Friday the 13th is notorious for those who believe in bad luck, but do we ever consider the bad luck to animals in the same way?

On Friday 13th April, we went to a local bird farm to pick up some more dust free wood chippings to line the bottom of our finch cages, and we popped into the sale section to see the variety of birds. We were pleased to see the store had a wider range of finches than before, including St. Helens finches, but there was one finch that caught our eye.

At the bottom of the cage, sat on a gridded bottom was a small, young, female Zebra finch. She appeared to have no tail. We watched her as she struggled to move and fly, and it seemed she couldn’t get to the food and water bowls hanging higher up on the side of the cage.

Now, in the past on many occasions, we have seen injured and/or impaired finches, and have wanted to save them from their unfair circumstances, take them home and give them a tailored life to meet their needs, but we haven’t had the ability, for one reason or another, to do so. And every time we have to walk away, we end up feeling sad and worried for that bird we left behind.  

But not this time.
Celestine Day 1
This little finch was young, as others in the cage still had the black patches on their beaks, and we were told they were all about the same age.
We bought the Zebra finch and took her home. With the cage set up we let her out and the reality dawned on us.
This little Zebra finch did have a tail once, but it had been plucked out, and she had several quills bleeding - so much so there was blood all over the box we rushed her home in. The little finch must have bled a lot, as her wings were caked in blood, and the ends stuck so tightly together that she couldn’t stretch them to fly!

We ended up having to pull out the bleeding quills as we couldn’t get the bleeding to stop, even with blood stop sticks, and we used a damp cloth to gently clean her wings. Though it didn’t clear up all the blood, it softened it enough for her to free her wings and clean herself. At this check up we also realised that she is missing her back toe on her left foot. It looks to have been cut off at some point, possibly from the grid on the bottom of the cage she was in.

It is now day 5 and our little Zebra finch is doing great. She is active and friendly, enjoys music and loves the millet, egg food and cucumber we give her.
So far however, it seems she does not understand that you can get water from the water bottles, as she keeps drinking from the moist cucumber slices, and she struggles to de-husk finch seed (again making us think she is very young and not fully weaned), but she is getting there.
We have put all her food in shallow bowls on the bottom of the cage, as she was also struggling with hanging feeders, even with her wings freed up.

We are very happy to have saved this particular finch. It seems the little Zebra finch may be a female Fawn Penguin Zebra finch, which so far we have never seen, and we have decided to call her Celestine.

While Friday the 13th is believed to bring bad luck to some, and the day hadn’t started off nice for this little finch, it seems our arrival gave her hope, as she now lives a better life.