Saving the RB Finches

To: chatline <>
Subject: Saving the RB Finches
From: John Harris <>
Date: Thu, 5 Mar 2020 07:17:48 +0000

I think I have managed to rescue the little local flock of Red-browed Finches which inhabit the native grasses on the little Ginninderra Creek floodplain behind Kangaroo Close Nicholls.

I have always fed them and I know that there are those who say we should not. However, over the past few years I have become certain that I have ensured their survival.

Over 20 years, I have seen their numbers increase from half a dozen to a little flock of 30. All 30 came to my seed tray. I don’t claim responsibility for the increase but I am part of their foraging environment. They brought their young here and fed them. And of course I daily saw the flock wheel above the grasses. If I whistled them they would come to the back patio.

For about 3 years the flock has been gradually reducing. The native grasses have suffered due to drought and ever increasing areas of native grasses did not seed except those closest to the bank of Ginninderra Creek. However, before this breeding season, Ginninderra Creek totally dried up and the native grasses browned off and flattened completely.

The RBFs became much more frequent visitors to my back patio and began calling to me. They started coming to me every time they saw me in the back yard and being very insistent that I put out more seed.

They eventually took up semi-permanent residence in my shrubbery, drank from the bird bath and waited around all day for food.

While the rain has brought growth to the grasses, they have not yet seeded and even on a rainy day like today the finches shelter in my fruit trees and wait for me or fly about if they see me. I do not think there are any other food sources now.

The flock now numbers 15, a 50% reduction.  It is a while since I have seen any young fledgelings.

I don’t think I have changed their normal habits. I think they had nowhere else to go and I became the only alternative.

But I think I have managed to save the flock. I am excited at the prospect that I will see more native food available and that the flock will once more increase.





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