EDWISE  - EDITOR AND EDUCATION CONSULTANT
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Eye of the Optimist-Nest Building Instinct

For my pet Gouldian finches, it's Spring! They are in the mood. 

Cocks of this species usually sing and even dance most days, for any body and any time. They even sing to their reflections, when they are not poking at them. They sing to the humans of the household. My two little guys routinely sing and do the dance for each other first thing in the morning before breakfast. They break into song, particularly when they are happy, at any time all year round. 

It is a beautiful song and one of the main reasons why people want the cocks of this species as pets more so than hens. With a tendency of Gouldians to give birth to way more males than hens (generally 80% boys born),  anyway, plus the greater attraction of the cocks, and the inclination for breeders to keep what females they have for further breeding, few hens can be found in pet stores. 

Very few Gouldians can be found in the area where I live, period. I know of two stores where you can find them, sometimes, and the ones they get in one of these stores are usually in bad shape.

That is why my first little friend, Abelard, a black-headed Gouldian cock, ended up with same-sex buddy rather than a girlfriend last year. Abelard was calling out for his flock every day. I had to find him some kind of companion. They have gotten along well in the past 12 months since the second one joined us. Abelard has remained the more physically dominant than his buddy, the beautiful and sweet red headed Cerano. Cerano has become healthier and learned to stand up to his "big brother" figure. He can give a good peck at Abelard when he wants, and he has his own mind. 

Males are generally competitive and you can expect them to fight a bit, particularly over the best roosting spot. Indeed, these two guys usually squawk and peck each other over their chosen spot to roost for the night every evening. They occasionally get jealous when the human talks just to one guy, and they generally want to have whatever the other has. For instance, they'll rub elbows and peck each other trying to get into the same feeding box even though there are two feeders with exactly the same kind of food. This tension is all in a typical day in the life of Gouldian boys.

You can imagine what a scene might develop if I were to introduce one female to these guys. You've got it. There might be blood, even murder. Separating them so one could have the girl might not be healthy for the other, either, I figure. That is why I turned one prospect down when I locked eyes with a cute hen at the pet store. Besides the fact that she had a serious mite infection which had given her a "scaly face", I thought it wouldn't work out at a home with two competing guys. I left her to her fate there. I hope she is okay and in a good home now. That is the only single female I have seen in the two stores I know of where finches of any sort are found. I came close to taking home a single cock of a different species of finch to help smooth out the competition between Cerano and Abelard, but I did not in the end. 

Cerano is apparently aptly named. He is so lyrical and seductive when he sings, he even mesmerizes Abelard. Abelard learned he shouldn't pounce on Cerano in the early stage of their friendship. Cerano is persistent and likes to approach Abelard and serenade him. Ab is charmed, nearly every time. Up until this week, he was giving Cerano a good pecking for teasing him so. Lately, though, he tries to mount Cerano, who kind of screams and tries to get away. 

Today, Abelard must have pounced on Cerano about 20 times while in my presence, and I was out for around five hours today. Abelard had found a little cubby hole and I guess he figured it would be a good place to nest and start a family. Being in there seemed to stimulate him, and he would jump Cerano after luring him into the little space. I had to block this hole. Abelard keeps trying to pull out the materials I used to stuff up the hole, but is still pouncing on Cerano. 

Around suppertime, just before roosting time, Abelard attacked Cerano by mounting him then fiercely pulled at his head and neck. Now I have to separate them. I have discovered why I have been finding loose little feathers around their room. It cannot go on like this. I will lock one up while he's feeding and let the other fly, then lock up the second when he feeds and let the other loose to fly for awhile, etc., etc.

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