Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Olivegroves and Goldfinch!


     It is the end of April and today my thoughts turned back to many years ago when I handbred some Goldfinch. You need to know that the family has some land where they have animals: cows, pigs etc. There is also a dog and several half-feral cats there. In spring there are also always several nests in the old olive trees there.

     One day DH had gone down to feed the cows as he often does. When he arrived back he had something covered in the pail. He told me that he had found that the cats had killed two goldfinch and the hatchlings were still in the nest. He asked me if I could save them. I looked at the nest.  Five tiny birds with no feathers were there. Only one had it's eyes open! Poor little things! They had their beaks open hoping for some food! I was very dubious.

     A quick search online brought up some suggestions from Italian goldfinch breeders. These must be goldfinch although they looked nothing like the adult birds!  We got some food for them, ground it down and followed the hints we had found.  With some difficulty at first I gradually managed to get them to feed. I fed them at first every 2 hours from sunrise to sunset! I didn't dare leave them too long in case they died! The weather was still unstable and they could catch cold easily.

     Slowly they opened their eyes, and started growing feathers. It was fascinating watching as the tiny "buds"sprouted into beautiful gold coloured feathers!
     In the morning as I came downstairs they started calling as if I was their Mum! They would sit on my hand quite happily and fly back to me if free. Drove my poor cat crazy!

      As they grew I moved them from the small canary cage to a big cage designed for a squirrel so they had plenty of room to fly around. DH added a bit of olive branch for them to perch on. They were very tame but I didn't really want bird-droppings all over the house so in the cage it was!
 There was no way I could set them free as they weren't afraid of humans or dogs and cats and would have had a very brief life out in the open!
    I had them for many years. Two actually mated and had little ones. They were very lazy about feeding them,( I really think they expected me to do it!) but 2 out of 4 hatched eggs survived!
     I was so sad when gradually they died, although I knew they had had a reasonable life. Far better than if the cats had got them.
     Never ever steal birds (or eggs) from nests! The probability that they survive is very slight and it is very cruel!
     This morning I came across some old photos which I want to share with you. I wonder if others have had such a wonderful experience! I would love to hear from you if you did.

Aren't they cute here?

Excuse the photo of me looking like a witch! I didn't know she had taken that!

Feeding time!

Starting to get adventurous and perching on the edge of the nest!

Bye for now! Patricia.


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