History of Finches in Aus

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Posts: 111
Joined: 26 Aug 2014, 20:32
Location: Hamilton Vic

As a follow on from Arthurs post on Finch Photo Gallery would it be possible for some members of this group relate to the younger members an insight via a list of the birds that they bred or tried to breed in the 1970's, 80's, 90's that are now scarce or no longer around
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Posts: 455
Joined: 05 Mar 2018, 15:30
Location: Mandurah WA

I don't know what is scarce and what is around. :)

I used to colony breed blackheart finches and supply a couple of shops back in the 80s.
I bred double bars, gouldians, red stars, painted, and zebra finches. Mostly wild caught birds from WA.
I bred bourkes, scarlet breasted parrots, budgies, weeros, canaries, king and stubble quail (most of which are still commonly available).
I had 28 parrots and pink and grey galahs. Never bred them tho. Can't remember what else I had, old timers disease catching up with me :(
death to all cats & ants
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E Orix
Posts: 2725
Joined: 29 May 2009, 23:30
Location: Howlong on NSW/Vic Border 30km from Albury
Location: Howlong NSW

The main reason so many specie were lost was mainly due to the timing of when the main imports were stopped.
When the second world war broke out many avic's left the country to defend it. Collections were run down, some just liberated
and in many cases there was no grain to feed them, a total struggle. Species and numbers crashed, then imports were stopped
during the war and importing of birds was not allowed to resume when the war finished. The base was so small bird numbers just
couldn't recover. With Aust. species readily available interest was channeled that way.
Also breeding birds was nothing like today when you consider what was available then compared to today.
Live food unlike today you couldn't ring up and get Mealworms or Crickets delivered, no Bush Flies were bred then, medications was basically
Condies Crystals or Elliots range.
So what did we do, we bred our own Meal Worms(not the efficient way of today) Where did we get our breeding stock, under the straw litter
in stables,or old chicken coupes. Maggots were bred, Blow Fly maggots bred in rotting meat, that dropped into bran and were then allowed to clean themselves. That was it. Termites were used north of Sydney mainly
The biggest asset today is communication, in those days no internet, no forums, no mobile phones, you either met at a meeting(I can remember Melbourne having 200+ at a normal monthly meeting) and the club magazine.To make contact with interstate people you wrote letters.
That gives you a little idea of why so many were lost back then.
In the late 60's early 70's I visited the late Allan Williamson's aviaries in Adelaide. He had a very large flight and had the last remnants of a bygone era.
Nonpareil and Rainbow Buntings, Bully, Grey and Large Green Singers, Alario Finches,Cape Sparrows, Warbling Finches and the then most likely the last of the Red Siskins in the south at least. Green,Pope,Red Crested and Green Cardinals and a number of various Weavers and Whydahs. More but it was a long while ago.One thing i did remember was him putting some Niger in a Herring tin and watching well over 20 Red Faced Parrot Finches come down for the seed.In those days they were around $350 pp and Violet Ears were selling for under $300pp. The basic wage was $70 per week.
In those days areas evolved differently than others, The Hunter region was the main producer of small waxbill. There were some big aviaries and collections but most were smaller aviaries.Rectangle aviary 1/3 shelter, 2/3 open wire, brush the back of the aviary well,seed and water plus Termites Termites and more Termites. Result they kept the Cordons, Orange Breasts, Fires etc going.
In the end many species just simply ran out of puff.
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