A number of topical issues affecting the success of finch breeding in New Zealand are discussed at our meetings and other venues. This page summarises a couple of those issues with a view to increasing people's awareness of them. The Association is keen to encourage good practices that enable enjoyment of the hobby, and that help to achieve our objective of sustaining finch populations in New Zealand.
Most finch species breed in the spring, although their breeding season continues over many months. In New Zealand, 'Guy Fawkes' night is held on 5 November, but depending on weather conditions and the availability of fireworks, the practice of letting off fireworks continues over several weeks. Fireworks are used to celebrate the Chinese New Year in February, in addition to New Year's Eve at midnight on 1 January. Fireworks are also used at regional promotional events like concerts, rugby games, and speedway. Unfortunately, the use of fireworks causes considerable distress to a variety of pets. While cat and dog owners can move their pets inside, this is not usually possible for aviary kept birds. The flashes of light and loud explosions can cause birds to fly from their perches in fright, crashing into the aviary wire and causing injury and death. Nests can be abandoned by parents, leaving their eggs to go cold, or their chicks to die of cold. The on-going survival of some finch species in New Zealand is threatened as a result of firework activities. Other than further controls on the use of fireworks in inappropriate locations (eg, suburbs), it would be good if people letting off fireworks were more aware of the impacts of their use. Fireworks should not be let off near bird aviaries. Perhaps a local park is a better place to enjoy fireworks, rather than in your backyard next to a neighbour's aviaries.
New Zealand has strict controls on the importation of animal and plant species. The intent is to minimise the biosecurity risks associated with the movement of goods and materials across the border, as it may affect New Zealand's industries and biodiversity. Bird importations have been generally prohibited since 1997, and obtaining approval to bring particular species into the country is difficult to achieve. Unfortunately, the universal approach restricting imports has meant that new finch bloodlines have not been able to be established. Sustaining the populations of some finch species in various collections have been difficult to achieve. This is despite the fact that the biosecurity risk associated with finch imports are considered to be very low. The NZFBA would welcome further work by statutory authorities in New Zealand to enable authorised importations of finch populations, to supplement the populations already in captivity, and to enhance the conservation efforts for these captive species.