Archive | The RFCG: Who we are and what we do RSS feed for this section

Making good progress with Orange-breasted Waxbill’s African craftwork

16 Feb


A good example of one of the early Orange-breasted Waxbill's made from beads and wire. This particular work was made by Sophie. Photo Eelco Meyjes

A good example of one of the early Orange-breasted Waxbill’s made from beads and wire. This particular work was made by Sophie. Photo Eelco Meyjes

As mentioned previously The Rare Finch Conservation Group recently briefed three informal bead craft artists in the Johannesburg area ( Vincent, Lucky and Sophie ) to see if they could possibly make the little Orange-breasted Waxbill from beads and wire. These little craft birds with time could be used as a valuable way to help raise funds and public awareness for the species which now needs conservation help.

An Orange-breasted Waxbill cockbird.Photo Chris Krog

An Orange-breasted Waxbill cockbird.Photo Chris Krog

The project is still very much in its infancy. And based on general interest and demand the RFCG would be willing to help guide and develop the concept , to a level where it can one day perhaps create a small living for these informal sector artists PLUS at the same time generate some  much needed fundraising revenue and  public awareness for this tiny little gem of African finches 

The Orange-breasted Waxbill, with its exquisite orange, yellow, red, olive plus black and tiny bits of white in the hen bird is arguably the smallest finch in the world. And its colour now lends itself to a multitude of creative craft opportunities eg table place mats, necklaces, key rings, wrist straps etc.to help raise the public awareness for a very worthy cause.

More about the Rare Finch Conservation Groups fundraising initiatives will be announced in the next couple of days

 The Rare Finch
Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependent on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za


????????????????rfcg-logo

SEE – CONSERVE – ENJOY

Can African crafts help save AFRICA’S SMALLEST FINCH ?

5 Feb


Vincent with the world's first Orange-breasted Waxbill made from beads

Vincent with the world’s first Orange-breasted Waxbill made from beads and wire Photo Eelco Meyjes

The Rare Finch Conservation Group recently briefed three informal bead craft artists ( Vincent, Lucky and Sophie ) to see if they could possibly make, using only beads and wire, the little Orange-breasted Waxbill which now needs conservation help. If their work is a success then maybe it can be sold  both locally and internationally to help raise much needed funds to SAVE AFRICA’S SMALLEST FINCH.

Lucky with world's second Orange-breasted Waxbill made from beads. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Lucky with the world’s second Orange-breasted Waxbill made from beads. Photo Eelco Meyjes

The project is still very much in its infancy. And based on general interest and demand the RFCG would be willing to help guide and develop the concept , to a level where it can one day perhaps create a small living for these informal sector artists PLUS at the same time generate some  much needed fundraising revenue and  public awareness for this tiny little gem of African finches 

The Orange-breasted Waxbill, with its exquisite orange, yellow, red, olive plus black and tiny bits of white in the hen bird is arguably the smallest finch in the world. And its colour now lends itself to a multitude of creative craft opportunities eg table place mats, necklaces, key rings, wrist straps etc.to help raise the public awareness for a very worthy cause.

Sophie with the world's third Orange-breasted Waxbill made from beads. Sophie has been asked to make some table mats, necklaces and key rings as part of a pilot project. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Sophie with the world’s third Orange-breasted Waxbill made from beads. Sophie has been asked to make some table mats, necklaces and key rings as part of a pilot project. Photo Eelco Meyjes

More about the Rare Finch Conservation Groups fundraising initiatives will be announced in the next couple of weeks.

Can African crafts help SAVE AFRICA’S SMALLEST FINCH ? only you can tell us.We sincerely hope that our followers and supporters will embrace this important new finch conservation project

The Rare Finch
Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependent on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za


????????????????rfcg-logo

SEE – CONSERVE – ENJOY

Orange-breasted waxbill decline in South Africa has become a major concern

27 Nov
Orange-breasted waxbill cockbird. Photo Q.P.J

Orange-breasted waxbill cockbird. Photo Q.P.J

BirdLife South Africa has informed the Rare Finch Conservation Group that recent unexpected declines in the Orange-breasted waxbill ( Amandava subflava ) has become a major concern.  The species, which is one of the smallest waxbills in the country, is a wetland and moist grassland species and it has become extremely scarce in certain parts of its natural habitat. It is suspected that the decrease in numbers may have been as a result of overgrazing and possibly incorrect burning practices in many parts of the country. But the truth is, at this stage, no one really knows and a lot more research is required.

Example of the Orange-breasted waxbill's natural habitat. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Example of the Orange-breasted waxbill’s natural habitat. Photo Eelco Meyjes

The next question you may ask is how does BirdLife South Africa know about this decline ?  It’s very simple. They have no less than 8000 members and  more than 1000 of their members partake in one of the biggest citizen science undertakings in the country, namely the  South African Bird Atlas Project 2 (SABAP 2). In essence many birders have evolved their wonderful hobby from not only looking at birds and sometimes photographing them, but they now also actively contribute to nature conservation by partaking in atlassing work. And some have even progressed to become  qualified ringers ( or bird banders as they are sometimes called in some countries ). The concept of SABAP 1 was launched way back in 1987 and it ran until 1991. It was a way to gather mass documentation on bird distribution in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and later it also included Namibia. Now with SABAP 2, which was launched in 2007 and is ongoing, using the aid of modern technology eg. mobiles, internet, gps etc. atlassing has become a lot easier and fun to do for birders. And most importantly the data base has grown substantially and is very current and reliable.

The project is managed by the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town, and forms part of a very successful partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute ( SANBI ) and BirdLife South Africa.

For more information on SABAP 2 visit sabap2.adu.org.za/

 The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependent on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za

rfcg-logo

SEE – CONSERVE – ENJOY

Modern radio-tracking helps finch conservation work in Australia

14 Oct
A black-throated finch with a radio tag. Photo Juliana Rechetelo

A black-throated finch with a radio tag. Photo Luiz Mestre

The map on the right indicates the birds range taken over a 21 day period

The map on the right indicates the birds range taken over a 21 day period.Home ranges can be estimated in different ways; the method Juliana Rechetelo used is called kernel, so the blue area is where you have 95% of points, which she assumes, is 95% of chances of ‘finding the bird’ … the yellow is the core area, 50% of data is there.

Juliana Rechetelo, who was originally from Brazil and today does research work on the Black-throated finch in Australia kindly shared the following story with the Rare Finch Conservation Group :

The black-throated finch is a grass-seed-eater endemic to eastern Australia and the range of the southern subspecies, Poephila cincta cincta, has contracted 80% since the 1970s. It is listed as endangered under Federal and States legislation. Much of its habitat has been damaged and destruction is continuing. We need to know about its biology and ecology to assist with further conservation and management actions. My PhD project focused on understanding the ecological needs of this species.

My study area is close to Townsville, north-east Queensland, Australia, where an important remaining population of the southern subspecies exists. I investigated movement patterns, home range, daily movements, habitat use, habitat selection, and foraging and nesting sites. I have monitored birds and sites for almost 3 years, visiting areas known to support BTF to observe/monitor flocks and locate foraging, drinking and nesting locations and undertake vegetation surveys. I captured birds with mist nets, colour banded them and fitted radio-tracking devices to some.

Radio-tracking black throated finch was a demanding job but it has provided unique and valuable information about this group of birds. Whilst radio tracking BTFs I was able to follow an individual or whole flock and I could learn not only details about their movements and home range, but also about behaviour and daily routine. Banding and radio-tracking studies showed that BTFs moved further than previously thought and field observations showed they use different parts of the landscape for different activities (feeding, nesting, roosting or resting). Conservation management of areas should consider their movement patterns and the different parts of the landscape they are using for different activities. Conservation of BTF will require the collaboration of landholders to provide healthy habitat. This outcome depends on research and practical contributions from landholders. Research aligned with community effort is the perfect alliance to help this species.

Juliana Rechetelo

Juliana Rechetelo

Juliana Rechetelo is a PhD candidate at James Cook University and CSIRO, Townsville. Her current research focuses on the ecology of granivorous birds with particular attention to the Black-throated finch. She is researching aspects of land use affects on the distribution of granivorous birds, the way in which the birds use landscapes, movement patterns in relation to resource distribution and aspects of their feeding ecology. Juliana is the recipient of the Stuart Leslie Bird Research Award from BirdLife Australia.

The RFCG would sincerely like to thank Juliana for sharing her special learning’s with us . Originally coming from Brazil we would also like to congratulate her for tackling such a brave project in a foreign language and country.

The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependent on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za

rfcg-logo

SEE – CONSERVE – ENJOY

Plum-headed finches caught mating by Peter Merritt

12 Sep
Mating Plumheads 1Photographed in the Cairns area in the far northern part of Queensland, Australia.  Peter said the mating act lasted ” about 3 to 4 seconds ” Photo: Peter Merritt.

Using a Canon Mark 1V Peter Merritt captured more tan 30 frames during the 4 seconds of photography

Using a Canon Mark IV he captured more than 30 frames during the 3 to4 seconds of photography. Photo : Peter Merritt

The above photographs could perhaps be a world first ! Plum-headed finches ( Aidemosyne modesta ) are found in Eastern Australia in open woodland and tall savanna grassland areas, often near water or swamps. They are highly sociable birds and can quite often be seen with Double-barred finches during the non-breeding season. The species is normally very nomadic over a wide area in both the breeding and non breeding seasons.  They will lay, on average, 4 to 6 small white eggs and both sexes will be involved with the incubation, which takes about 12 days. Chicks fledge at about 21 days and are normally weaned roughly at 18 days

Peter Merritt is currently on a photo safari in the Kruger National Park. South Africa. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Peter Merritt is currently on a photo safari in the Kruger National Park. South Africa. Photo Eelco Meyjes

The Rare Finch Conservation Group would publicly like to thank Peter Merritt from New South Wales, Australia for kindly donating his brilliant photographs to the RFCG. Peter has done this in the interest to help advance public awareness and the beauty of finches on an international basis. Peter is semi retired and works for 8 months of the year on a heavy road grader machine, on a cattle station in Northern Australia, to support his wonderful hobby of wildlife photography.

The road grader that Peter works on to support his hobby of wildlife photography.

The road grader that Peter works on to support his hobby of wildlife photography.

The cattle station that Peter works on has no less than 30,000 head of cattle. The station is 125 km long.The multi trailered road trains used can transport up to 120 head of cattle at a time ( see example in right hand photo ). Peter said he often works with his camera’s on standby , in his grader cab, just in case there is something very special for him to photograph. He uses Canon Mark IV cameras. Today Peter is currently spending the next 3 weeks in the Kruger National Park, South Africa doing what he enjoys most – photographing wildlife. For more info on Peter Merrit visit : http://www.merrittimages.com. We certainly look forward to seeing the results of his outstanding photographic work in the next couple of weeks.

The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependant on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za

rfcg-logo

SEE – CONSERVE – ENJOY

%d bloggers like this: