Bird watching this week, I was getting too hot outside. Dead grass crackled behind me. I turned to see a monster. Its tongue flickered. It froze, glared and considered what to do.
Luckily it went in the other direction.
I shot it…firing off photos with the camera. The monitor raced into the garden, sliding beneath the favourite finch hideout-a China Doll bush.
The birds went wild, squeaking high-pitched, urgent and loud. They fled their tree, went to the bigger Jacaranda and flicked their tails in half circles. Scared of the goanna coming back, I didn’t stick around. These little birds were fine; none were harmed, they flew away.
Double-barred Finches chatter and cheep a lot.
My garden is next to woody eucalypt forest where there’s lots of shelter. Weeds provide seed for these tiny ground feeder birds. I keep saucers, old saucepans and a full-size sunken bath topped up, and these birds nested everywhere.
Mating for life, the finches lay 4 or 5 eggs in a round nest with a side entrance.
It starts with the male fluffing up into a ball shape beside a female. Leaning down and wiping his beak on the branch a lot, he woos her with a love song.
The old serenade trick works a treat.
Both sexes incubate eggs that hatch in a fortnight and fledge in 3 weeks. I think they’ve bred every 6 weeks because their numbers have come up fast.
I have a flock of 50 finches.
Because they’re tiny, so are their cheeps. Fledglings are 9 cm, adults 10 or 11. Sweet nasal tweets; chattering ‘meeps’ go on all day.
Social birds, the Double-barred Finches say hello to each other by bowing or opening and closing their cute beaks.
|Double-barred Finches eat, drink, sleep, play, bathe and cuddle together.|
Up to six birds squash into one sleeping dome in thick scrub. Lots of Double-barred pairs even nest in the same bush.
Fledglings beg for food with loud beaks and bobbing heads; holding up a wing to shield their nest-mates from being fed.
Sibling rivalry, how cheeky is that?
Aren’t they adorable?
I photographed these little beauties preening at dusk last night.
The smaller fledgling is tired. Maybe it was only out of the nest in the last couple of days. It shut its eyes for micro-sleeps.
The sweetest thing I have seen in ages.
And I’ve fallen in love with Double-barred Finches.