I'm sure no-one would disagree with my choice of the Gouldian Finch. This little fellow simply takes your breath away not only because of the intensity and vibrancy of colour, but the fact that it is such a dainty and sweet little thing blessed with so many colours.
Although bred in captivity nationwide, the natural habitat of Gouldian finches is in the tropical savannah woodlands across all of northern Australia stretching from the Kimberley region in Western Australia to the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland with the most prevalent area of distribution being in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory. They live within small areas and only move when their food source of sorghum or grass seeds and/or water is scarce. Both male and female Gouldian Finches are brightly coloured with black, green, yellow and red markings but the females tend to be a little less brightly coloured and their chest more of a light mauve in comparison to the male's purple chest. With their fully grown size only 130-140mm (approx. 5") they make ideal pets, but in the wild are in continuing decline due to habitat changes, fires and predators and the fact that they are not a particularly hardy bird and susceptible to cold and stress.
It was fun choosing the colours and variations for this cross stitch design but to replicate the Gouldian Finch in its natural beauty and achieve the desired effect it was necessary to use a total of 15 colours. It's finished sewn size is 74 x 64mm (2.9 x 2.5in) or 41 x 35 stitches.
Perhaps what I love most about this bird is the story behind its name. John Gould, a British ornithological artist, named this beautiful bird the Lady Gouldian Finch after his wife Elizabeth even though she did not hold the title of 'Lady'. However in Australia reference to the title has been dropped.
'That which is loved is always beautiful' - Norwegian proverb