Saffron Finches – Scientific name: Sicalis flaveola

Saffron Finch.Scientific name: Sicalis flaveola

I spent many months in the Amazon Rainforest over a number of years. On occasion I spent weeks in my lodge completely alone. I befriended a couple of pairs of Saffron Finches, who kept me company like friendly neighbours. The Male was yellow with a jaunty orange cap, his mate a dull, greenish brown.
The finches would visit every day. The morning visit was at around the same time just after sunrise. If I was in a room out of sight the male would perch on a branch on the tree closest to the lodge and call loudly until I came out. Then he would tweet, turning his head this way and that as I spoke to him.

I remember one morning my friend who had dropped in for a coffee and had seen my interaction with these birds called me from my bedroom to say the male bird was calling me. The locals of the forest found my ‘conversations’ with this little bird fascinating.
One afternoon I heard the male calling and calling to me. He was earlier then usual so I wasn’t expecting him. When I came out, I was surprised to see the female beside him, as she usually preferred to peck on the ground while he tweeted with me. She had nesting material in her beak. I swear they brought it to show me. I must admit to tears in my eyes.

It’s been a long while since I’ve been back to the forest, but I think about it often. And I think about the wildlife and especially the animals and birds I communicated with and my dear little Saffron.

I wrote a poem in their honour.

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2 thoughts on “Saffron Finches – Scientific name: Sicalis flaveola

  1. Oh, this is beautiful! We have Saffron Finches in our yard in Kingston, Jamaica! (I feed the wild birds and they love the seeds). They are so sweet and like a little drop of gold!

  2. In Jamaica, by the way, they are called “Canaries.” Many of the common birds here have as their popular name those of English birds… Colonial influence.

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