This is Hannah. She's a black head yellow backed female gouldian finch. I realize that her head color actually appears to be more white than black. In the yellow back mutation, the black head color is supressed, causing it to appear beige or gray. Hannah has spent most of this breeding season laying and sitting faithfully on infertile eggs. She chases away any male that comes near her (thus the infertile eggs). Well, she has now surprised me with a baby. I have no idea who Daddy is, or for that matter whether she is the biological Mom. She may have just moved into a nest where another pair had laid eggs. In any case, this single mom is doing a bang up job raising the baby. It's about a week old now and getting larger every day.
In the world of gouldian finch breeders there has been a lot of discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of fostering gouldian eggs or babies with society finches. At one time or another, most breeders have probably seen gouldian finch parents abandon their eggs or babies, or worse, toss the babies out of the nest.
Many gouldian finch breeders (myself included) keep some pairs society finches for these times. Society finches, those sweet cuddlers of the finch world, will usually take over as parents and raise the gouldian babies as their own.
Most breeders agree that it's important to remove the chicks from the society parents as soon as they are independent so that they do not "imprint" on the Society Finches and later in life reject pairing with other Gouldians. The following photos support this theory (kind of):
These photos show gouldian finch (Jerome) courting his lady-love, society finch (Honey). Jerome and Honey were actually raised together (hand-fed by me), then given to a friend. Two years later they "returned to the nest" and now live in the aviary with the other gouldians and societies. Even though they've been in the aviary for 4 months, neither of them show any romantic interest in the others of their own species (although they both still fly to my shoulder once in awhile).
Although he's trying to impress a Society finch, Jerome's mating dance is all Gouldian, with the head bowing, then stretching tall while twittering, and then hopping up and down. I especially like the third photo where I caught Jerome mid-hop in his "mating dance".
OK, after a few days of trying, I was finally able to get a photo of the "baby feeding the baby". Actually it's a juvenile gouldian finch (about 3 months old) feeding his 4 week old sibling (same parents, second clutch). Just like last time, the parents seem to be more interested in making more babies than they are in feeding the ones who just left the nest.
A collection of notes and photos - most of them taken at our home on Lake Gaston, North Carolina. Pets & wildlife are my favorite photo subjects. Visit my Lakeview Aviary website for info and more photos about my indoor finch aviary.