I LOVE pink – billed parrot finches! They are beautiful, brightly coloured quirky birds with a large glossy pink beak. I have been lucky enough to see some and hear their high pitched, ‘chee, chee’, a couple of times when walking high in mature forest, when accompanying Mark on his bird counts. I always take a sketch book as well as binoculars.
My coloured-in version of Pink-billed parrot finch page from Colour-in Paradise
Vili with the painting (done from my sketches) which I gave to him as a thank-you
Only found in mature forest in central and eastern Viti Levu, pink-billed parrot-finches are classified as Vulnerable. Sadly, due to habitat-loss, their numbers are declining.
The first time I ever saw these amazing birds was a few years ago, when our friend Vili, (see photo above), took us to a village where they sometimes nested in a tree. We waited for ages, sitting very quietly (never easy for me!) and were rewarded with amazing views of a pair landed in the tree and began feeding on insects amongst the lichen. It was SO exciting and emotional. The images are still in my head and I can see them if I close my eyes. The pair stayed for a while so I even managed a couple of sketches which later came in very handy for Vili’s painting and the earring design.
These are one of my favourite pairs of Earrings from the Colour in Paradise Collection
A birder and conservationist, Vili is an amazing man. Every time he takes birders to see the birds, he takes a donation from them which all goes straight to the villagers, encouraging conservation.
Sadly, Vili has not seen the pink-billed parrot finches there for some time.