Sunday, August 07, 2005

Finch love

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".

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