I am very happy to join the NFSS Board of Directors as the 3rd Vice President and Finch Save Director. I kept finches briefly in the 1970s, but I had to give them up due to job constraints. Once I retired, in 2005, I was ready for a new hobby. I saw some Zebra finches in a local feed store and I knew that I had found it. Of course, it wasn’t long before I added Lady Gouldian, Stars, Owls, Blue-capped Cordon Bleus and Diamond Doves to the mix.
During a visit to a local Petsmart store, I noticed a poor little finch that was being badly plucked by its Zebra cage mates. The sign said it was a Strawberry finch and it was for sale for $46. It was completely bald, half the back feathers were missing and no tail. I asked the manager if he would discount the bird due to the poor condition. He replied that he was not allowed to discount her, but nothing in the rules said he couldn’t give her to me. That little freebie started my infatuation with the Strawberry finch.
In 2007, the CITES restrictions on African exports were lifted, and the market was flooded with African finches. Species that had been beyond my price range suddenly became available. Eight years later we are facing shortages of many of the African species again. I believe that breeders working together can save many but not all for North America’s aviculture.
I am and always will be an Army brat. I was born in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, then lived in Texas, Germany, Vermont, Kansas and finally Texas again. I started my professional life as a secretary, but then moved on to a 40-year career as a flight attendant. First with Pan American World Airways and later with Delta Air Lines. That career enabled me to live in Miami, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Houston, and finally Dallas/Fort Worth.
I live on 26 acres south of Fort Worth with one dog, three cats, one old Quarter horse and of course my many finches. I am active in the Fort Worth Bird Club (one of the directors), and I work with the other members to put on two annual bird marts and our annual all-bird show. I show and have placed birds on the Top Bench at shows with 120+ entries. I now serve as show secretary, for the Fort Worth Bird Club annual show, as well as annual shows for the Texas Bird Breeders and Fanciers Association at Temple and the Houston Canary and Finch Society. I am also an administrator/moderator for a finch forum that is aimed primarily at new finch owners, helping them learn proper finch husbandry.
Associations such as the National Finch and Softbill Society and local bird clubs are key to the preservation of aviculture in North America, in my opinion. Without organization and networking, we simply become individual breeders/hobbyists with little opportunity for growth.