'canberra birds' <>
John Harris <>
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 23:37:53 +0000
This thread about Goldfinches is quite interesting at many levels. I sort of started it off I think by responding to a goldfinch comment and asking if they were a threat to any native species. There seems to be more acceptance of goldfinches out there
than of starlings and other ferals and part of this may be the tendency to favour pretty birds. What would we think if Common Mynas were blue and yellow with a pretty song? Having said that I found it thought provoking that the goldfinches feed only(?) on
thistles. If they do feed ONLY on an introduced weed, then they are a valuable control species and should be welcome. So do I understand my knowledgable colleagues to be saying that they do NOT compete and are actually useful?
If that is the case, given the coming moist spring, there should be a lot of thistles and we should see a further increase in goldfinches. Cheers
From: Julian Robinson <>
Date: Thursday, 18 August 2016 at 10:40 PM
To: chatline <>
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] European Goldfinch
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.
Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2016 3:58
Subject: [canberrabirds] European Goldfinch
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 .........”
Message protected by MailGuard: e-mail anti-virus, anti-spam and content filtering.
Report this message as spam
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: