New walk in aviary has been purpose built in Australia to conduct telemetry tests on small finches

20 May

The new walk in aviary at the home of Russell Kingston in Australia.

A new 20 meter long, 12 meter wide and 8.5 meter high walk in aviary has been built at the home of Rare Finch Conservation Groups founder member and director Russell Kingston OAM in Queensland, Australia . The reason why the aviary was built is to do telemetry tests on small finches in captivity, prior to taking the expertise into the wild to work on some of the threatened finches both in Africa and in Australia.

Erecting the netting to the 8.5 meter high aviary . Note the sidewalls to prevent rodents from entering the aviary

Whilst some initial telemetry work has been done on gouldian finches in Australia  there is currently no expertise in this field in South Africa . Briefs will soon be going out to various telemetry manufactures around the world requesting proposals and costs on how best to work with the equipment on small finches.

The RFCG will be using the Red Faced Crimsonwing finch , which is a near species to the elusive Shelley’s crimsonwing finch , as a weight reference when briefing the equipment suppliers. Russell Kingston will be doing tests related to issues such as weight, range, battery life , plus movement and comfort to the bird in the new purpose built walk in aviary. All aspects will be thouroughly tested before the equipment is eventually used in the field for conservation purposes both in Africa and Australia.

The fact that Russell Kingston’s facility is virtually at sea level, and the threatened Shelley’s Crimsonwing in Africa is found in high altitude rain forest habitats where the climate can get very cold at night, are all factors that will need to be considered during the research period on finches in captivity

For more information on the RFCG please contact editor@avitalk.co.za . The RFCG is registered as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependant on donors and sponsors for its current and future conservation work.

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