|GOULDIAN FINCH - Erythrura gouldiae - Photo: Trisha Shears Wikimedia|
Sunday, June 14, 2020
Monday, April 27, 2020
|White-breasted Yellow-headed and Black-headed male Gouldian Finches (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Gouldian finches are more difficult to breed and care for than other types of finches and below I have outlined some useful tips you should consider:
1. Gouldian finches need a lot of space to exercise and fly about. You should consider whether to buy a cage or an aviary, this depends on the number of Gouldian finches that you have. After you decide on a cage or aviary, you should then choose a permanent location to keep these birds as they do not like changes in their location.
2. Gouldian finches like humid and warm conditions. These environmental settings should not be taken lightly so do make sure you provide the right conditions before choosing where to place them permanently.
3. Gouldian finches love seeds, which are their primary food source; therefore a nice mix of quality seeds should be given to them every day. You also need to provide additional nutrients and vitamins. Grit, as well as crushed eggshells, should be added to their daily diet. Lettuce, watercress and spinach (greens) also are necessary for a balanced diet. In addition, your finches require calcium so providing Cuttlebone is a must; especially when breeding.
4. A clean cage or aviary is essential as it keeps the birds in healthy living conditions. The cages must be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis; usually monthly but more often if necessary. All containers in the cage or aviary should be cleaned daily and the gravel in the bottom of the cage should be replaced with clean gravel at least once a month (or more often if needed).
5. Fresh water should be available daily as stale water can attract bacteria and spread disease. Ideally, you would clean the water container at the same time. Plastic containers are not ideal and should be avoided.
6. Gouldian finches are extremely sensitive about being touched and petted. Try not to handle them unless it's absolutely necessary as this stresses them out.
7. Gouldian's lay on average 4 to 6 eggs and these will hatch between 15 to 18 days after the egg has been laid. It is of the utmost importance that the breeding parents are not unnecessarily disturbed and extra food and clean water be provided each day. Try to use the hand feeding formula as well. The formula is a special diet that should be given to the parent birds. This should be done before the eggs hatch so that they get accustomed to the new diet. Once the chicks are hatched the parents will regurgitate this mix and feed the babies.
8. Never breed Gouldian finches that have a different head color. The reason being is that such mating results in an imbalance in the sex ratio of the young. It's an interesting scientific concern that points to the mortality rates of the young which have been recorded as high as 80%. So this is why breeding Gouldian's of the same head color is recommended.
These important tips will require your additional research for a thorough understanding of the Gouldian finch's needs. Keeping finches is a satisfying and proud journey that I know you will enjoy in order to successfully care for these beautiful birds.
Friday, February 21, 2020
|Domesticated Zebra Finch Taeniopygia guttata (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
People have called zebras 'flying mice' due to the ease of which they reproduce. This is great if you are looking to start breeding or add a new species to your aviary as it is very little in the way of specific requirements for them.
Zebra finches are happy to live in colonies with their own kind of birds, as well as a huge range of other species. They will live peacefully with nearly all other species of finch, canaries, British birds, doves and even smaller parakeets.
When breeding, both birds can be a little defensive of their nest and will chase other zebras away from it. This is a natural behaviour and will extend when a chick fledges, or leaves the nest, but is never particularly aggressive or result in harm to the other bird. It is more of a noisy, fast-flying warning to keep away from their house.
Feeding zebras is pretty uncomplicated, as well. Use a good foreign finch mix as the basis of your feeding regime and supplement with egg food and some specialist seeds such as niger or hemp seed. Fresh fruit and vegetables are very important for their health, and they will readily consume foods such as spinach, kale and cabbage and fruits such as apple, pear, grapes, mango and plums. With fruit such as apple and plum, remove any seeds or stones as these contain tiny amounts of toxic substances, so better not to take a chance. Access to grit or cuttlefish is also important, especially around breeding time to replace calcium used in making eggs in the hen.
Zebra finches don't have a particular breeding season in the way many birds do. They are triggered into breeding condition by light and heat levels or sometimes, for no perceivable reason! They like a variety of nesting materials and are surprisingly good little builders. Coconut fibre, jute, sisal, feathers and even dried grass will all be incorporated into the nest which will usually be a domed affair. They will also happily use a half-open finch nest box or one with a single hole in.
Once the nest is finished, take away surplus nesting material; otherwise, they will keep building and even cover their eggs. Anywhere from 2-7 eggs are laid and are incubated by both birds for around two weeks. When the chicks hatch, they are tiny and nearly hairless, blind and helpless. They are fed by the parents in the nest for around three weeks at which time they fledge fully feathered and resembling an adult save for their black beak. A way of knowing that the bird has matured is that the beak will change from black to bright red for a cock bird or a duller red for a hen.
After fledging, the chicks are fed by the parents for at least two weeks, at which time they may be able to fly or may not be proficient. If they aren't the best at flying, they will seek out corners to hide in so always keep an eye open for fledgelings in odd spots and make sure they don't get themselves stuck.
Zebras can breed at crazy ages of around three months, but it is advisable to wait until at least six months of age before allowing this. One way to ensure this is to keep males and females in separate cages until fully matured.
The lifespan of these little birds is surprisingly long. In the wild, they live around five years but in captivity, 5-7 is average, 12 is possible and the oldest zebra was recorded at 14.5 years of age. They are relatively hardy concerning weather conditions, though any bird should be sheltered from the worst of the climate.
They will happily live in a good-sized cage as a pair or colony, or with other birds. They will also thrive in a flight or large aviary cage and in a flight, can become quite friendly towards humans when they can approach on their own terms. Standing very still with food in hand before the first feed is a good way to win them over, and some may happily hop onto your hand to get in at the food first.
No matter what your experience with birds, zebra finches are a great bird to have. They need little specialist care and can breed easily given a few simple supplies. They come in a range of colours as well and different mutations, so you can quickly get involved in the fun side of genetics and learning which pairing might produce which colours. But all in all, they are fantastic little characters who will quickly win your heart.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
|A mangrove finch, the rarest of Darwin's finches.|
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For many years it was thought that man was the only creature that used tools, through research, it was observed that other animals also use tools. Sticks and stones have been observed being used for various purposes. Other than humans, primates are known to make the widest use of tools and the Woodpecker Finch that collects up to 50% of their diet by using a tool to collect their food. These finches are second only to man, in their reliance of tools in order to obtain food. The Woodpecker Finch uses sticks, twigs and cactus spines to make up for its short tongue and gather insects from plants and trees.
The Woodpecker Finch is just one of 14 species known as Darwin Finch named after Charles Darwin. Darwin collected these finches during his visit to the Galapagos. Brownish Grey in color these noisy birds were unimpressive at first - Darwin thought them to be blackbirds or grosbeaks. Upon returning to England, Darwin presented the birds along with other animals he collected during his voyage to the Geological Society of London it was there that an ornithologist, discovered that Darwin had discovered an entirely new group of birds and 12 different species. It was this discovery, which directly led to his theory of evolution and the transmutation of species.
"Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends"
Since the days of Darwin, this group of birds continues to intrigue scientists. The term "Darwin Finch" was coined in the 1900's and made popular by David Lack who spent 3 months in the Galapagos studying the birds and wrote a book about his studies. Yet the real experts on the Darwin Finch are Peter and Rosemary Grant who spent 30 years studying the birds and wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Beak of the Finch. Winners of the prestigious Balzan prize for popular biology their citation reads...
"Peter and Rosemary Grant are distinguished for their remarkable long-term studies demonstrating evolution in action in Galapagos finches. They have demonstrated how very rapid changes in body and beak size in response to changes in the food supply are driven by natural selection. They have also elucidated the mechanisms by which new species arise and how genetic diversity is maintained in natural populations. The work of the Grants has had a seminal influence in the fields of population biology, evolution and ecology."
Through these studies, we have come to learn there are 14 species of Darwin Finch 13 in the Galapagos Islands plus one living at Cocos Island. These birds are members of the tanager family rather than a true finch. Each species is approximately the same size 10 - 20 cm making them difficult to tell apart. The primary difference between the finches is their beak size and shape which mutated to adapt to their diet ranging from seeds, insects, flowers, leaves and the blood of sea birds. For example, finches which eat insects will have a thin extended beak to poke into holes in the ground and extract the grubs. Finches that eat flowers and seeds have a claw like beaks can grind down their food and thus give them a selective advantage in circumstances in parts of the islands where seeds are the only real food available.
Typically the Darwin Finch are divided into (4) groups representing each genus: ground finches (Geospiza) are made up of 4 species seeding eating ground finches each with a crushing bill plus one cactus dwelling finch with a probing bill. There is the insect eating warbler finch (Certhidea) with its probing bill and the Cocos Finch (Pinaroloxias). As well as the more diversified group of tree finches (amarhynchus) consisting of the fruit eating vegetarian tree finch with its parrot like a bill, the small and large tree finch both dine on insects and have a grasping bill. The Woodpecker finch we discussed earlier with its probing bill. Found only on the Island of Cocos along the coast of Costa Rica, the Cocos finch which eats both fruits and insects and is the most plentiful bird on the island this is in direct contrast to the Mangrove Finch which can be found in two mangrove areas on the western coast of Isabela and is critically endangered.
Though these remarkable birds have adapted to life in the Galapagos Islands for thousands of years, it is the introduction of new species by a man that has devastated the Mangrove Finch. The mangrove finch closely resembles the Woodpecker Finch only these birds do not use tools. Historically the Mangrove Finch could be found in the mangrove areas on the east of Ferndandina and on the west, south and north of Isabela. However, recent surveys have determined the bird is now extinct on Fernandina and there is thought to be approximately 70 remaining on Isabela.
The plight of the Mangrove Finch is due to a blood sucking parasite known as the Philornis downsi. Accidently introduced to the Galapagos thought by imported fruits, the larvae of the fly emerge at night to feed both internally and externally on the blood and flesh of developing nestlings. The presence of this parasite is causing significant (16 - 95%) mortality rate in Darwin Finch and devastating both the Medium Tree Finch and Mangrove Finch both of which are now considered critically endangered.
The national park has made great strides in the conservation and preservation of endemic species from their tortoise rearing and breeding program for giant tortoises, the restoration of land iguanas to the eradication of goats and other introduced species on many of the islands.
However, P. downsi creates a whole new issue. When eradicating goats on Isabela, Pinta and Santiago the national park used radio collars to track the goats leading them to other goats in the heard. Yet using a radio collars to track flies is an impossibility. Whereas goats produce on average 2 - 3 kids after a 150 day gestational period. The P. downsi produces hundreds of off springs in a matter of days - the ramifications of which are staggering.
Since its introduction, the parasite has spread to 12 of the 13 islands and can be found in 64-100% of the nests. The Darwin Station is searching for a solution to this problem that affects all of the Darwin Finch as well as the other land birds in Galapagos.
In order to protect the Mangrove Finch from extinction, the national park has been working on a captive breeding program both for the finch as well as for the P. downsi. Their hopes are to breed the finch in a safe environment. While in studying the P. downsi it is in hopes to create a sterile version of the parasite which can be introduced into the population to eradicate it. Additionally, the park is working to eradicate of rats (another predator) in the habitat of the Mangrove Finch. They have established a monitoring program and through these resources and education, the park and scientists are hopeful they can save the Mangrove Finch from extinction and continue to preserve the endemic species of the Galapagos Islands.
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Finches make excellent pets and it's no wonder! They are very easy to take care of, enjoy being around people and have bright and beautiful colors to admire. They make an excellent pet for many different people such as apartment dwellers, families with children and pet owners who have other birds or pets already. A pet finch is active, personable and social which makes them very entertaining as well as being a terrific companion. Are you still not sure whether a finch is the right pet for you? Here is what you need to know before making your final decision.
Finches are very diverse, with different personalities, colors and patterns which contributes to their individualism as a pet. Some of the most popular variations of finches include the Zebra Finch, the Society Finch and the Gouldian Finch, all of which are slightly different from one another. The Zebra Finch, for example, is very social although it is recommended no matter what finch you have that you don't pair them in the same cage with another species of bird such as the parrot, lovebirds or parakeet.
Unlike the finch, many other bird species are likely to be more aggressive and can harm your pet finch. It is best to house your pet finch by itself or with another pet finch, although be aware of bullying or fighting with more than two pet finches in one cage at any given time. Finches, for the most part, are kind and social although active as they enjoy spreading their wings and flying from side to side of its cage!
Unlike a parrot that tends to squawk when it's not being given the attention it craves, the finch is content playing by itself. This makes it a wonderful pet for those pet owners living in small spaces like an apartment or those who don't have the time to play with their bird constantly. Some finches are very tame and will allow perching on your finger, while others may not. Finches require its nails to be trimmed, so if you choose to trim them yourself, make sure to use your palm against their back to scoop them up. Finches that bite are very rare, although if they do snip your finger, it shouldn't hurt or won't be dangerous.
Since finches are an active bird species, they thrive in a spacious environment where they can fly from side to side and really exercise their muscles. Although having a couple of perches available for your pet finch is important, make sure that their cage isn't too crowded so they have plenty of space to roam. The right cage is very important. By investing in a mirror, ball or branch you can give your finch all of the entertainment it needs. Finches enjoy taking baths as well, so help your finch along by bathing it a few times a week to help him stay clean and healthy. Also, by supplying your pet finch with damp grass alongside the bottom of its cage, he will enjoy the effect of rolling around in it for hours!
Some people who are interested in purchasing finches as pets, they may be concerned with how noisy of a bird they are. Pet finches are a quieter bird species and more affordable than lovebirds or a parrot. Running anywhere from $15-$30, you can easily purchase a pet finch that meets your budget and taste.
Many pet owners enjoy their pet finch for their social personality, lovely song and their active lifestyle!
I hope this helps you better care for your pet finch!
Monday, October 22, 2018
|Photo by likeaduck|
Zebra and society finch are among the popular finches. They have bright beautiful colors and some even sing beautifully. The Lady Gouldian, on the other hand, is best to have if they are on their full-color as they are hardier while youngsters are delicate and cannot acclimatize easily to changes.
Some variety of finches that are best for a more experienced bird enthusiasts are the cordons, gold-breasted, strawberry, fire, orange cheek, star, tricolor nuns, read ear, cutthroat, parson's, shaft-tail, spice, lavender, owl, silverbill, bronze wing, cherry headed, European goldfinch, weavers, blue-headed parrot finch, and red-headed parrot finch where most of these species need more than a commercial seed in their diet.
The sweet sound that a finch makes can be attributed to the male finches. The song that the male finch makes is actually a sound to attract females during the mating season. The European gold, green singer and grey singer finches are the best singing finches. Finches do not need much attention that makes them a perfect pet for people with limited space and time.
Finches are social but only to birds and not to humans that they must be bought in pairs. Keeping several varieties of finches in one cage could make them squabble especially during mating season. You must also take into consideration the size of the finches you are going to put in one cage. It is better to have a pair of finches of the same size so that one would not get intimated if the other finch is larger.
It is important for the finch to have a flying space inside their cage as flying is the form of exercise, that will keep them healthy and active.
Livefood like mealworms and some leafy greens must be added to the diet of finches aside from their regular seeds. You can also put cuttlebone or calcium block inside their cage to ensure that they are getting enough calcium.
Friday, October 5, 2018
|Zebra finch female (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
When to Start
The best time to start breeding your finches is when they are about 8 months old. There are finches that are highly dimorphic, which means one can easily distinguish their gender by simply checking out their colors. An example of this would be the Zebra finches. Society finches, on the other hand, can be a bit challenging in this department because they don't have color patterns that tell whether they are male or female. One technique in determining the gender of the finches is by placing at least four of them in a cage and watching which birds get attracted to whom. Once spotted, you can place them in a separate cage so you can start breeding finches.
Prepping the Cage
The cage should get ample sunlight at least 14 hours a day. You can use a bulb or lamp as complement lighting, if necessary. The cage should be large enough to create a comfortable space for the parents to breed. Hang a basket in the cage that would serve as a place for the eggs to hatch. Putting together the nest requires skill. The nest should have lining material which you can get from pet stores. In most cases, the male finches arrange the lining materials themselves. For the nesting, you can use shredded burlap as well as dry straws. The nest is important when breeding finches and you should prepare the right materials ahead of time.
Checking for Eggs
Use a flashlight when monitoring the nest for hatchlings. When you notice the parents flying in and out of the basket, it is more likely a sign that there are already eggs poised to hatch. The female finch lays one egg per day until she completes the brood of up to 8 eggs. Then she will begin sitting on the eggs with the male on a standby and ready to substitute when the female leaves and looks for something to eat. This is a sensitive stage in breeding finches that requires constant monitoring to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Saturday, September 29, 2018
|Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
These finches don't have any particularly unusual or awkward care requirements, and as such, they are not difficult birds to look after. A cage is, of course, necessary, but it doesn't need to be as big as it would be for many other birds. A larger cage will always be preferred though, and for any more than a single pair of finches, you'll need a much larger enclosure. Still, this is the case for any pet bird species.
One frequent concern amongst potential buyers is how noisy the finches will be - constantly squawking birds may well make you unpopular with your neighbors! However Zebra Finches are fairly quiet birds, and while they are not silent, they can easily be kept in a flat or apartment without annoying anyone living nearby.
Their diet can be catered for with a wide range of commercially available products that any pet store will supply, and the cage can even be lined with newspaper if you don't want to buy anything more expensive. Further research is obviously recommended to see exactly what your pets will need before you get them, and there are many comprehensive care sheets both online and in books.
Zebra Finches will live comfortably at room temperature and so they can be very easily integrated into the average home, although they should always be kept away from cold draughts and air conditioning units. They may need some exposure to UV light, and some people choose to buy special lights to achieve this, but it shouldn't be an issue in most houses.
Choosing to buy a couple of these birds is a reasonably long-term commitment as they should live for at least six years, but this isn't exceptionally long and is shorter than many species, making them a good choice for a first bird. If you've never owned a bird before, then Zebra Finches are certainly a better choice than something like a parrot that may outlive you!
In conclusion, Zebra Finches make excellent pets, both for first-time owners and for more experienced keepers who want something new. Being so beautiful and straightforward to care for, it's no wonder more and more people are buying these birds!
Friday, September 14, 2018
|Male chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs). |
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Whether you have built your own flight or purchased one from a manufacturer, cleaning and maintenance are vital. Unlike cages that hold only a couple of birds, a large flight can hold dozens of birds depending on the size. The more birds housed together the greater the threat of bacterial infections from a dirty flight.
The design and setup of your finch flight are extremely important. It should have conveniently placed doors at the bottom to provide easy access to the cage floor. There should also be access doors to allow easy access to the birds, walls, perches and other items. Many commercially built flights have wire grates above the floor.
If possible eliminate the wire grate as it only makes more to clean and does not benefit the birds in any way. Finches like to forage on the floor of the cage and the grates can possibly injure the feet of your Finches. Another bad thing about wire grates is if you provide nests for your Finches and they raise young. The babies could be severely injured if they should fall from the nest onto the grate.
There are several fantastic products that are both effective and affordable to make the job of maintaining your flight quick and easy. All are readily available online or at your local pet store.
- Poop-Off; A very safe product for cleaning cages, perches, and accessories.
- Aviclens; A great water cleanser. Add it to your bird's water at all times to prevent bacteria from forming. Change your bird's water every 1-2 days in hot weather, every 3-4 days in cooler weather.
- Planet Petco Crumbled Paper Litter For Birds; An excellent litter for the bottom of the cage. Lasts from 1 to 2 weeks in large Finch flights.
- Finch Seed Hopper with Catch Tray; A great feeder that reduces mess.
Perch and accessory placement inside the Finch flight is something often overlooked. The placement of perches, toys, feed and water stations, etc. need to be carefully thought out. Never place any of them where other items are directly below them. This greatly reduces the buildup of droppings on perches and accessories. This will result in having to clean perches, toys, etc. only about once every 7-10 days. (Unless you notice a need sooner) Cleaning is a snap too!
- No need to remove perches or accessories from the cage, simply spray with Poop-Off.
- Wait 10-15 seconds and wipe down with a damp cloth.
(Do the same for the cage walls)
Avoid small water cups in your flight. Use a 1 quart or larger hanging Waterer and always filled with water treated with Aviclens. Unless you notice a large number of droppings you will only need to change the water every 1-2 days in hot weather, every 3-4 days in cooler weather.
Use Seed Hoppers with Catch Trays. The hopper holds a large amount of seed and the catch tray eliminates most of the mess. A good rule of thumb is to add 1 hopper for every 4 inches in your flight. By providing the proper number of seed hoppers you will be emptying the catch trays less often.
Cover the flight floor with about 2" of the Planet Petco Crumbled Paper Litter. Even in very large Finch flights the litter only needs to be changed every 7 - 10 days. This will vary depending on the number and type of birds in your flight. Typically the litter lasts anywhere from 7 days to 4 weeks. The litter absorbs moisture and odor, as well as effectively preventing bacteria. When it's time to change the litter simply sweep or vacuum it out of the flight and add new.
Place the Bird Grit in a 10-ounce crock on the flight floor. Be sure it is away from the hanging waterer or it will become wet and need to be changed. Also, make sure there are no perches or other items hanging above the crock. If you pour a nice layer of grit in the bottom of the crock it should last a couple of weeks before you need to worry about changing it. (Unless you notice droppings building up in the grit)
These simple steps will make maintaining your large flight easier and less time-consuming. You'll have a whole lot more time to just enjoy your birds.
Thursday, August 23, 2018
|A European Goldfinch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
To add exotic color to your outdoor haven, I have two words; Bird Feeders. You will be intrigued by the various types of birds you can attract to your yard. By attracting these birds, you will add color, sound, wildlife and create a sense of seclusion.
There is more to attracting birds than just nailing a birdhouse up to a fence post or hanging one off a tree limb. The species of birds you attract depends on the type of feeder you choose, the placement of the feeder in your yard and the type of feed you put in the feeder.
Here are five categories of birds you may want to consider. All come with their own distinct colors, sounds, and traits.
1) Goldfinches: These birds are yellow in color, with the males being more vibrant in the spring season. They are small in stature and shy by nature. You can use everything from Thistle sacks, which are inexpensive and easy to reposition in the yard to small "clinger" only feeders to various types of triple-tube feeders. For the sake of the length of this article, I will give you a resource you can go to and learn more on the various types of feeders. The type of feeder is important to the type of birds you are trying to attract, but even more important is the type of feed you use to draw specific species to your feeders.
Goldfinches are partial to finely chopped Sunflower hearts and Nyjer seeds; Nyjer is a black seed cultivated in Africa & Asia and are high in calories and oil content. Another source of nutrition and a strong attraction for Goldfinches occurs in the autumn when the blooms from plants such as Marigolds and Zinnias are long past their pretty stages of summer. These create a great feed for Goldfinches, so be sure to leave these in your garden or yard and you will attract a flurry of activity from the Goldfinches, as they are storing energy for the winter.
2) Cardinals: A regal bird with its pointed crown and vibrant red color trimmed in black mask and neck. If you have ever seen a cardinal up close, you would remember it. It has a look like no other bird, in my humble opinion. Whether against the green of summer leaves or the white of winter's snow, Cardinals are a splendid attraction to any setting. Here is how you can seduce them to your haven. They like feeders either low to the ground or with a platform they can eat from when hung from above. This is due to the fact they are a larger bird and require some space to maneuver. They do not eat from tube feeders, like Goldfinches, unless the tube feeder has a tray on the bottom for them to perch on. Their favorite feed is Sunflower or Safflower seeds; their big bill makes it easy for them to crack these seeds. The addition of a bird bath is another draw for the cardinal, as they love water.
3) Blue Birds: The nesting sites of Bluebirds differ according to your region of the country. For your specific region do a little research and determine the best type of nesting site to build to attract these brilliant blue colored birds to your private retreat. They prefer open spaces so they can feed on insects, their main nutrition source. Another favorite of the Bluebird is live mealworms, so you may want to keep some on hand if this beautiful bird is going to be added to your yards color pallet. For winter nutrition, Bluebirds feast on the berries from Bittersweet & Holly. Again, the addition of a birdbath to provide a water source, especially in winter, will help coax the Bluebird to your backyard paradise.
4) Orioles: An orange bodied bird with black head and back, its wings have traces of white and yellow mixed in amongst black. Orioles are shy birds that migrate to South America for the winters. A great tool in the attraction of Orioles is oranges. Cut a few oranges in half on secure them to a gate or fence top and use them to bait the Orioles into your yard. Another weak spot for Orioles is jelly, they love jelly. You can go to your local bird store and pick up an adapter that fits over the open end of a jelly jar and viola; you have a feeder for the Orioles you hope to draw into your backyard. Due to the fact that Orioles are shy birds, start off by setting the feeders further away from active areas and then slowly move them closer, once you began to gain their confidence. This will give you the pleasure of watching this beautiful bird up close; I guess you can say "You'd have a Bird's Eye view".
I know, really bad, but I couldn't resist. Once you notice the Orioles you can leave twine, yarn, and strands of hair for them to find and use in building a pendulum nest they will use for the season. Oranges, jelly, and hosts who do not disturb them, they will love you for the season.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
5) Woodpeckers: Last, but not least, in this selection of vibrantly colored and distinctively different birds; Woodpeckers are showy birds with colored plumage. Described as a clinger, because of its ability to grab on with its feet and attach itself to the sides of trees with no or little effort. They have spiny tail feathers, which aides them in climbing and resting on tree trunks. Typically go up and down tree trunks scrounging for insects, it is advisable to hang your feeders for these birds close to the trunk at first, to get their attention. Once you have their attention, you can move the feeder further out on the limb away from the trunk. Tree nuts and peanuts are the secret to luring these birds to your collection of featured wildlife. Beware though, once a Woodpecker begins its assault on the tree of its choice; it could get noisy for some time to come.
So there you have it, you have added gold, red, blue, orange and the rhythm of the Woodpecker to your Backyard Getaway. For more information on this subject, I recommend The Backyard Bird Company. Take a minute and Google them, they are jam-packed with great information.
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Thank you for reading this article.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2018
|Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Latin names are always hard to pronounce and difficult to remember but due to the varying local names for birds in different countries, they can often be the best way to identify a bird conclusively. For the finches, most of the species encountered in bird keeping come from two main families - the estrildidae finches and the Fringillidae finches.
Fringillidae finches are often referred to as 'true finches' or Old World finches, despite some of them being found in Hawaii and one family in the Arctic fringes. They are most common in Europe and the family name comes from the Latin name for one of their distinctive members, the Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs). Familiar faces in this family depend on where you live but birds such as the European greenfinch, goldfinch and the siskins are all members, as well as one of the most commonly kept birds - the canary.
Estrildidae finches are often referred to as New World or Exotic Finches, though again this isn't a totally accurate name as some are found in Old World tropics areas. Most of these species are from warmer climates however so when kept in the Northern Hemisphere, often need heat to survive. Included in the family is another very commonly kept bird, the Zebra Finch, along with waxbills, Firefinches and the mannikins or munias.
Birds choose their nesting location and type of nest by some internal standard that we humans can only try to anticipate - this means that there is no guarantee that a bird will choose the nest box it is 'meant' to. As a rule, however, estrildid finches tend towards closed nest boxes made from wood or plastic that either has a small hole in the front or an open section. Fringillidae finches will often make use of a nesting pan, a half cup often made from plastic or wicker, which they will add some nesting material too.
If you are breeding finches in a large cage or an aviary, they will often build their nests where they please. You can offer a host of beautiful ready-made nesting facilities and they will build a nest in the corner on a ledge or behind where the boxes stand so don't be surprised if the nest box remains empty and chicks appear from some strange location.
In breeding cages, they have less option and often an external nest is used so that room inside the cage isn't lessened by it. Nesting pans can be attached to cage bars and sometimes fake plants are used to hide it so that the bird has the illusion of being in a tree.
The breeding process
Every species of bird has its own courtship rituals, breeding preparations and specific requirements to start the process. Some, such as the Zebra finch, merely need somewhere to nest, some nesting material and a mate to get started and will breed whenever they feel like it. Others wait for a specific breeding season, which will often fall into line with the breeding season of the wild birds in the country - normally the warmest times of the year. The Canaries are an example of this as are goldfinches and greenfinches.
Eggs are usually white for the estrildid finches and shades of blue-green for the Fringillidae finches, the latter being larger as are most of the birds. Incubation periods also vary as do the number of chicks but around two to three weeks incubation is generally the norm. Once the chicks hatch, some being completely bald while others have small tufts of hair, they are blind for around a week and remain in the nest for three to four weeks. When they leave the nest or fledge, they will be dependent on their parents for a week or two more as they learn to feed themselves.
This is, of course, a simplification of the process that may not be as easy as this. Birds can abandon nests with eggs and with chicks, other factors can disturb them or the chicks die in the eggs and the birds realise this. Chicks can fall from nests or contract illnesses that mean they die at some point. But saying all of this, there is nothing better than peeking into a nest and seeing a host of new life, even if there have been hurdles along the way.
In my experience, the key to breeding finches is to let them get on with it as much as possible and think of what they would need in the wild. While most birds have never seen their native environment, their instincts are still strong. Plants, either real or fake, are a big factor, as is providing live food such as mealworms to some species. Do plenty of research before buying birds to understand what you need to provide them for them to be happy - if they aren't happy, they will never breed. And even then, things can still go wrong. But when it goes right, it is a wonderful experience and one you will quickly become addicted to.
Thursday, July 5, 2018
|Male Zebra Finch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Finches come in various types and are actually quite common species in North America. They are a favorite among pet owners, bird lovers, and enthusiasts because of their beautiful songs and varied colors. Finches are small birds now commonly found in households, residential areas, and their natural habitats. They usually settle in woods, deserts, and meadows.
Many people find it hard to determine female finches from male finches. But each one actually has telling characteristics that would make the task of identifying their sex fairly easy.
One of the ways to tell one from the other is their coloring. The male finch, as with many other species of birds, has more colors and/or more vivid colors than the female. Looking at their colors by far is the easiest way to differentiate between the two. The color pattern, however, depends on the type of finch. For instance, the male house finch which is common in areas of North America has brown flanks and a bright reddish-orange breast and head while the female house finch's entire body has varying shades of brown.
Other male house finches may be of yellow-orange markings instead of red. The Cassin's Finch, the Pine Grosbeak, and the Purple finch have the same reddish coloring. American goldfinches are of black and yellow coloring. They can be found in most parts of the United States and North America.
Female finches do not sing. They simply make clicking or warning sounds. Probably because they are the more protective ones when it comes to guarding their eggs and therefore have to use sounds to ward off the potential danger that may harm her babies. Male finches are the singers and sing their songs during courtship. The male house finch sing songs made up of short notes with no apparent melody or pattern. There are some male house finches that sing throughout the year. The female house finch can at times sing but their song is shorter. Other types of finches such as the male Purple finch sing many songs which include a territorial song and a warbling song. The female house finch sings a very unique nest song.
The American goldfinch sings a lot in the spring. While in flight, female and male partners usually sing together although males still do most of the singing. The female oftentimes gives out a call when her partner male finch approaches her with food for their baby birds.
Male and female finches are mostly the same size; although a male, due to its more vivid coloring, may appear much larger than the female. The male finches also puff up their feathers during courtship to appear even larger and therefore more attractive.
While a good number of finches is easy to identify merely by looking and listening to them, other finches are simply hard to identify without the assistance of an avian veterinarian or a seasoned breeder. Finches such as the Society finch are difficult to identify as male or female. Finches such as the Gouldian finch, White Zebra finch, and Green Singing finch can easily be visually identified.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
|Zebra Finch - Photo by Orchids love rainwater|
In the Australian grasslands, they have a small bird called Zebra Finch. Those finches come in a wide variety. Because of the strict policies of exportation of animals that Australia has, most of the finches are not born there. Zebra finches are very colorful birds, the males being more colorful than the females. Because of the ease in breeding these birds in captivity and the very attractive coloring, they have become very popular.
Like many other beautiful finches, the Zebra Finch has a delightful chirping song, a soft chirping that is a bit different but pleasing. A lot of finch owners find the sound pleasant and sweet. Studies have shown that the male finch is more vocal of the two sexes.
Although the zebra finch is very social with other birds they are quite shy around people. Finches are not known for liking to be held, the finch really doesn't like to be held or petted. So they are beautiful birds but if you are buying one because you would like to hold it, the zebra finch is not recommended. Finches in the wild do tend to flock together with other finches of the like, this is the reason they are so social in captivity. If you think of purchasing a finch, you might consider buying in pairs as to ensure they are happy.
Because zebra finches love to fly around it is recommended you purchase a large cage that can permit this activity. Nothing less than 25 inches across is best, you can find these sizes in affordable metal or wooden cages. Also, remember that just because a finch is small in size, do not underestimate their capabilities for escaping. If the bars are not close enough together the finch will escape. So it is vital to make sure the cage bar gape is adequate. If at all possible please avoid a cage made of brass, or coated in brass, this is toxic for your birds.
Care for your zebra finch will consist of the correct seed which is available from any local supply store. finches also need a diet supplement of greens, vegetables, and fruits. If you can get sprouted seeds this is optimal in providing the need for greens. Cucumbers and carrots will satisfy the vegetable needs. Always make sure your finch has plenty of water, and always include a bathing area, they love to clean themselves.
Also, make sure the cage is well-kept, cleaning should take place at least weekly. Making sure everything is tidy will allow your zebra finch to show off their best qualities.
Other dietary items will consist of bananas, apples and other fruits your zebra finch may love. Zebra finches have another need as well, and that is calcium. Calcium is essential as a mineral supplement. This encourages bone development as well as helping with female egg production. At your local supply store look for a Cuttlebone, this will be more than adequate.
Taking good care of your finch is important, and these birds will love you for it. They will play and sing, brightening up the household, and make everything so peaceful and relaxing. Take good care do not grab at your finches, zebra finches tend to scare easy like other finches and you do not want to cause any trauma to your birds. Always remember to have everyone in the household trained on care for your birds. This will help and allow everyone to be aware, so you can all enjoy these wonderful additions to the home.