Susan Hosang, Finches, Hawk-Headed Parrots and Electus
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Finches, Hawk-Headed Parrots and Electus

Finches:  I started my journey into aviculture by raising Gouldian Finches. I was so enthralled with their colors that I started collecting them. These are the perfect aviary birds and their cheeping is very low-level. However, they are not that easy to breed. I would not recommend them if you are just starting out. If you want to try your hand at breeding, Zebra finches are the perfect starting point as their propensity for breeding is legendary. What I have found is that Gouldian Finches will sit on their eggs, but as soon as the chicks are born, they will kick them out of the nest and leave them to die. So what's a breeder to do? Well, you hire a surrogate. They are called Society Finches. These finches have a gregarious nature and are relentless in raising chicks whether their own or not. I keep the Societies in separate cages and when the Gouldians lay their eggs, I take them out and give them to the Society Finches to foster.
            Their average life span is 10 years but they can live longer depending on care, lifestyle, stress or lack of, and genetics. My flock is going on 12 years and they are starting to show signs of age. A tell-tale sign that a bird is old is that their eyes get cloudy. Gouldians will mesmerize you with their colors and the fun thing about them is that you never know what combination of colors you are going to get. You simply have to wait to find out.

finches

Gouldian Finches

           Hawk-headed Parrots: Hawk-headed Parrots are native to the South American rainforest and when full grown are around 14 inches and weigh around 300 grams. The most striking and remarkable feature of the hawk-head is the crest. They will raise it like a fan around their head if they become excited, or happy or scared. They are rambunctious and I have found that if you get them excited, they will become aggressive. These parrots are uncommon in aviculture, as they are difficult to breed in captivity. As a result few are being bred and sold as pets and they are quite expensive.
            I got mine from my friend Donna, who had acquired a baby and hand-fed it. I named it Molly and later found out that it was a boy. This has happened to me quite a few times. When I receive a bird, I usually ask them what their name is and I go with what I am told. Later on when I get around to sexing the bird, most of the times I am wrong. So I asked my animal channel what was going on because I was starting to doubt my intuition. The birds told me that in their world, names are not gender related. What matters to them is the sound or the resonance of the name. So in my aviary, half of the boys have girl names and some of the girls have boy names; however, no one seems to care.

hawk-headed parrot

Hawk-headed Parrot

Eclectus: The Eclectus originates from the Pacific Islands (New Guinea, the Solomons, Northern Australia). They are gorgeous birds. The male is a vibrant green contrasting with red on its wings and has a "candy corn" beak. The female is a Christmas red and has a lavender or purple chest and a black beak. The distinction between the male and the female is so radical that they were thought to be different species. They also have hair-like feathers.
            My male, Jasper came to me as a fluke. I had obtained him from my friend Donna for a client of mine. He was looking for a male Eclectus, and told me that if I ever came across one, he would be interested in buying it. Well around the same time that I obtained one from my friend, he purchased one on his own. So Jasper became mine which I am sure he had planned because I surely was not in the market for one.

electus

Male Electus - "Jasper"

            Eclectus' have an aura of calm and peacefulness about them. Every night we go walking - the dogs leading the pack, the cats following behind, and Jasper on my shoulder. It is quite a spectacle. And yes, I am fully aware that avian consultants strictly bar shoulders being used as a perch, and for good reason. Mainly, it is for you and your bird's safety. So even though I do it, it is not a practice that I would recommend. While we are walking, many times with the moon by our side, even though we never say a word to each other, we are all in total communion.  When we return home, the cats go about their business, the dogs retire to bed and Jasper kisses me goodnight.

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Suzanne Hosang Author and Healer