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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

Zebra Finch

Zebra Finch (Image ID 43331)
Photographed byMichael Hamel-Green on Fri 6th Nov, 2020 and uploaded on Mon 9th Nov, 2020 .
Resolution1400x940
Viewed59
ID43331
CommentI had only seen Zebra Finches once before. That was a year ago at Melbourne Zoo. I viewed them through a glass darkly. The plate glass pane into a small caged space was grimy and smudgy from a procession of children clutching ice cream cones and pressing their noses and hands against the glass. The Zebra Finches were sharing their prison with a pair of rare Orange Bellied Parrots but it was the Zebras who caught my eye and stayed in my mind. It was unutterably sad to see such strikingly beautiful and lively creatures condemned to repeatedly flying to and fro within the walls of their cage when their whole instinct is to range freely across grasslands and open woodlands. Zoos do, of course, carry out vital work in preserving endangered species but at the same time they continue their practice of forcing wildlife to endure lifelong torture in small cages, all for the sake of us human gawkers. Since then I had been hoping to see Zebra Finches in their natural habitat, and heard they were sometimes to be seen at the beautiful Newport Lakes Park in Melbourne, created only 25 years ago out of an abandoned bluestone quarry. On my previous visits there, the finches were nowhere to be seen. But now, returning again, I saw them at last, this time not through a glass darkly, or only in part, but through a lens clearly, face to face. I could see and be lifted by their extraordinary energy and vivacity as they foraged amongst leaf litter or danced from perch to perch, chattering amongst themselves. Birds happy to be in their own natural habitat rather than subjected to the caged nightmares that zoos and breeders inflict on them. This is a portrait of one of the Zebra Finches I came across, an inquisitive male with his distinctive chestnut cheek, zebra stripes across throat and breast, and white spots on his flanks, all calculated to attract the female of the species. Male Zebra finches are apparently the ones who tutor their offspring in learning songs and vocalizations (Grainne Cleary, “Your Backyard Birds”). At Newport Lakes Park, so secluded that you would not know you were in the centre of a big city, these Zebra finches do, at least, have something to sing about.
EquipmentNikon Z7 with Nikon 300mm PF f/4 telephoto
ISO 1000
1/8000th f4
LocationNewport Lakes, Newport, Victoria
Keywordsmale, adult
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