What happened to me more than 20 years ago (and what you can read on another page) almost happened to me again in 1995: Taking a walk one morning in spring I unexpectedly discovered a female zebrafinch pecking at grass heads by the kerb.
I judged the bird exhausted enough for me to try to catch it with my jacket, but although I managed to chase it into an open garage roofed over with acrylic glass, it eventually escaped. I suppose it fell victim to the next cold shower or a sparrow hawk or was caught by a more successful person.
Something like that may also happen to every other bird fancier: Either he/she finds the bird, or the bird finds him/her or it finds its way to him or her by an acquaintance. If you know the indigenous avifauna sufficiently well, you know when you are facing an exotic bird. Hopefully, you also know what to do then to make sure it doesn't come to any harm.
So you can acquire a Zebra Finch without even wanting to and paying one single dollar or pound (or Euro in future). But then you will quickly have to face the question: Should I give the Zebra Finch away, or do I keep it? If you keep it, you must get another Zebra Finch for it, and a (hopefully) long adventure will begin in which my book would like to accompany you.
The decision to acquire a pet bird must otherwise be considered carefully: You wouldn't be doing yourself and, even less so, the Zebra Finches a favour if you "bought on probation". However, you could do them a favour if you bought them from a private breeder: Since Zebra Finches are extremely easy to reproduce breeders generally have problems "getting rid" of the offspring. You may distinguish two kinds of breeders:
Zebra Finches can be obtained for little money, but they are not so cheap that one cannot earn money with them. As a rule the origin of the birds remains unclear: Do they come from a commercial mass production, where the animals are multiplied with minimum efforts and often under shocking conditions or from responsible breeders? If you want to buy Zebra Finches in a pet shop, you should first have a close look at the housing conditions and then at the birds you have an eye on, and this as long as possible. Only birds which are evidently healthy, strong and lively should be bought! If you do notknow enough about selecting the right birds, you may know an experienced aviculturist who can accompany you for the purchase ...
In certain cases it may be convenient to purchase birds through the mail, but I strongly advise you against buying unknown living creaturest: You cannot select the birds and either have to accept whatever comes, or send back a Zebra Finch you don't want, e. g. a sick one and that probably means, into death.
Before you now go and get Zebra Finches (it has to be two at least), you should find out if you qualify as a good Zebra Finch keeper, and you should know how to check a Zebra Finch healthwise.