If you are a seasoned bird-watching enthusiast in Australia, then you have misheard of the Gouldian Finch, even if you haven’t had the privilege of seeing one in the wild. This spectacular bird has attracted a lot of media attention in recent years due to its decreasing number, due to the reduction of its habitat. Many bird watchers agree that this finch is Australia’s most spectacular colored bird. There are a number of organizations that have dedicated themselves to preserving the habitats of this extraordinary creature. Recent research has found that there are only about 2,500 Gouldian Finch specimens living in the wild.
The little bird got its name from John Gould, the discoverer of the bird. Taken by the beauty of the purple-breasted bird, he named her Lady Gouldian. With its distinctive purple plumage, yellow-feathered chest, and green back, this little bird is hard to mistake.
As a grass finch, the main source of the Gouldian finch’s diet is from the mature or semi-ripe seeds of native grasses. It is interesting that, during some months of the year, the bird changes its diet to cope with the arduous task of raising its young. During these months, the birds’ diet consists mainly of small insects, which provided them with the additional nutrients needed during this stressful period.
It really is a tragedy when you consider the vast habitat in which the Gouldian finch lived, in contrast to the small areas it now occupied. Many bird watchers initially thought that Gouldian finch numbers were plummeting in the wild due to individuals capturing the birds as pets. Since then, research has shown reduced habitats, and irregular fire patterns are the main culprits for habitat reduction. Today, the finch can only be found in the wild in the upper reaches of the Northern Territory of Australia. Mike Jarvis, one of Australia’s most respected birding guides, regularly takes tours of the Mary River district and southern Pine Creek in the dry season, with great success regularly observing this endangered bird. If you can explore this region, keep an eye out for finches in open forests near water sources. There is anecdotal evidence that they are often seen near native grasslands.
How to help the Gouldian finch
Many good-hearted volunteers regularly monitor local water wells in the native habitat of the Gouldian finch to keep an eye on sightings. The more information volunteer birding organizations can obtain on the Gouldian finch habitat, the more they can help protect that environment. Additional people can take active steps to ensure the protection of the current bird habitat and report any activities that are damaging the area.
There have been new points of the Gouldian finch on the Dampier Peninsula in Western Australia. Research has shown that this is not a population of birds that has moved into the area, but rather a population that has not been previously discovered. This breeding population shows how important it is for amateur birders to report any sightings of the Gouldian Finch, as this area is now a protected area. With continued attention and public awareness, generations of Australians will be able to enjoy seeing this most remarkable bird in the grasslands of Australia.