Sad News About My Favorite Gouldian Finch

January 8, 2014


Above: A male Gouldian Finch, sketched with a dried out red Tombow (non-lightfast). 9 x 12 inch Fabriano Venezia Journal.

I have some sad news. Around the middle of December I noticed that I'd walk by the aviary in the nursing home and I couldn't see the female Gouldian Finch. I regret not saying something right away; perhaps things would have been different. I didn't see her peeking out of any of the little covered nesting baskets. The male, always a bit skittish, seemed more so. This went on for three days. I thought she'd been removed and he was responding to being alone (without his partner, there are several other pairs).

Then I came in one day to see my favorite bird dead on the floor of the large aviary. (I did sketches and may make a finished painting, but it's rather a personal image right now.)

I let management know because I wasn't sure when someone would notice. I was told they'd take care of it at the end of the day. The male disappeared after I made this sketch. I don't know if he also became ill and died or he was just removed.

I miss the female very much.

I remember the day she arrived with her partner.

The little doves had been removed. Of course they had been my favorite and I was at first a bit disappointed to lose them, and startled by the bold blobs of color the Gouldians brought.

Even in the beginning she would come to the end of the branch nearest the window and peer right back at me, fearless and inquisitive, calm and intense. She had large beautiful eyes with which she held my gaze. She was patient. Her feather colors were a muted match to the saturated flash of her mate. I preferred, as usual, the more neutralized approach. 

She got me through countless stressful days. I was quite smitten.

    • Dana
    • January 8, 2014

    What a beautiful connection you two had. Some would jeer at me for saying so, but I’m sorry for your loss.

  1. Reply

    Thanks Dana. As a pantheist I find little non-denominational saints everywhere to help me get through tough times and this little bird carried more than her fair share. Thanks for understanding.

  2. Reply

    So sorry for your loss… not sure the life span of finches, I do know that ill birds will hide it from the flock as long as possible… making it appear sometimes that the death is sudden, when in reality they’ve been in decline for a while. I have two parrots now a small Conure, who is about at the end of his expected lifespan and a young 17 year old Scarlett Macaw who will be willed to one of my grand children because he will surely outlive me. Birds can be engaging pets.

  3. Reply

    Thanks Capt.Elaine. I have never kept a finch so I don’t know life expectancies either. I think she was hiding in a little “hut” for several days before she passed. I know a lovely conure who lives here in the Cities. They are wonderful birds. I’m sorry yours is aging, but I’m sure you’ve had many wonderful times with him. I know parrots are very long-lived. When I first started my design business I was flush with cash one week and went into a pet store to get something for a friend and met the most amazing toucan. I started figuring out if I could afford him, and talked myself into it, but then thought about life expectancy issues and chickened out. In a way I’m glad because after awhile dogs came into my home and I never would have had both. But I still think about that toucan. And in Australia I had a budgie—but don’t get me talking about that talented guy!

  4. Reply

    That’s sad news indeed. Birds are so fragile! I’ve lost a few of my own and won’t have any more. They get sick and hurt too easily. I sure hope they found the male a home and that he didn’t die too.

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