The Social Zebra Finch
The aviary in our patient waiting area is home to our smallest employees, a team of playful Zebra Finches who have been members of our office family for more than 30 years. They have brought peace and comfort to thousands of our patients and those who come with them. We hope that you, too, will enjoy their spunky personalities and charming melodies. Among website comments about our office, the finches often get praise for making folks feel at ease. Here are more fun facts about our tiny feathered ambassadors
Native to the Australian grasslands, the zebra finch is a very social bird with a pleasant song. They make wonderful pets and are happiest in pairs. You can usually tell a male from female by the male’s bright orange cheeks, stripes on the neck and spots on the sides. When the time comes for choosing mates, the male sings an elaborate song to the attract the female, who is looking for the guy with the most sophisticated serenade. This lets her know that he will be a good provider. Think of the classic pop song by Abba: “Take a Chance on Me. ”Sometimes zebra finches even practice their songs in their sleep! Once a mate is chosen, the nest building begins! At times, this process can be somewhat aggressive. Finches have intense protective tendencies and both the male and female finches take turns sitting on the eggs. When the baby birds hatch, the parents work hard to providing food and warmth. Taking care of the kids is a joint effort.
Yes! We have had offspring. When one of our friends has finished his time with us, he is honored and buried with dignity. That’s when we place nests in the aviary. That’s the signal to the bird mother’s to prepare their nests and resupply the flock. It is possible to tell the boys from the girls. Ask the staff.
Zebra finches enjoy a diet of greens, millet seeds and fruits, and calcium from seashells, cuttlefish and eggshells are also very nutritional. In general, zebra finches remain with their mates and stay active and social the entirety of their lives.
By the way, if one of the finches appears bedraggled or featherless, don’t be alarmed- they are molting. They are not being mistreated by their peers nor are they being ignored by us. If you have any questions about them, please feel free to ask the staff.