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Rainbows in an Endangered Finch

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. —Aristotle

I captured this brave little fellow at Butterfly World’s Jewels of the Sky Aviary, the largest free-flight hummingbird aviary in the United States. It’s a most amazing, beautiful, and fairy-like place — a huge and lush flower-filled habitat of Hummingbirds, Honeycreepers, and Euphonias.

The Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae), also known as the Lady Gouldian Finch, Gould’s Finch, or the Rainbow Finch, was named for Elizabeth Gould, wife of British ornithological artist John Gould. This spectacularly-colored little bird is native to Australia, where their numbers have decreased dramatically throughout the 20th century due to habitat loss. They remain an endangered species in their natural habitat, with less than 2,500 remaining.

In 1992, the species was classified as endangered in the wild. That same year, Catwoman stuffed a poor Gouldian into her mouth in Batman Returns— some say, to raise awareness for their plight.

Catwoman eyes the Penguin’s Gouldian in “Batman Returns”

However, they’re popular birds in captivity and among breeders, which keeps their general populations higher. The delicate Gouldian Finches are difficult to breed outside of their native Australia — they demand a clean environment and excellent nutrition to survive and thrive, and aren’t suggested for novice breeders. (I personally have issues with caged birds, but wanted to include this tidbit.) While attempts at their reintroduction have proved unsuccessful, thankfully these lovely finches are the subject of a conservation program in Australia. There are currently plans to recover and conserve their natural habitats, with management guidelines discussed to educate landholders about land management, promoting the recovery program, and Gouldian Finch conservation.

Gouldian Finches gather in flocks in the wild, most likely to protect against predation. They’re highly sociable birds, but more often with other birds than with humans. Both sexes are brightly colored, with black, green, yellow, and red markings — but with selective breeding, there are now many color mutations. As usual, females tend to be less brightly colored (the males do the strutting). Gouldians bond and mate for life.

In honor of this beautiful, endangered, and brave little finch, may you have an equally bright weekend!

Gouldian Finch (Rainbow Finch)

37 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pam #

    This is my favorite finch there! How in the world did you get him still long enough to take a good picture? 🙂

    June 22, 2012
    • Heh — I couldn’t believe it! I visited this week, and it was quiet (a weekday), but he just sat and stared at me from afar — I walked a bit closer, a bit more… And he refused to move. Very calm, poised and completely unperturbed. I loved him! ♥

      June 22, 2012
      • Pam #

        How sweet! You were very fortunate. We were there on a busy day and he fluttered constantly here and there. Despite hanging around, I had to settle for just an OK shot. I’ll have to head back again!

        June 22, 2012
      • DEFINITELY try to visit on a weekday, non-Season! They’re much more relaxed (UNDERSTANDABLY!) with less human traffic. I know it’s easier said than done — with my freelance sked I have leeway. Good luck!!

        June 22, 2012
  2. I can tell you loved him and he you love wildlife

    June 22, 2012
    • 🙂 Most definitely… Well, I loved him — I hope he liked me, he certainly seemed unperturbed, at least!

      June 22, 2012
      • When I pull out the camera where ever I am I get the same response lol they are more curious I like that I do not scare wildlife away well unless it is a coyote or bear in my yard 🙂

        June 22, 2012
      • Heh! I don’t know if I’d try to get so close to a coyote or bear… a finch is different!! 🙂 But I *always* do my best to be respectful above all else to the wildlife. It’s just a photograph, after all — their well-being is the utmost priority, especially these days… I’ve missed many a great shot for the sake of the critter.

        June 22, 2012
      • 🙂

        July 30, 2012
  3. He’s so colourful, it’s hard to believe the colours occur naturally! x

    June 22, 2012
    • They’re completely unreal… Around the giant aviary (seemingly bigger than our home), it was like flashes of rainbows darting here and there! Just lovely.

      June 22, 2012
  4. Reblogged this on Ashlee Craft's Blog.

    June 22, 2012
  5. Reblogged this on Ashlee Craft's Blog and commented:
    Such a beautiful finch! 🙂 Great picture.

    June 22, 2012
    • Thanks so much, and thanks for sharing! I was fortunate to have visited with such a gorgeous and unperturbed little fella. 🙂

      June 22, 2012
  6. YOWZERS!!! I mean, truly — YOWZERS!!!!

    June 22, 2012
    • Heee! Aren’t they little bits of spectacular? I was so lucky this guy was so unperturbed. 🙂

      I forgot to add this, for all the kitty people (but of course I just edited it in)… In 1992, the species was classified as endangered in the wild. That same year, Catwoman stuffed a poor Gouldian into her mouth in Batman Returns — some say, to raise awareness for their plight.

      June 22, 2012
      • sssssssssssssssssss. BAD Catwoman!

        June 22, 2012
      • Hahahah!! Naughty kitty! 🙂

        June 22, 2012
  7. Val #

    Lovely photo and a very pretty bird. At first, I thought it was made of felt til I looked at its eyes, beak and legs! Good shot. 🙂

    June 22, 2012
    • Heh, that’s great! They ARE unreal though, so very perfect and bright — truly little gems. Thanks much! ♥

      June 22, 2012
  8. Do not know if I have seen a Rainbow Bird before – Beautiful:) Have a Wonderful Weekend – Happy Friday:)

    June 22, 2012
    • They’re such delicate, bright little birds… Well, this one was a brave guy. 🙂 Have a lovely weekend, happy Friday!

      June 22, 2012
  9. sandy #

    What a beauty! Thanks so much for sharing this! I did not know of this bird.

    June 22, 2012
    • You’re so welcome — I’m glad you’re able to appreciate this little endangered gem’s beauty as well! 🙂

      June 23, 2012
  10. HOLY MOLY – HOW DO YOU DO IT ???!!! JUST INCREDIBLE – I HAVE NO WORDS!!!!

    June 22, 2012
    • Hee — Thanks so much! I was so, so lucky. This little guy sat and stared at me from afar, on a quiet day at the aviary — I walked a bit closer, a bit more… And he refused to move. Very calm, poised and completely unperturbed. I loved him! ♥

      June 23, 2012
  11. That rainbow finch is glorious.

    June 23, 2012
    • They’re truly amazing little gems… Darting around, they’re simply spectacular!

      June 23, 2012
  12. Wonderful capture, Fexgirl – and wonderful attitude to photographing wildlife, I totally agree, I’d rather miss a shot than cause distress to an animal. So glad you stopped by my blog so I could find yours (my nature blog – http://ailsapm.wordpress.com ) – my avatar is linked to my travel blog. xxx

    June 25, 2012
    • Aagh, typing too quickly, I meant Feygirl, of course. :#

      June 25, 2012
      • Hee! No worries…

        June 25, 2012
    • Thanks so much! Definitely, in this digital era the concept of “nature photography” has certainly changed, sadly. While I certainly see respect / conservation for the natural world and its inhabitants, I also see ridiculousness on the part of some “nature” photographers — scaring wildlife to get a shot, etc. Just gross. Love your blog though!! Can’t wait to investigate more… 🙂

      June 25, 2012
      • Likewise. And I too have seen some dreadful behaviour on the part of nature photographers too, nice to find a kindred spirit 🙂

        June 25, 2012
      • ♥✿♥!

        June 25, 2012
  13. Wow, incredible! I’m with you and I don’t like to see birds in cages either. I support the idea of conservation and cleaning natural habitats for species.

    July 20, 2012
    • Exactly! I don’t think I could bear it… Like all the other species, we must do all we can to protect their worlds. And ours, sheesh.

      “How can the bird that is born for joy sit in a cage and sing?” – William Blake

      July 20, 2012
      • They do manage, but they must long for the wild blue yonder.

        July 21, 2012

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