From Darwin Street Art Festival 2017

The Gouldian Finch

Artists: James Beattie (Dvate) and Jesse Bell

As you stand dwarfed by these gouldian finches, imagine being surrounded by a flock of tiny glowing balls of colour.

100 years ago these small birds were common, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. But there are now fewer than 2,500 left in the wild. Every gouldian finch in the wild could be packed into a space the size of an average laundry sink.

These finches are threatened by changing fire practices (which reduce food availability) and tens of thousands of birds were trapped for the aviary trade up until 1981.

“I found it interesting that these finches highly threatened in the wild, but a popular animal to breed in captivity, so they get overlooked in a lot of ways because people assume they’re everywhere, but in actual fact they’re struggling. One of the main places they are found is just South of Darwin. If you’re invited here to paint you should be giving a gift back to the city with your work, so you want it to have a sense of place and feel like it should be there”, said Beattie.

This mural shows the three colour-varitations of gouldian found in the wild: Black-faced (which make up around 75% of all birds), red-faced (25%) and the extremely rare yellow-faced variation, who only occur in around 1 in 3000 birds.