strawberries in my aviary are most noted for their beautiful
song. It never fails to bring a smile to my face, and whenever
I hear it, I have to stop and listen. I have captured a short
audio clip of the strawberry song. This sound file was captured
with my camcorder, uploaded and cropped via Pinnacle Studio
DV, converted to WAV file via Virtual Dub, then the properties
were modified via Sound Recorder to keep the file size small.
In an effort to keep the file size small, quality is sacrificed
(and let's face it, my camcorder isn't the best microphone in
town either), so the clip doesn't do the birds justice. But
it should give you the general idea: Strawberry
Song (323 KB).
strawberries are the only waxbills I have in my aviary. They
are noticeably smaller than the other birds in the aviary, with
a shiny, wax-like, red beak. The males come into color during
the summer, then lose their bright feathers again in the winter.
started out with only one pair (the unnamed pair). When first
introduced into the aviary, the male would not leave the floor.
He sat nervously between the food and water containers most
of the time. I was very concerned about him. The female was
not so nervous and would beckon to him from the branches, but
he was either unable or unwilling to follow.
a few days, the male finally took flight, and when he did -
boy did he ever. He always prefers the highest perch, where
sometimes he will sit proud and sing his beautiful song. But
he must have liked something about the bottom of the aviary,
because to this day, this pair of strawberries still spend a
lot of time sitting together on the bottom, watching the other
birds eat and drink.
time in the late summer of 1999, I saw a female strawberry finch
at the local Petsmart. She was the only waxbill in a display
overcrowded with Australian finches. I always feel sorry for
pet shop birds, as the conditions are usually overcrowded and
the diet is not very complete. I felt especially sorry for her,
being the only one of her kind and unlikely to be purchased
because she was so much higher priced than the other finches.
But I do not like to buy from a pet store and support their
practices. Plus, there is a higher risk of illness and general
poor health due to inproper living conditions. So I did what
I always do and walked away.
every time in the store, I always had to come look at the birds.
Every time I came, she was still there - and always the only
waxbill in the lot. My husband must have gotten tired of hearing
me talk about her, because six months later (yes, she was still
there and still alone), he bought her for me for Valentine's
day. It is generally a bad practice to buy a bird that's been
at the store that long, because it is likely to be in very poor
health. But somehow, in spite of her conditions, she seemed
to be thriving. I figured a bird that could handle that so well
must be a darned hearty bird. And so she came home with us and
got her name (Valentine).
didn't want to add her to the aviary after her quarantine because
I was afraid she might create problems between the existing
strawberries who were very closely bonded. So instead, we found
her a male from a breeder and named the male Cupid. Cupid wasn't
a perfect bird. His head is a little unshapely - kind of flat
at the top, but since I am neither a breeder nor a show-er,
I did not mind. And Valentine took to him right away.
first year that we had Cupid he did not come into color. I had
heard that strawberries in captivity sometimes did not and so
had given up on him ever donning the bright red feathers that
mark the mating season. However, the next year, he surprised
me - three months after my other male came into color, Cupid
started his molt and low-and-behold - a beautiful coat of red
and Valentine lived in the large flight with our female societies.
The new aviary is the first time that they will be in contact
with the other strawberry pair. Two pairs of strawberries together
may be a problem, so we might have to add a third pair to keep
things calm (two pairs frequently become rivals, but three or
more makes a flock).
had two problems with the strawberries. The first is with their
nails. Their nails grow faster than weeds. This is supposed
to be a common problem among strawberries and some other waxbills.
The second is the morning wake-up call. Cupid goes through stages
where he wakes up before sun-up and emits piercing whistles
that wake up the entire house. To ensure they didn't wake up
my son, as soon as they would start, I would race downstairs
and turn on all of the lights. For some reason, if the room
was well-lit - everything would settle down again. When he went
through the molt, this behavior stopped and hasn't started up
again so far. However, I don't recommend keeping strawberries
in your bedroom unless you are an early riser.
after recording the song clip found above, my original male
strawberry passed away. The female, Lady, began calling for
him after he passed. I had never heard my female strawberries
make any such sound before. I recorded a clip that can be found
Previous to return to the Lady Gouldian Finch's page. Click
Next to advance to the Canary's page.