Thanks to our Donors

We are very grateful to all our donors for supporting our investments in research projects on wild Gouldians. Special thanks go to Laura Watkins and her Gouldian collection in the USA, and to David Pace from Adelaide for his “Shirtember” event of colourful shirt posts.

 

 

2023 Gouldian count completed

The 2023 Gouldian count is completed. 27 volunteers spent a week with early starts, up at 4.30am and away at 5am. They counted Gouldians at 18 count sites around Wyndham in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

It was a great success with an average of 1300 Gouldians counted each day. We saw Gouldians at 12 of the 18 sites. A full report will follow.

Many thanks to the 27 volunteers pictured in front of the big Croc at Wyndham.

The 2023 Count is On!

The annual Gouldian finch census in our research area around Wyndham, Western Australia, is coming up in the first week of September. We have a full complement of 30 volunteers coming to assist.

Will the higher numbers recorded in 2022 be maintained? Prospects are good for breeding this year, as the last wet season over summer 2023 was a big one. There is water everywhere in the East Kimberley environment. If there is still a lot of water available across the landscape when we do the count, the birds might be more widely dispersed than in a drier year when they have to aggregate around remaining water holes late in the dry season.

There might be more birds in total, but our count might not reveal them because we can’t be everywhere. Whatever the case our dedicated volunteers will experience the wonderful Kimberley environment.

A juvenile Gouldian, evidence of the last breeding season. Many don’t survive to the next breeding season.

Back from the Brink?

A rare piece of good news for the Gouldian Finch (and others). New research by a group of Australian researchers has found 29 threatened species that have recovered sufficiently to be no longer  threatened. There’s still a long way to go, but the research points the way to the strategies that are working. See here for a general description of the research and here for more technical details.

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 gary.fitt@bigpond.com. 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 gary.fitt@bigpond.com 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 www.naturallyforbirds.com.au.

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.