I picked up a couple “Society” Finches, also called Bengal Finches, last time I went to the pet store to get a few friends for my then lone Spice Finch, “Star.” The blurb underneath their identification in the pet store said they got along well with other birds, and at the time I was looking for anything to cheer up Star and me, too, so I decided to buy a pair in addition to the three Spice Finches I wound up taking home. I was lucky enough to get male and female Society Finches, since they are monomorphic. I named them Ferdinand and Isabella.
Ferdinand sings and Isabella croaks. Well, she has a rachety kind of vocalization. When pressed, she can utter a breathy whistle, but Ferdinand does most of the whistling too. I can tell them apart physically because Ferdinand has more brown on him than Isabella, she’s got more white on her face. Isabella also turned out to be the more adventurous of the two, always the first to try something new.
When I looked up Society Finches on the Internet I discovered they were an artificially created breed and they had no known wild ancestry. Their lack of wild instincts became apparent the first time I cleaned the cage area. I always put one cage on the dining room table and then move the other two into the hallway so I can clean up the dirty papers underneath the cages and the surrounding area. Instead of following the other birds into the dining room to hang out in the cage on the table or on the curtain rods, these two sat on the floor where the cages had been, unable to let go of their only orientation, which was The Cage. It took several weeks before they adjusted to the routine. But true to their human orientation, they have paid close attention to the routine and they now have it down pat, so much so that they often anticipate my next move.
In the beginning, the other birds ignored them but now they fit in with the rest of the finches, and from time to time they take in a bird of another species. Usually it’s a Spice Finch but I have seen them harboring one of the Zebra Finch males too. But I have never seen anything like the picture below, which I unfortunately had to take with a flash because this occurred in the evening: a Spice Finch is sitting on top of the Society Finches. I have no idea what that is about, except another form of togetherness. It’s possible he wanted to get in between them but they were already comfortable so he got on top of them instead. That would be Isabella on the left and Ferdinand on the right.
Attached is a little sample of Ferdinand’s song. Rodolfo the Zebra Finch comes in, but mainly it is Ferdinand trilling, no doubt inspired by the trills in the Bach.
Recording of Ferdinand with Rodolfo in the Background