The following are a few of the projects on my agenda, as time permits:

Adding new images to the site in general.

Building the gallery with links to our images, sound files, video clips.

Adding new wallpapers to the gallery.

Posting some free finch web graphics that can be downloaded and used for free on your own website.

Adding a gift shop offering items such as calendars, mugs, coasters, or the like.



What's New

Not sure how to trim your finch's nails? It is really very simple, but it can be intimidating if you have never done it before. Sometimes it helps to see someone else do it first. I have now posted a video on the Nail Clipping page illustrating an Orange-Cheeked Waxbill getting his nails trimmed. Be sure to check it out.

João Boto of Portugal has gratiously sent me a copy of his original article Keeping and Breeding Firefinches in Portugal (PDF). It is an excellent read. Please take the time to read this piece and learn a bit about this lovely African finch species. If you have questions or comments for the author, feel free to send them to me and I will forward them on.

The fecal smear article has been updated with pictures of threadworm eggs in a sample taken from a red-tailed hawk.

Attention NFSS Members: Robert Mehl has decided to run for NFSS Treasurer in the upcoming election. Information about his candidacy can be found on the home page until the election is over.

A Show Gallery Page has been added for the 2005 Wisconsin Cage Bird Club Show with NFSS Finch and Softbill Division sponsored by the Central Wisconsin Cage and Wild Bird Connection.

Check out my photos from the 2005 Illini Bird Fanciers Show in Springfield, Illini. There were 115 Finches/Softbills entered!

I've posted a new original article: The Novice's Guide to Showing Finches. Everything a novice needs to get started showing finches, including how to find a show, how to prepare, how to fill out the paperwork, what happens at the show, what to bring to the show, and how the birds are judged.

The How to Do Your Own Fecal Smears article has been updated. Changes include photos of Avian Gastric Yeast (Megabacteria), which I detected in one of the birds when I was screening for the protozoa, and a very low grade video of the protozoa. Note that the vet has examined a sample of my birds and no evidence of the protozoa was found. However, I am treating for Megabacteria, and when that is finished, I will screen all the birds again. If they come up clean, they will be returned to the aviary. Hopefully, this will be accomplished in a week.

Protozoa have been detected in a couple of birds. I believe one of my more recent additions must be a carrier for the bug, as the only birds that appear to be affected are long-time residents of the aviary and therefore could not have introduced it. All the birds have been removed into cages for treatment and the aviary will be disinfected within the week. During this time, there will be nothing to see via the AviCam. I hope to be able to return the birds after treatment, but it is all dependent on how effective the treatment is. While this development has been devastating, I am taking the opportunity to learn as much as I can from it. More information on this problem will be posted shortly.

I've written a new article: How To Do Your Own Fecal Smears. Now you can add this tool to your arsenal as a means of detecting problems early.

2/8/2005 - 2005 Update
A lot of things have happened over the last year.

First, sadly, we had to say goodbye to a few of our residents. Unfortunately, as the aviary grows older, we must prepare for the passing of some birds. Last year we said goodbye to our remaining masked grassfinch, our pair of button quail, and our canary. Our original birds have now been in our care for five years, and many were not young birds when we acquired them. Therefore, the aviary is getting older and age is beginning to take a toll on a few of the birds. But we will continue to provide them with a loving home, good care, and lots of flight space for as long as we have the honor of their company.

In addition to the losses listed above, our new Gouldian finches developed an ailment approximately nine days after we acquired them. The ailment began with a swollen eye and progressed to respiratory problems and fluffiness very quickly. Despite prompt and extensive treatment from our avian veterinarian that included eye ointments, antibiotics, hospitalization at the vet, and nebulization, the male Gouldian finch passed away. The female's future looked grim, but to everyone's surprise, including the vet's, she made a remarkable and sudden recovery. She remains in quarantine, just in case her illness is chronic. However, it has been nine months and the symptoms have not returned. If she continues to be fine for a year, I will consider trying to find her a mate, as I hate to think of her living her life alone in a cage. While this was a very trying and depressing experience, we are very glad we follow a strict quarantine procedure. Because the illness occured during quarantine, none of our other birds were exposed. Please, please, please, always remember to quarantine new birds.

On a happier note, we do have some new additions to the aviary. In October, I was fortunate enough to be allowed to adopt a Strawberry Finch and a Goldbreasted Waxbill from my local bird club. The Goldbreast is missing some feathers around the neck, but I am hoping that with the proper diet, full spectrum lighting, and a fresh molt, he will recover the missing feathers. If not, he would not be the first plucked bird to find a home in my aviary. The strawberry finch has fit right in with the other strawberries. I will be looking for a mate for the goldbreast sometime this year. I also purchased an American Singer canary. I found the aviary was not quite the same without a canary in the collection, so I was compelled to find myself a new one. He is very happy and sings up a storm.

During the second half of 2004, I haven't had time to provide any significant updates to the site. This is because I had a lot going on - much of it related to birds. First, I became involved with the Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club. I took over as webmaster for their website, and spent a lot of time redesigning it from the ground up. The new format is up and running, so while it will be my responsibility to keep it up-to-date, I will have a lot of time back for working on Please feel welcome to visit the GCCBC website here.


My male society finch took 3rd in Show at GLAS, as well as Best Novice, not bad for my first show ever.

Secondly, I became involved in showing birds. I attended three shows: The Great Lakes Avicultural Society show in Grand Rapids, MI; the Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club Annual Show in Arlington Heights, IL; and the National Institute of Red Orange Canaries show (they also have a finch division), also in Arlington Heights. I am happy to report that I benched three birds at GLAS (my male society finch took 3rd), and one bird at GCCBC and NIROC (one of my male strawberry finches took 2nd at GCCBC). I was fortunate enough to have been mentored by Darla Dandre, and soon I will be posting an article on showing finches for novices.

Now for 2005! EXCITING NEWS!

I have decided to build a bird room in my basement. We have walled off a section of our basement (18 ft by 12 ft). Along one wall I will build 4 walk-in aviaries 4 ft x 6 ft x ceiling height. Along the other I will either have breeding cages or tall and long but shallow flights. I will be trying my hand at breeding waxbills. I chose waxbills because I love their size, colors, song, behavior, and demeanor, but also because they can be a challenge. I love a good challenge, and if they are not very prolific, I am okay with that - less work for me finding suitable homes. They can also be housed and bred in a mixed aviary consisting of other waxbills. Since I prefer keeping birds in aviaries and large flights over breeding cages, this seemed to be a perfect fit. I will not be breeding for numbers and profit, but rather for show quality. It is my goal to breed selectively for color, conformation, and demeanor, as well as for parenting skills and vitality. That is the goal, at least. Time will tell how successful I become. While it is not my goal to produce large numbers of birds for sale, if I am successful, I will probably have birds for sale from time to time.

Experience breeding birds will allow me to make this site even more informative than it is now. I will be adding a subdomain to cover my bird room and breeding efforts. This site will remain in the existing format, focusing on keeping finches as pets in a non-breeding indoor aviary setting. Our aviary will continue to house Australian grassfinches as well as waxbills. But you will be free to visit the bird room subdomain for more advanced topics and issues, most likely specific to keeping and breeding waxbills. The subdomain will go up when my bird room is ready, sometime later in 2005. Keep checking in - I will be sure to let you know when it is up and running.

So, that about covers it for now. I will be updating the site shortly with new articles, pictures, and up-to-date information.

Well, it's finally done. The Construction section along with all other remaining pages have been converted to the new format! Now I can concentrate on new content!

The new Lady Gouldian Finches have finally arrived! The are currently in quarantine, but you can check out the first pictures

The Accessories section and the Links section (including the Finch Article Library) have been converted to the new format. The article links in the Finch Article Library have been updated, with broken links removed, changed links corrected to point to the new address, and links to sites in the process of reorganizing left alone until reorganization is complete.

The Care section has been converted to the new format.

I've configured a script (Perlfect Search) to handle site searches. The Search page is no longer powered by PicoSearch. While PicoSearch provided me with a full featured search engine, it started advertising on the search results page. It is my goal to keep this site clean of for-profit advertisements. I've known about these ads for quite some time, but did not have the time to research alternatives. Since I've had to tap back into my CGI knowledge in order to reconfigure my scripts on the new server, I took this opportunity to replace the search engine as well. Please let me know if you experience any problems with the Search functionality. The Search page has been updated to the new format at the same time.

We've moved the site to a new server. Hopefully, this move will be mostly transparent. However, there might be a couple day period where the site toggles back and forth between the two servers while the DNS entries are updated across the Internet. In the process, I've had to configure a new guestbook script. I took this opportunity to convert the Guestbook to the new format. All previous entries should be retained. If you experience difficulties with the Guestbook, please let me know.

The Background section has been updated with the latest pictures of us and all pages have been converted to the new format.

The Birds section has been updated with the latest pictures and all pages have been converted to the new format.

I've added a strawberry finch wallpaper to the Gallery. I'm not crazy about this one, but its the best I've been able to do so far.

We've changed the settings of the network camera so that it can be more easily viewed from behind a firewall. If you have been unable to view the AviCam in the past, try back now!

I've added another Zebra Finch wallpaper to the Gallery.

Well, it looks like the new webcam is going to be slower than the old cam. Sorry about this. Unfortunately, the TeVeo site no longer exists and so the TeVeo software kept trying to connect to the TeVeo home page and we had to find something new. However, since 320x240 was slow, I've changed the settings to 640x480. Interestingly, this is not too much slower but it produces a much better picture. One of my dialup users has commented that at least if it is going to be slow, we might as well get a better picture. So, at least for a while, I will be broadcasting at 640x480. Feel free to send us your comments.

I've posted an original article in the Birds section entitled How to Photograph Birds in an Acrylic Aviary. You will find some suggestions for getting good shots of your feathered friends without stressing them out too much. I also offer advice on what to look for in a camera that will be used for this purpose.

The NEW NETWORK CAMERA is up and running in our aviary! Visit the AviCam and check it out. Note that the camera manufacturer, Axis Communications, may prompt to install a plug in before it will run. I am not sure if this will happen, so I will have to check it out on someone else's PC. Just a heads up. Please feel free to contact us regarding your opinion of the feed (eg, quality needs to be better, speed needs to be better, picture needs to be larger, etc). One factor affects the others, so it is a careful balance I am trying to work out.

I've finally got an initial version of the image gallery up. You can now browse some of the images of the birds by clicking on thumbnails.

Two new wallpapers have been added to the gallery, featuring the Masked Grassfinch and the Society Finch..

The Add-a-Link page has been redesigned. All the spam links have been removed. You now must e-mail me with your links to get them added. If any of your links were removed by mistake, please resubmit them and I will be sure to reinstate them.

I've introduced two new wallpapers to the gallery. We now have desktop wallpaper for the zebra finch, owl finch, and blue-capped cordon bleu.

We've designed a new look for The home page has been converted. We will gradually be converting all the pages to the new format.