wildlife. They also remove animals who have escaped from their domestic status and proceed to eat the grasses.
My experience with the beautiful Gouldian finch is pretty typical. My pairs lived happily enough together but had no interest in breeding. They didn’t even lay eggs that I could have fostered with other finches. This was before I discovered Aviagra (yes, it’s a real product).http://www.allbirdproducts.com/newproductpages/Aviagra.html
As often happens with these finches, my hen died almost mid-flight. Apparently, her heart just gave out and she was gone. This may be attributed to the fact that we have had a closed population of Gouldians in the states and have been breeding for unusual colors instead of for healthy birds.
Imagine seeing millions of these jewels with wings flying across a morning sky in the Kimberley (a northern area of Australia named for John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley. It was one of the first parts to be settled). You have to use your imagination because these days the population is down to 2500 mature birds.
Now that you have the sad numbers in front of you, I am hopeful that you might be able to donate to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy to help them in their prescribed burn plans and feral herbivore removals. A gift of $100 can fund fire management of 1000 ha of wild lands. Do you have a bunch of friends who love these finches? Donate as a group. Ten people putting in $10 each will save a slice of habitat for this beautiful and tiny finch. http://www.australianwildlife.org/wildlife/gouldian-finch.aspx
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.