The Burke’s Backyard aviaries, built last year were landscaped and irrigated to maintain an environment for breeding finches. Rare and endangered finches were released including two pairs of Red-eared Firetail finches. The finches have bred and there are seven baby finches in the aviaries with more babies in the nests.
As Australian cities develop and spread, less land is available as habitat for native species. While high profile animals such as koalas get media coverage, many of the smaller birds and less cuddly animals are quietly being forced into extinction. In Perth there have been some major developments in the preservation of bird species through advanced captive breeding. Selected aviculturalists have been allowed to breed threatened species in captivity. Some, like the Red-eared Firetail could become extinct if not for the success of these programs.
With permission from the Western Australia’s Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) specialist birdkeepers such as Jon Middleton, have been allowed to trap species including the Redeared Firetails and Southern Emu Wrens for captive breeding programs.
Despite their life in the wild, the birds have bred and thrived under aviary conditions. They do, however, require highly specialised structures, plantings and diets to maintain the level of successful breeding.
Australian Birdkeeper magazine is a good source of native bird information and includes contact lists for avicultural organisations.