European Goldfinch

To: 'canberra birds' <>
Subject: European Goldfinch
From: Julian Robinson <>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2016 12:40:57 +0000

I can’t find my ABR, but two sets of stats show Goldfinches have been in significant decline during the last 20 years, maybe now heading back towards the 70’s and 80’s ‘normal’?




From: Jack & Andrea Holland [
Sent: Thursday, 18 August 2016 7:59 PM
To: Mark Clayton; 'canberra birds'
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] European Goldfinch


Same story on Cooleman Ridge, Mark


When we moved here in the mid 1970s lots of Goldfinches (and Flame Robins), but very few these days.  The most reliable local spot recently has been the SW corner of the Narrabundah Hill reserve, but very few there in the past couple of years.


Jack Holland



Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2016 3:58 PM


Subject: [canberrabirds] European Goldfinch


Afternoon all,


I have been intrigued by all the talk of goldfinches becoming more common around Canberra. Potentially this may be so but they are nowhere near the numbers that I used to see in the 1970’s when I was working at CSIRO Wildlife on the Barton Highway. My lab was on the second floor of a building that overlooked what are now the Crace Grasslands NR. The Gungahlin Drive had not been talked about and it was grassland all the way to Yowani Golf Course. During winter it was not uncommon to see flocks of several hundred goldfinches feeding on the myriad of thistles that grew in the paddocks. Finding nests, usually in exotic tree species, around Canberra was easy. They were a common bird back then but I can’t remember the last time I saw more than two of the finches together in recent times. To me they have become quite rare which I feel is not such a bad thing. The paddocks are still there but now with the GDE splitting them. It was also not uncommon to see dozens of Flame Robins also in the same paddocks There are no more, or very few, thistles in evidence and I no longer see either the finches or the robins in the area. The finches were also common in places like Kelly’s Swamp.


One interesting side note was the fact that while working on pigeons and doves for the late Harry Frith, I had to travel to Melbourne to collect Spotted (Turtle) Doves. I did this while taking over from the late John McKean when he was overseas. John had a network of people trapping doves in some of the Melbourne suburbs and one of these people was a somewhat dodgy – in my eyes at least - bird dealer. When I mentioned the numbers of Gold Finches in the paddocks, he offered me $1 a bird – not bad money in those days. Needless to say I didn’t take up his offer.


I did like the reference in several of the emails to charming goldfinches – for those who are unaware the collective name for a group of the species is “a charm of .........”



<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the Canberra Ornithologists Group mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the list contact David McDonald, list manager, phone (02) 6231 8904 or email . If you can not contact David McDonald e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU