DVD review by Dr.Gary Fitt, President of the Queensland Finch Society, Australia

19 Jan

DVD Searching for Shelley's finches amongst Africa's Mountain Gorillas

With more than 1,000 members, the world’s largest group of finch enthusiasts , Dr. Gary Fitt who is president of the Queensland finch Society in Australia recently had this to say about the RFCG DVD titled : Searching for Shelley’s finches amongst Africa’s Mountain Gorillas. The review  appeared in the highly respected Australian Birdkeeper magazine .

” Imagine a dense African forest, imagine constant rainfall, imagine the home of the endangered mountain gorilla and you have the home for Shelley’s crimsonwing (Cryptospiza shelleyi). The search for this very rare and endangered African finch is the initial project for the Rare Finch Conservation Group (RFCG) and the subject for this excellent DVD, yet another in the series produced by Eelco Meyjes.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest . South Western Uganda . Home of the elusive Shelley's crimsonwing finch

Unlike his previous DVDs which focus squarely on aviculture in southern Africa, this DVD captures much of the essence of Africa, its environments, its people, townships and forests in telling the story of attempts to learn more about the Shelley’s crimson wing in the Bwindi Inpenetrable Forest of South-west Uganda. The story contrasts the lack of knowledge of the Crimsonwings with the enormous conservation efforts on another of Bwindi’s inhabitants – the highly endangered mountain gorilla. With comments from RFCG members, Simon Epsley and Russell Kingston, and also from expert African birders we learn just how rarely the Shelley’s has been seen and also view the efforts of the RFCG members to develop avicultural knowledge with the crimsonwing group, by focussing on aviary breeding of the closely related, but much more common, red-faced crimsonwing (Cryptospiza reichenovii).

A pair of Red-faced crimsonwings painting by Howard Robinson

But this is not an avicultural DVD, instead it provides a comprehensive view of finch conservation efforts in east Africa and the very real challenges the RFCG faces. We see the field sites where field manager Benson, builds on his already extensive knowledge of birds by using mist nets, and cameras to record what he catches. We see the fantastic array of birds netted and tagged so far, including many of the finches in the area, and also share the frustrations as the search for Shelley’s goes on.

Life along the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in South Western Uganda

This is an excellent production, giving a great glimpse of Africa and many insights into the real challenges on the hunt for a rare finch.  With some outstanding images of birds and gorillas the DVD will be interesting for birdkeepers and should stimulate further support for the activities of the RFCG.”

Should you wish to purchase a copy of this fund raising DVD visit www.rarefinch.co.za or e mail editor@avitalk.co.za

For more information on the Queensland Finch Society in Brisbane Australia visit :  www.qfs.org.au  and for more information on the Australian BirdKeeper magazine visit : www.birdkeeper.com.au






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