BY JANET McAFEE
“Finch” is a loose term to describe one of many small passerine birds, sometimes referred to as “perching birds”. They make an ideal pet for folks seeking a small pet bird. They don’t emit the ear-splitting sounds of parrots, and their sweet “peep” sounds make them a good choice for bird lovers with close neighbors. Their chirping sounds, typically by the males, can be persistent at times, and they spend many hours daily vocally communicating with each other.
These beautiful little creatures are a favorite among bird lovers. While they are very social with each other and should be kept in groups or pairs, they are not a species of birds that bond strongly to humans. They can become tame, but they are best for watching their playful antics rather than handling them.
The Zebra finches are famous for their joyful and boisterous singing. Each bird’s song varies, with the males often sing in order to attract a mate. Because the Zebra finches learn their songs from their surroundings, they are used as model avian organisms to study the neural bases of learning and sensorimotor integration.
Scott Fischer, a Coachella Valley animal lover, became a happy finch guardian by accident. Scott wrote the following story about his blended feather and fur family:
“In the Spring of 2014, I began volunteering at the Loving All Animals office in Palm Desert, a wonderful Coachella Valley rescue organization. One day a gentleman brought in two little finches that he could no longer care for. I recall wondering about how difficult it could have been to care for two little birds, but I don’t know the man’s story. The birds became a fixture in our office. Everyone fell in love with their precious musical twitters.
Time went by, and the rescue group needed to find them a forever home. Several people wanted to adopt them…they were small, fun to watch, and a joy to hear them sing. I was the fortunate one chosen to be their new caregiver.
The little birds moved into my home, and they were a joy for all the critters there. My other pets seemed happy for them to join the family. My cat “Nollie” and my Maltese dog “Amy” were calm and welcoming to the new arrivals. I named the birds, a female pair, Dory and Applejack. I love animals and take pet ownership seriously, but I felt a special responsibility toward these finches that were also loved by Loving All Animals staff and volunteers.
I formed a special attachment to these finches. Their beautiful music and cheerful dispositions represented the way I feel about Loving All Animals and the group’s mission to save homeless domestic animals. We had some adventures when the Houdini pair would sneak out of their cage. I would panic, and then they would soon return to their warm, safe cage.
The years passed, and my little animal family had some tragic times. Dear pup Amy became very ill during the summer of 2017 and passed away. Soon afterwards, my cat Nollie, left us after a wonderful long life. With a life expectancy of 5 to 12 years, finches don’t live as long as many other birds and Dory also left us in 2017. Sadly, Applejack passed away on January 4, 2018. My pain and sense of loss was tremendous after losing 4 animals in such a short time.
But life moves on, and a new adorable black rescue dog at Loving All Animals arrived in need of a forever home. Hutton is as black as night, soft as a cloud, and loving with every fiber of her being. I will always have a place in my heart for my other pets, including Dory and Applejack who happily merged with my pack. Amazingly, Hutton came to me when I needed her most, a wonderful canine companion and symbol of unconditional love. I feel privileged to have had all these special fur and feather creatures in my life.