Fire and the Gouldian

The East Kimberley Community Fire Forum was held in Kununurra on 3rd November. The Community Fire Forum represents the efforts of locals to improve the management of dry season fires in the area and particularly the regular (every year), late dry season hot burns that cause so much damage to the vegetation and fauna, including the Gouldian Finch.

We presented a paper on “Fire and the Gouldian” that outlines how decades of inappropriate fire have impacted negatively on the breeding success and survival of Gouldians. Appropriate fire (early dry season, mosaic patch burning) is fine, but the current fire regime is the main reason the Gouldian is Endangered.

What we urgently need is a return to small scale mosaic patch burning coordinated at landscape scale across northern Australia – coordinated fire at the right time, in the right places, at the right scale.

Excerpt from the presentation Fire and the Gouldian

2022 Gouldian count completed

We have just completed the Gouldian finch count in our study area around Wyndham. I wanted to thank the team of volunteers who came along this year. The good thing to report is that our population estimate is significantly increased on past years. More detail will be provided later when a full report is done but see here for some more detail.

Join the 2022 Gouldian Count!

Save the Gouldian Fund coordinates an annual count of Gouldian Finches in our study region around Wyndham in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. For the past two years we have been unable to do a count due to COVID restrictions, but it is all clear for this year.

The 2022 Gouldian Count will be on Sep 5-9. It relies on volunteers, who must cover their own travelling and living costs. If you are interested in volunteering this year, contact Gary Fitt at See a report on the 2019 count here.

Finches ’22 Convention

July 1-3 2022, University of Queensland

Don’t miss Finches ’22! Australia is open, and State borders won’t be closing again, but some are still uncertain about making travel commitments. If you register now for Finches ’22 and can’t attend because of COVID – a COVID infection, or because you are a close contact – we will fully refund your costs up to a week before the Convention.

FINCHES ’22 will feature 14 expert presenters, workshops, aviary visits, conference dinner and awards, raffle and fun competitions.

Who is presenting?

  • Peter Harrison (UK) – “Winning with birds – breeding, training, preparation and execution.”
  • Bruce Hockley (NSW) – “Breeding for quality”
  • Mike Fidler (NSW) – “Decoding our birds – how do we define a management regime for each species?”
  • Dr. Stacey Gelis (Qld) – Two workshops on hands on aspects of avian health.
  • Ian Brown (Qld) – “Nutritional needs for Softbills – keeping the diversity of foods manageable”.
  • Steve Sass (NSW) – “Social challenges in breeding Fairy Wrens in captivity”
  • Cheryl Mares (Qld) – “Napoleon Weavers – weaving some magic.”
  • David Pace (Sth Australia) – “Re-establishing aviaries and birds – the challenges of a suburban backyard”
  • Dr Lori Hurley (NSW) – “When good sperm go bad – factors impacting avian sperm”.
  • Graham Bull (NSW) – “The Black-rumped Waxbill – its Australian avicultural experience with lessons for other declining exotic finch species”.
  • Glen Holland (Victoria) – “African finches in bush and aviary – what can we apply from observations of wild finches”.
  • Dr. Chris Schell (Qld) – “Aviary design for the small garden – considerations for housing an interesting collection”.
  • Dr. Bob Doneley (Qld) – “A systematic approach to disease avoidance in avicultural collections”
  • Gary Fitt (Qld) – “What does the National Finch and Softbill Census tell us?”

The Convention will again be held at a great venue at the University of Queensland. Most delegates stay on site in great accommodation, so that finch chatter continues at all hours. If you’re serious about finches and softbills, this event is for you.

Registrations are open now. Contact for all details and registration/accommodation bookings.

Wyndham Locals help the Gouldians

Recently Mike Fidler appealed to Wyndham locals in The Bastion newspaper to help reverse declining numbers of Gouldian finches in the area by putting up nest boxes in their gardens. The article is reproduced here.

Since then, a meeting has been held at the Research Centre. Fifteen nest boxes were taken by Wyndham residents directly after the meeting and at least another fifteen have been spoken for since. Well done, Wyndham!

Also thanks are due to the prison work camp inmates, who are repairing some of the part-made boxes.

Strop, Bushy and Mike examining nest boxes in need of repair
Strop, Bush and Mike discuss how to fix nest boxes to trees
Nest boxes going to the work camp for repair
Meeting at the Research Centre about nest boxes

Naturally For Birds

STGF is very proud to be part of Naturally For Birds – a new range of avicultural supplements that has arisen directly from the research we have been doing with captive and wild Gouldian finches.

For nearly 15 years now, we have been working on the ecology, behaviour, physiology and nutritional requirements of a range of finches. Part of this work has been researching the wild diets of finches at different stages in their lifecycle (i.e. different times of the year). Using this research, a range of supplements has subsequently been formulated to meet the natural bio-rhythms of wild Australian seedeaters. When added to a traditional diet, the scientific trials showed dramatic and staggering results in improving general health and well-being of birds, as well as increasing fertility, breeding success, nestling and juvenile growth rates and survival, as well as a number of other health, survival and reproductive-related effects. This led to the decision to extend this nutritional work across a range of different species, with very different nutritional requirements. As a result we now have three valuable supplements for cage birds – PRIMA, PROTEIN BOOST and MICRONUTRIENTS. Read more about them at

It is against this background that NATURALLY for BIRDS was formed in 2014, with a view to raising funds for nutritional research and other ongoing activities of Save the Gouldian Fund.

Importantly, all profits from the sales of all NATURALLY for BIRDS products go to Save The Gouldian Fund to continue saving the Gouldian finch and for further research into avian nutrition.  


Research Updates

A key aim of the Save the Gouldian Fund is to promote research into the Gouldian finch. See the interesting findings in two updates, at June 2019 and September 2019.

Estimating home ranges to look at habitat preferences

New Article on the 2019 Count

We have a new article up on the website describing the results of the Save the Gouldian Fund Count for 2019. Sadly numbers were down on 2018, but the count followed a very poor 2018/19 wet season. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with this year’s count!

Read the full article here

Thanks, Laura!

STGF relies on donations to support our investments in research projects on the natural population of Gouldians. Results of those investments are regulalry reported here. Recently we had a great donation from Laura Watkins, a regular donor from the US. Laura is a breeder of Gouldians and her substantial donation was accompanied by the comment – “From my domestic flock of Lady Gouldians, to their wild counterparts – a portion of this year’s sales. Cheers!”

Fantastic to have successful breeders supporting our investments in wild Gouldian research. Many thanks to Laura and her Lady Goulds!

Drones in Fight to Save Finch

A recent article by Peter de Kruijff from The West Australian on one of our exciting new projects! This involves tracking Gouldian finches using drones (and transponders) to help us determine where the birds move during the year.

Click here to read the full article