23 Bird Scene - May & June 2015

Page 1

BIRD ISSUE TWENTY THREE: MAY / JUNE 2015

SCENE

THE MAGAZINE FOR HOBBYIST BREEDERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS

WIRE CAGES THE FINAL PART DAVID ALLEN

TRAINING PARROTS AT NATURAL ENCOUNTERS RANCH

BY CHRIS SMITH

NATIONAL EXHIBITION UPDATE

IS S 6T UE H 2 20 JU 4 O 15 LY UT

FIORINO FRILLS

FR EE

BY DOT SCHWARZ


20


CONTENTS

BIRD SCENE: MAY / JUNE 2015

CONTENTS DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND… CLICK THE LINK BELOW: www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/donations.php

06 34

14 26

06

FIORINO FRILLS By Chris Smith

14

WIRE CAGES THE FINAL PART David Allen

20

NATIONAL EXHIBITION By Les Rance

26

KEEPING AND BREEDING RUPPELL’S PARROTS Allan F. Manning

34

TRAINING PARROTS AT NATURAL ENCOUNTERS RANCH Dorothy Schwarz

ON THE COVER

14

34 20

06

BIRD SCENE: Issue Twenty Three: May / June 2015 BIRD SCENE is run by The Parrot Society UK, 92A High Street, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 2BL, England. FOR SALES AND EDITORIAL ENQUIRES Telephone or Fax: 01442 872245 Website: www.theparrotsocietyuk.org E-Mail: les.rance@theparrotsocietyuk.org

BIRD SCENE 3


INTRODUCT

Les Rance, Editor, The Parrot Society UK | www.theparrotsocietyuk.org | les.rance@

B

ird keeping is a relaxing past time, however, for hobbyist breeders that keep their birds in unheated aviaries through the poor weather experienced this spring it can also be a worrying time. Those who keep their stock in breeding rooms where they can easily turn up the heating however are in a far more satisfactory position. In this edition of Bird Scene I have featured the canary because generally these birds do live in bird rooms. This is now the twenty third edition of Bird Scene, how quickly nearly four years can pass when you are working on project – the first FREE on-line bird magazine produced in the UK. At 48 pages this is quite a big read! Every time we post the Parrot Society magazine I cringe at the cost. Postal costs appear to have increased far faster than inflation and if The Royal Mail are not careful they will find that their income will reduce even further as people and businesses send less and less by conventional means. These costs obviously affect bird clubs when the show schedules have to be posted to potential exhibitors and equally it

4

BIRD SCENE

affects the exhibitors when they return their entries. In addition how much longer will bird clubs be able to afford to post magazines to their members? This must be a great worry to many club officials. Fortunately with an e-magazine we do not have this problem, or for that matter the cost of colour printing. As a result of increases to the costs of both postage and printing I am really pleased that we decided to produce Bird Scene as a FREE e-magazine. We have learnt a great deal over the past four years about this way of communicating with bird enthusiasts and I am sure that this knowledge will become more and more valuable as we see further increases in costs to paper magazines. We are always happy to receive articles about the species that are being exhibited at The National and are very pleased to give publicity to the club supplying the information. Regular readers will know that Bird Scene as been produced to publicise The National Exhibition held each year at our October Sale Day/ Show which will be held on Sunday 11th October and to promote our Conservation efforts for threatened


TION

BY THE EDITOR

LES RANCE

@theparrotsocietyuk.org parrots in the wild. An archive of earlier editions of Bird Scene can be found on the Home Page of our website www.theparrotsocietyuk.org so if you would like to see earlier versions please do log on to our site. In this edition we have two excellent articles on canaries. One being the final section of an article by leading Blue Lizard breeder David Allen regarding wire versus solid breeding cages and the second by Chris Smith on the Fiorino canary which was developed in Italy. There is also an article by Allan F Manning on Keeping and Breeding Ruppell’s Parrots which is very interesting and an article by Dot Schwarz on Training Parrots at Natural Encounters Ranch which should appeal to those interesting in keeping pet birds. These items are followed by a report on the security considerations that need to be addressed by parrot enthusiasts which seem to

be a particular target of thieves. Unfortunately there seems to be a spate of thefts mainly from breeders of valuable birds, please see the advice that John Hayward gives on this serious problem. Also in this issue are details relating to The National Exhibition especially the meeting that was held with the exhibiting clubs which took place at The Quality Hotel, Allesley, Coventry on Sunday 26th April. These annual meetings are so important to ensure the smooth running of the event which started in its present format in 2007 and is going from strength to strength thanks to the support we are receiving from the bird clubs who so vigorously support the Exhibition. It is very pleasing to report that these meetings are still well attended and ensure that we are all ‘up to speed’ on such areas as Show Schedules and Lifting Arrangements that are so important to a successful show.

BIRD SCENE 5


BY: CHRIS SMITH

06

BIRD SCENE


FEATURE

FIORINO FRILLS I

first saw Fiorino canaries whilst judging Fife Fancy in Italy in 2005 and 2006 in Bologna and Rome. I became really taken with them at the 2009 World Show in Piacenza, Italy, where nearly 27,000 exhibits were on show with large classes of Fiorinos. The Fiorino is about the same size as the Fife Fancy, very active and as jaunty as the Fife but with voluminous, silky frills. The added benefit is that you can show these birds in the standard Dewar show cage, so no added expense in purchasing new show cages. Though I think when shown in the frill cage they tend to exhibit more boldly on the top perch. Being a relatively new breed Idecided to do a little research on them and frill canaries in general. For whatever reason frill canaries have never become popular in Britain and did not merit a mention by eminent Victorian writers on the canary fancy, many of whom composed quite comprehensive works on the subject.

It is believed that the frill mutation, which affects the formation and the unusual disposition of the feather, is said to have occurred in Holland in the early 1800s. They were then known as “Dutch canaries” until such time as local varieties were developed around Europe and given separate names, e.g. South Dutch or Parisian Frill. The Fiorino is the youngest member of the frill family of canaries. It was created in Italy in the 1970s around the city of Firenze (Florence) from which it takes its name. Champion breeders began by breeding a small North Dutch frill to a Gloster corona. From these crosses and by the use of inbreeding the new Fiorino frill variety was created. The breed was distributed further to interested breeders and with more inbreeding the curling of the feather and size was improved. In the beginning the Fiorino was a fairly large bird and controversy

BIRD BIRD SCENE SCENE 07


developed between breeders over the pattern of frill, type and size of the bird. By 1982 meetings between the various groups had established a temporary standard and this was accepted by the Confederation Ornithologique Mondiale (COM). Today’s Fiorino is a 5” small frill family bird with specific type and curling of feather. It comes in a crested and plainhead form and has all the usual variety of colours for type canaries. It is a small bird of somewhat North Dutch appearance, although it has a smaller body and the crest on the crown of the head distinguishes it from the North Dutch. There are three areas of the body where specific forms of feathering are given a distinctive name. The feathers on the back are divided by a central parting running downward from between the lower shoulders to the lower back. The frilled nature of the plumage results in the feathers curling forward over the shoulders and wings, symmetrically on each side, rather like a cape. This feature is called the “Mantle”. The breast feathers,instead of running smoothly down the length of the body in the normal way, curl forwards and upwards over the breast bone and towards the throat like a ring (collar) around the neck. The curly feathers on the breast form a kind of frilly shirt –front with a collar, which all together is known as the “Jabot” or “Craw”.

06 08

BIRD SCENE

Importance is given to the head and the neck, the crest should radiate from the centre forming a tight circle with the eye still visible. The plainhead should have a clear head free from any signs of a crest. A bunch of feathers just above each thigh, curls outwards and upwards in a sweeping fashion around the wings. These frills are called the “Fins” or “Flanks”. The Kernow Old Canary Breeds Enthusiasts Club has given permission to reproduce the standard (attached) and a scale of points is shown. Like the Fife Fancy size is important and birds exceeding 130mm should be penalised on the show bench. Importance is given to the head and the neck, the crest should radiate from the centre forming a tight circle with the eye still visible. The plainhead should have a clear head free from any signs of a crest. The fins, mantle and jabot have equal points but the emphasis is on symmetry, and frills should be voluminous, full and curling. Non frill areas should be smooth and clean. Points should be deducted for missing fins, skewed mantles and unsymmetrical frilling on the jabot. I acquired my original stock from two English breeders and my good Fife friend Werner Van Dessel from Belgium and in 2010 bred 39 chicks


FEATURE

BIRD SCENE 09 07


from eight pairs. I was fortunate to acquire a self fawn plainhead cock and a clear white cock along with the normal green variegated birds, and so was able to breed a number of good white ground youngsters. During the show season I took a team of up to ten each time to four major shows Winning Best Fiorino on each occasion and best rare canary twice, at South Bucks All Canary Show and the All Variety Canary Show at

06 10

BIRD SCENE

Peterborough with a variegated white crest and a variegated green plainhead as pictured. In 2011 I raised 29 chicks and have had a superb start to the season winning Best Fiorino and Best Champion Rare Canary at the National Exhibition at Stafford with a green variegated crest, pictured. I have high hopes for a little buff lightly variegated hen and a self fawn hen which are just finishing the moult.


FEATURE

The fins, mantle and jabot have equal points but the emphasis is on symmetry, and frills should be voluminous, full and curling. Non frill areas should be smooth and clean. Points should be deducted for missing fins, skewed mantles and unsymmetrical frilling on the jabot.

I have sold all my surplus birds to a number of local breeders so we can build up a gene pool and exchange stock in the future. Recent breeding seasons have not been as good with only one clear Plainhead cock produced in 2014. But this year has got off to a great start with ten Fiorinos weaned on the first round and hens sitting on more eggs for the second round. Cannot wait for the National Exhibition in October.

DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND… CLICK THE LINK BELOW: http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/donations.php

BIRD SCENE

11



Rosemead Aviaries www.rosemeadaviaries.co.uk

Rosemead Aviaries & Animal Housing Quality Aviary Panels 1”x 1” Aluminium Box Section

In filled with Quality European Wire Mesh – Aviaries made to measure Contact us with your requirements.

T: 02920 577145 | M: 07792 133615 | www.rosemeadaviaries.co.uk 54 Grand Avenue, Ely, Cardiff, CF5 4BL

Animal Genetics Avian Biotech is a Sub Division of Animal Genetics Avian sex and disease testing from £14 per sample or less PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW ADDRESS For All Correspondence 1 Mount Charles Road, Mount Charles, St Austell, Cornwall, PL25 3LB

Tel: 01726 247788

Email: abi-uk@btconnect.com Website: www.animalgenetics.eu

BIRD SCENE

13


WIRE CAGES THE FINAL PART BY DAVID ALLEN BLUE LIZARD CANARY BREEDER AND EXHIBITOR. Plainhead Fiorino owned by Mrs Bolton

14

BIRD SCENE


FEATURE

T

his is the final part of my trial of wire breeding cages. I have made the choice not to go for any more, but what else then? And why you ask? I will try and explain my reasons, I knew what I wanted from a wire breeding cage but I was unable to find one the fulfilled all my wishes. Also I found the birds were more flighty in the wire cages than in wooden cages which seemed strange to me, as I would have though it would have been the other way. But it was not. So at the end of last breeding season I decided I was going to revamp my bird room, and in this I would replace my wooden cages. The question was with what? I looked at plastic breeding Cages, but a friend had some and was not happy with them pointing out the problem he saw with them, so I had to look at some thing else. It looked like I would be going back to wooden cages, but which ones? Then I came across some cages made of UPVC, these would be washable and would not require painting, and they had removable trays which my current wooden cages didn’t have. But they were only available in doubles. I took the plunge and brought 8 double breeders which would go along the back of my revamped bird room. The bird room revamp involved lining the whole bird room out with BIRD SCENE 15


Non capped Gold Lizard

Crested Fiorino owned by Mrs Bolton

I came across some cages made of UPVC, these would be washable and would not require painting, and they had removable trays which my current wooden cages didn’t have. But they were only available in doubles. insulation board, then papering it with lining paper which was then painted in a light colour. Carmel Cream which was left over from decorating my house. This was all done in less than a week, and I am happy with the result. My new cages arrived on the Friday 16

BIRD SCENE

and were in place a day later,now we just need to have a good breeding season. So to sum-up wire cages, I am pleased I tried them out but they just didn’t seem to suit my Lizards. I know many use them with great success on the continent, maybe the weather has


FEATURE

So to sum-up wire cages, I am pleased I tried them out but they just didn’t seem to suit my Lizards. I know many use them with great success on the continent, maybe the weather has a effect on this I am not sure.

Blue Lizard that won the 2014 National

a effect on this I am not sure. I have still retained the cages I brought and am using them to breed my Fiorino frill’s in. So this concludes my wire cage trial, I would not say it was a complete failure, but I think I am more comfortable with the box type breeding

cages. But I am glad I tried them because if I hadn’t I would always wondered about them. I must say though because they didn’t suit me it doesn’t mean they will not suit you and your birds. I think it always worth trying different ideas, and thinking out side of the box. BIRD SCENE 17


SECURITY WARNING

MAY-JUNE 2015

R

ecent parrot thefts have been reported in Hull, Rochdale, Northampton, Bedford and Redditch in Worcestershire.. We can now advise that the burglary at Rochdale has been detected and the birds have been recovered. This was a most distressing event as the elderly owner had the birds for very many years and they were his constant companions. They comprised of an African Grey and a Yellow-naped Amazon which were tracked down locally and are part of an on-going police investigation. The African Grey missing from a house in Bedford has received much national publicity but is still outstanding. We also continue to look for the Greys and Caiques stolen from a house at Hull. No doubt those birds have been offered for sale and hopefully we shall receive some information about them. The Northampton offence concerned the theft of two Blue and Gold Macaws and a pair of Yellow-crowned Amazons. One of the Macaws has been recovered locally. Finally the latest break-in relates to a collection of Kakarikis stolen from an aviary at Redditch when the thieves were selective and ignored other species. The only other matter of significance

relating to theft concerns a large number of parrots stolen from a sanctuary in the town of Carnation, Washington State, USA. In total, the thieves got away with upwards of fifty birds including Senegals, Conures, Monk and Meyer’s Parakeets, Black-headed and Red-bellied Parrots, Cockatoos and Corellas. It is believed that they have been taken, destined to be entered into private breeding programmes. We were specifically requested to publicise this particular theft as some members have connections in the States who may be able to spread the word. We often discuss the need for all animals, parrots in particular to be positively identifiable via microchipping, rings and photographs. To help assist and formalise this practice, we have produced via the Parrot Society the document entitled the Pet Parrot Passport which can be downloaded and printed off at home. We fully recommend that all parrot breeders and owners take advantage of this personal record of their birds which is vital if they ever get lost or stolen. John Hayward National Theft Register Tel: 01869 325699 Email: jh@ntr.supanet.com

ECURITY WARNING • SECURITY WARNING • SECUR


FEATURE

RITY WARNING • SECURITY WARNING • SECURITY WARNING • SECURITY


THE NATIONAL EXHIBI 11TH OCTOBER 2015

T

he Parrot Society can only thank the bird club officials that have all worked so hard to increase the number of exhibits year on year and made this exhibition the success it has become. We were pleased to announce last year that the Norwich Canary Club had joined our ranks and were exhibiting their member’s birds I understand they experienced a very successful show and are looking forward to this year’s event. The new club for 2015 is the London Fancy canary. Eight years ago The Parrot Society started out on a venture of 20

BIRD SCENE

hopefully rebuilding “The National Exhibition” that had been run up until 2003 at the Birmingham NEC. The defining factor was whether it was possible for all branches of our hobby to jointly pull together and ‘make it work’ after recording such a success in the first year the question was then whether the enthusiasm would be sustained. It has indeed worked each year since the first Show in 2007 the numbers of exhibits have increased and we are working hard to ensure that even more varieties of exhibition quality canaries are on the show bench


FEATURE

ITION for the 2015 event. By combining this exhibition with the already highly successful Parrot Society October Sale Day at the superbly equipped Staffordshire County Showground a large proportion of the exhibitors were familiar with both the location and the available facilities. UK bird exhibitors now view this event as the premier ‘all variety show’ on the UK calendar. We are delighted that the exhibition is obtaining increasing support from both continental judges and breeders who travel long distances to attend this event. It is exciting to think that in a

fairly short time this exhibition has been able to attract these dedicated fanciers from all over Europe. The continental influence is not only limited to the fanciers, there is an increasing demand from continental traders to attend this event, further increasing the range of products available to all our enthusiastic visitors. As it is located only a few miles to the east of junction 14 of the M6 vehicles can quickly arrive at the Showground. Arrangements are well in hand for the next Show on Sunday 11th October BIRD SCENE 21


2015. A meeting with representatives of all the supporting clubs was held at The Quality Hotel Coventry on Sunday 26th April. Each time we organise this Show we aim to improve both the exhibitor experience and that of the viewing public and the points discussed at this meeting prove invaluable in ensuring improvements continue to achieve these goals. “The National Exhibition” will be sponsored by Richard Johnston of Johnston and Jeff who is now our sole sponsor and Malcolm Green of The Birdcare Company, who have both supported us from the start. This year their generous sponsorship has also financed additional new judging stands required are a result of new clubs joining. As exhibits are set to increase 22

BIRD SCENE

and the added attraction of bird seed generously donated by Johnston & Jeff as prizes can only help increase the numbers benched. We are indebted to the management and editorial staff of Cage & Aviary Birds magazine for the production of a very well designed insert, with our contribution being the collation of the information from all the exhibiting clubs. The supplement will appear in their 4th September 2015 edition and will as previously carry advertisements from all the exhibiting clubs and details as to who to approach to obtain the Show Schedule for your chosen species. This supplement has now become a feature of “The National Exhibition”. Since the show took on the name


FEATURE

Some of the delegates at Coventry on 26th April attending the meeting.

“The National Exhibition” in 2010 the demand for trade space has significantly increased, with some new traders making their first appearance this year. So whatever your bird keeping requirements they will be on offer at Stafford on 11th October.

The Sandylands Centre and half of the Argyle Centre will again be used to accommodate the exhibits with the ‘booking in’ and club stands filling the remainder of the Argyle Centre. This facilitates the management of the exhibition during the judging of the birds and allows both exhibitors and general visitor’s access to the exhibition at the earliest possible time on the day. The Parrot Society Council members hope that all the exhibitors and the officials of the specialist exhibiting clubs have a very enjoyable day and we would like to thank the clubs for all the kind words and support that you have given us. It will make the organisation of this year’s “National Exhibition” a pleasure to be involved with. BIRD SCENE 23


VETERINARY FORMULATED

Only the best!! Special products for special pets GOLD GOLD STANDARD PROBIOTIC

AVIPRO PLUS VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR INFO & SHOPPING www.vetark.co.uk

AVIMIX

vitamins & minerals There simply is NO SUBSTITUTE

Top quality UK manufactured, veterinary medicinal products

SOLUVERM

ZOLCAL D

LIQUID CHELATED calcium & D3

The ONLY licenced MEDICINAL calcium for birds

WATER SOLUBLE WORMER

VETARK PROFESSIONAL PO Box 60, Winchester, SO23 9XN Tel: 44-(0)1962-844316 Available from all good stockists Trade Enquiries Welcome Parrots0412ShowGuide.indd 1

01/04/2012 15:18


SALE DAYS IN 2015 SUMMER SHOW: SUNDAY 5th July 2015 NATIONAL EXHIBITION: SUNDAY 11th October 2015 ‘HELP BIRD KEEPERS SHOW’: SUNDAY 6th December 2015

ALL P.S. MEMBERS ENTER OUR SHOWS EARLY. ALL SHOWS IN 2013 WILL BE HELD AT STAFFORD COUNTY SHOWGROUND ST18 0BD

PARROT SOCIETY

THIS IS JUST A NOTI FICATION OF DATE S PLEASE DO NOT BO OK UNTIL YOU SEE FU LL DETAILS IN THE MAG AZINE

ALL MEMBERS ENTER OUR SHOWS EARLY

s.

rist band

d entry w

purchase

With pre-


ARTICLE BY: ALLAN F. MANNING

KEEPING AND BREEDING RUPPEL PARROTS (POICEPHALUS RUEPPELLII) 26

BIRD SCENE


LL’S

FEATURE

W

ay back in 1981 I bred Ruppell’s Parrots for the first time and wrote an article for the Parrot Society which was published in the January 1982 magazine. Most of the things mentioned in that article about breeding Ruppell’s still apply today, but a considerable amount of additional knowledge has now been gained since then. As such I feel obligated to write this article as an update in the hope that more people will be successful in breeding with this very interesting parrot species. They are a bit different to most parrots in the fact that females are more colourful than males with the lower front body and vent area being bright blue. All the young are this colour but males loose most of the blue at maturity and only sometimes have a very faint blue tinge on the feathers by the vent area. Ruppell’s territory in the wild straddles Angola and Namibia in the continent of Africa which is a very hot place very near the equator. Consequently the Ruppell’s parrots mainly frequent the forested areas where they can get shade and a cooler environment to live and breed. You often read reports of Ruppell’s Parrots feeding along dried up river beds and streams etc., but this is quite rare and obviously more conspicuous and reportable. Quite sometime ago I had a friend who had a relation in Angola BIRD SCENE 27


with a small farm that was on the edge of a very thick forest. He had never seen a Ruppell’s parrot in his life before but his farm was right in the middle of their reported territory. He wanted to extend his farm and was constantly asking the government for permission to cut down more forest to give him more farming land. After some time the government gave him permission to cut down just a few hectares of forest to extend his farm and as soon as they started cutting down the trees Ruppell’s parrots were flying about everywhere. He said the forest was quite dark but the thing that caught his eye most was the yellow wing butts of the birds that seemed to flash like lights as they were flying out of the dark forest. So with this information and my

Ruppells parrot flying out of a dark area showing how its wing butts catch the light.

28

BIRD SCENE

experience with Ruppell’s since I first bred them it is obvious they need seclusion to breed satisfactorily in captivity. For this an outside flight with a nest box in a very secluded area of the flight is necessary to achieve the best results. To achieve this I grow a creeping plant such as Ivy or a Russian vine etc., at the most secluded end of the flight and in it the nest box is placed. The type of nest box that I have had the best results from is an upright Amazon type box, but with a hollowed out log entrance hole of about 3 to 4 inches or more long. This is placed in the creeper or vine with only about half of the actual box showing. I have also noticed the best breeding results also seem to be where the entrance to the box faces the early morning sun. If you have a very large


FEATURE

Female sitting outside her nest box entrance whilst the male is inside shuffling the nesting material about. This is a normal prebreeding activity that can continue for some weeks.with the oldest being just over seven weeks old.

… the thing that caught his eye most was the yellow wing butts of the birds that seemed to flash like lights as they were flying out of the dark forest.

flight that has lots of creepers and plants growing in it you can breed with a few pairs of birds in the same flight. However, in this situation you MUST have many more nest boxes situated around the flight to alleviate territory fighting and nest box squabbles etc. You must also provide more than one feeding place to prevent the underdogs

from being prevented from feeding. Whichever way you choose to keep and/or breed your Ruppell’s you MUST remember that if they are not able to get seclusion whilst in the breeding mode males may not produce an adequate sperm count through stress. This obviously causes males to get frustrated and females to eventually BIRD SCENE 29


Feeding Ruppell’s can be a problem as each bird seems to have its own food preferences and very often the male and female of each pair will feed on different items of their food dishes. In addition to this whilst breeding quite a lot of Ruppell’s will look for live food to feed to their young. get fatigued through the physical act of continued mating. If this situation persists it can last for the whole breeding season and put the birds into a prolonged infertile period. So the safest way to breed them is in a one pair to one flight situation where they

30

BIRD SCENE

get their own secluded environment and familiarization with their surroundings and keeper. Feeding Ruppell’s can be a problem as each bird seems to have its own food preferences and very often the male and female of each pair will feed on different items of their food dishes. In addition to this whilst breeding quite a lot of Ruppell’s will look for live food to feed to their young. So they must have a good parrot mix with a variety of seeds in it together with various nuts etc. You can also give them live food if they will take it. Live food is very good for your birds whilst they have young as it is high in proteins, but parent birds bred in


FEATURE

captivity often do not take live food very well. If you do give your birds live food it should be mealworms, mealworm beetles or wax moth larvae. Please remember though to only give your birds live foods that feed on plants or dried bran etc. Live food such as fisherman’s maggots are fed on meat which can be deadly for our birds as it can contain harmful bacteria. However, the main difficulty with Ruppell’s is the fact that peanuts in their shells is a big problem. Ruppell’s will often eat the peanut shell and throw away the actual nut. Peanuts in their shells stored in a damp situation can develop a mould inside the shell that is an aflatoxin. If this happens the

peanuts are classed as unfit for human consumption but the government will pass them for animal/bird feeds. Consequently these contaminated nuts often find their way into various bird foods and seed mixes. Aflatoxins develop very quickly in warm but damp situations and can be a deadly killer for our birds if eaten. For most birds this is not a problem because the aflatoxin takes a lot longer to actually get on the nut, but our Ruppell’s very often eat only the shell. This is a very important point for all Ruppell’s keepers to know about and to make sure our birds avoid by not giving them peanuts in their shells. Together with seed mixes they must have a variety of vegetables and fruit which can be fresh or from frozen. I give my birds frozen mixed vegetables and sweet corn plus any fruit that is available at the time of year. They all have their favourites and this will vary throughout the year. Another good thing to do is to give the birds fresh fruit tree or willow tree branches. They will then spend a lot of their time chewing and eating the fresh bark which (if fresh) will contain biotin. Biotin contains a lot of nutrients that are good for your birds and when breeding and feeding young it will help them to get their biggest possible size from the genetic make up of their parents. It must be noted that being basically a woodland bird, in the wild they probably eat and/or chew the bark of trees quite a lot to get at insects/ larvae and to personalize nest holes etc. Remember chewing tree bark is a

BIRD SCENE 31


Ruppell’s breed at almost any time of the year and very often this is in the winter, bearing in mind that in their natural country in Africa the coolest time of year would be their best chance of the young surviving. natural function for all parrot like birds in the wild, but in captivity they can only do it if we provide the branches for them to chew. This chewing also helps the birds to carry out a generic function that greatly assists their well being in captivity. Ruppell’s breed at almost any time of the year and very often this is in the winter, bearing in mind that in their natural country in Africa the coolest time of year would be their best chance of the young surviving. It seems that a cold spell of weather is imprinted into their gene pattern and triggers them to go into a breeding cycle. Therefore a sudden cold spell at any time of the year can start them breeding. I have cameras in some of my nest boxes which can give you a good insight as to what is happening at different times of the day and how organized a successful pair of birds can be. The normal situation with Ruppell’s in breeding mode within the nest box is as follows: - The male will spend the most time in the box at first chewing the box into shape and shuffling the nest material around. The female will go in every now and then and seems to inspect what the male has done. She will spend a lot of time just sitting in the box looking round and he will not come in until she has come out. At this stage it is very rare for both birds to

32

BIRD SCENE

FEATURE

be in the box at the same time and during this period they will roost at night outside the box. After a couple of weeks at this the birds will then spend more time out of the box during which time they usually mate. When the hen does lay her first egg they will then spend the next few days out of the nest box and not entering much until the hen lays the second egg. She still does not sit on the eggs for the next 4 to 5 hours but usually sits along side it. From then on she sits and incubates properly. The incubation period is between 28 to 29 days. The ring size is ‘R’ and the best age to ring the young is at 18 to 19 days. Note. Most books tell you to ring the birds at 17 days old. This I have found is too early and the rings often fall off. They usually fledge at 9 weeks old but again this can vary depending on the weather.

DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND… CLICK THE LINK BELOW: http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/donations.php


WANTED ALL PARROTS

Founder member of the Parrot Society requires the following parrots

WANTED WANTED WANTED BEST COLLECTION

ALL HAND REARED PARROTS ALL PARENT REARED PARROTS ALL BREEDING PAIRS AND SINGLES

PRICES PAID IN CASH IF REQUIRED OR YOU DELIVER TO ME.

MOBILE: 07949 447282. HOME: 01670 822789 E-MAIL: parrotjohn1@btinternet.com

Tried all sorts of things and nothing works? Not tried our Feather Plucking Starter Pack? With a 70% success rate, it might be just what your friend needs. Stressed birds often start plucking. Plucking birds are deenitely stressed.

Add to any food it’ll eat Powerful digestive support Chelated calcium to help calm the stress and soothe the nerves Provides quality nutrition to enable the bird to moult and regrow its feathers

Stress affects the digestive system very badly and then they don’t get the nutrition from their food that they need. And that stresses them more!

Before

Break the cycle! Feather Plucking Starter Pack £14.10 + £4.80 P&P

www.birdcareco.com

After

Tel: 01453 835330 sales@birdcareco.com

BIRD SCENE 33


TRAINING PARRO NATURAL ENCOU RANCH ARTICLE BY: DOROTHY SCHWARZ

34

BIRD SCENE


FEATURE

S

OTS AT UNTERS All photographs in this article are © of Steve Martin

teve Martin’s ranch is a Mecca for bird training. NEI Natural Encounters inc. (NEI) hosts several training workshops for professionals and bird owners. Students arrive from all over the world. When I was asked whether I wanted to participate during a 5-day immersion experience for non professionals, after attending three workshops at a lower level, I accepted. Five days working with birds at an advanced level was an experience I didn’t want to miss. The training is all done according to Steve Martin’s almost 40 years of experience. The principles of behaviour science, using positive reinforcement methods are followed. This is what happened during my stay in Florida. This workshop only had 4 participants working in pairs with a trainer for each couple. Unlike previous workshops I attended which have up to 20 students, nothing much was planned beforehand. My partner was Karen Judge an enthusiastic dark-haired American pet parrot owner who is associated with Phoenix Landing one of the many rehoming and rehabbing centres in

Five days working with birds at an advanced level was an experience I didn’t want to miss. The training is all done according to Steve Martin’s almost 40 years of experience. The principles of behaviour science, using positive reinforcement methods are followed.

BIRD SCENE 35


USA. Our trainer was Cassie Molina, a senior trainer at NEI. She had a wonderful sense of humour, and a dozen years of experience. NEI run several bird shows over USA and run the popular show at Disney world in Florida. Steve Martin himself travels the world, advising zoos and trainers how to get the best results from their animals with the least intrusive methods. We were given a list of birds to choose for training sessions under our trainer’s supervision. These were the birds we choose and the weights they maintained during the workshop. My chief birds were Samson and

36

BIRD SCENE

We were allowed to choose what behaviour we wanted to teach our individual birds. I started out training Palmer to enter a crate but then decided since my birds at home do that readily, it would be more useful for me to fly him in a larger space. In the large flight, the task was to get Palmer to fly round a loop around a pole. Palmer. Samson, a majestic Hyacinth macaw’s weight went from 1440 grams – 1475. My second bird was Palmer, the palm cockatoo, whose weight went from 1076 – 1081grams. Karen chose two macaws, Skittles, a Scarlet and Laverne, a Blue and Gold experienced bird. Their weights went from 1125 – 1089 and 994 – 969 grams. Karen and I were also required to have some training sessions with Loki the raven whose weight stayed the same, and Pebbles, a Seriama,


FEATURE

whose weight rose from 1700 grams to 1730 grams. We also participated in training of 4 mini macaws destined to perform the dollar bill trick at Disneyland. (The bird takes a dollar bill from a spectator and returns it to the trainer during the show.) These were young birds well under a year old. Mason the Harris hawk also in our programme went from 689 grams to 686 grams. All birds that we trained were weighed daily. Then Karen and I weighed our own birds. A good exercise in smooth steady movements. Laverne could lunge if not handled right. But Karen managed the smooth movements required. Cassie made up diets each day dependent on previous day’s weight and performance. She planned different feeding regimes depending on which bird. • Bird worked for complete diet • Bird given much as wanted • Bird worked for treats I saw that the amounts given were far less than I would use at home. All birds were in good feather. No plucking, screaming, biting or stereotypical behaviour. Parrot nutrition and its role in training is a complex subject watching Cassie decide on diets for each bird underlines that theory needs to be supported by years of experience. With companion birds the simple expedient of withdrawing the favourite food and

letting the bird work for that in each training session is a simple method that anyone can understand. This is a method that trainers at NEI recommended to me and which I can easily follow at home. NEI trainers stress that weight loss of more than 10% is not advisable. If you need to drop a bird’s weight considerably to obtain compliance then something probably is wrong with your relationship with the bird. Individual birds: working with Palmer, Skittles Laverne and Samson We were allowed to choose what behaviour we wanted to teach our individual birds. I started out training Palmer to enter a crate but then decided since my birds at home do that readily, it would be more useful for me to fly him in a larger space. In the large flight, the task was to get Palmer to fly round a loop around a pole. Cassie fixed the amount that he was fed twice daily and he worked for treats. (shelled pieces of peanut.) The pole was placed in the centre. Perches at either end. The helper, Karen or Cassie moved gradually further round the pole and the trainer (me) called the bird back. Palmer learned after a few tries to fly around rather than straight. But when his attention wandered he flew to another perch. Palmer was taken for each session from his small flight in a wheeled crate. Good experience for me to put him in that crate without knocking his tail. As the week progressed, I grew smoother in executing the movement.

BIRD SCENE 37


As I had switched tasks and there were only 10 training sessions we only worked Palmer 5 times in the flight. On one occasion he did not come forward to the perch in his home flight to take a nut so Cassie decided not to take him out. This is NEI policy. The bird can choose whether or not to work. Once in the large flight Palmer behaved with varying attention span. By the end of the week he could fly three-quarters of the loop. Karen took him beyond the pole and I called him back to me. He never showed any lunging behaviour but after a few flights tended to fly to another perch. Cassie always ended the session when his attention span slackened. With a further day I would have hoped he would have

flown the loop. As on my previous visit, he was a joy to work with. He is called ‘he’ at the ranch but Palmer is actually a hen. Skittles, a scarlet macaw, was being trained for outdoor free flight. We only worked with him in the corridor of the aviary and also in an outdoor netted enclosure. He made steady progress in flying between Karen and me. But Cassie decided he was not ready to fly outside. Laverne, the Blue and Gold was being retrained for outdoor flight. Some years previously she had flown in shows. She had developed a habit of lunging at brusque movements. Karen managed to weigh her and crate her and avoid the lunging. On first being taken out to the netted enclosure, (tennis court size) Laverne was tense and Cassie did not want her to fly. Once we got into the habit of bringing her buddy Comet in a crate she calmed down. The most


FEATURE

successful session was in high wind. Laverne seemed to enjoy battling across the enclosure between us. Cassie, reading her body language, decided that she was not steady enough for flight outside yet. White, one of three identikit young blue- headed macaws, had been learning the dollar bill trick in a previous workshop. As the best of the three at the task, he was chosen by Cassie for Karen’s training. We started in his flight his two brothers were placed outside in a crate. The behaviour was taught as a chain. By the end session one, White had mastered the steps necessary. In his flight he flew a few paces to me, took a dollar bill from my hand. Flew back to Karen, who put it in her pocket. Then when she gave it back to him, he flew back to me with it. Who can tell what

a bird thinks but the young macaw seemed to enjoy learning this trick? The behaviour was then generalised in a different environment and the clever little bird repeated the manoeuvre three times. It had taken ten days with two sets of trainers to teach him this trick which I believe is now being shown at Disneyland. Samson, the Hyacinth, an ex-pet of sixteen years of age, had only been at NEI for a few weeks when I started to work with him. I wanted to teach him the retrieve. He started work in a flight erected in the seminar room. We had steel washers in a stainless steel bowl and a store of peanuts for treats. At first Samson would take the washer drop it in the bowl and startle at the sharp sound. However at the end of a couple of sessions, he had understood what to do and would take a washer

BIRD SCENE 39


from the right or the left of the bowl and walk along the perch and drop it in. My initial disquiet at handling so large a bird soon evaporated. He really was a gentle giant. Once Samson had mastered dropping the washer in bowl, we set up two short perches a metre apart in the seminar room and asked him to fly with the washer between the perches. My movements were not always coordinated well enough and Samson getting frustrated made a swipe at my hand. Cassie pointed out that I approached Samson too fast and invaded his personal space and that was probably why he swiped. Cassie altered the training plan and she

40

BIRD SCENE

handed Samson the washer while Karen held the bowl and I asked Samson to step across the perch and drop it in for the reward I would hand him. It became clear that it was easier to get Samson to fly to my hand fly from the perch take the washer, step /hop back to the perch and drop it in the bowl. We did not manage a flighted retrieve but were well on the way at the end of the workshop. We obtained three good repetitions of Samson flying from my hand with the washer a distance of about a metre to the perch. Samson actually gained a few grams from all the peanuts he got for flying between the perches and flying to me.


FEATURE

My movements were not always coordinated well enough and Samson getting frustrated made a swipe at my hand. Cassie pointed out that I approached Samson too fast and invaded his personal space and that was probably why he swiped. Pebbles the young Seriama It was expanding my horizon to work with the Seriama, a crane- like bird with a pretty crown of feathers in a fan on top of his head. In the wild, Seriamas smash lizards onto stones and we were teaching Pebbles to do this with a plastic lizard. They will use this trick during the bird show. The timing to deliver the treat was easy to get right because before he would smash down the lizard, Pebbles would raise his head high.

Pebbles already knew how to run for one crate to another in the corridor outside his flight. We practised this. The trick was to throw a piece of meat in the back of the crate and bird runs in after it. And he accepts the door being closed while he gets another treat through the side bars. By the end of the week, Pebbles would pick up the plastic lizard and smash it down onto the stone in-between the two crates. With ample respect for Pebbles’ long thin sharp beak, Karen and I made sure we tossed the meat quickly and in the right place. Karen, as were Wendy and JJ, the other two participants was keener to work with raptors and corvids than I was. But I had to join in and was pleased I did so. We free flew Mason, a well trained Harris hawk short distances in the open space in front of the aviary. The techniques of untying the bird, holding the jesses, how to feed from the glove were all explained with customary good humour by Cassie. In spite of my reluctance to work raptors, I could not but be thrilled when a hawk swooped low to the ground at my feet rose almost vertically and landed on my glove. Cutting up the dead chicks and mice for the BOP (bird of prey) diets was less entrancing. But fortunately I was able leave that to Karen and Cassie. Loki the raven had already had one week of crate training with the previous group. With Karen this progressed to him running straight in and allowing the door to be almost closed behind him. That it was not

BIRD SCENE 41


FEATURE

fully achieved in the time was explained by the fact that ravens do not like be in enclosed spaces and they are super fast and intelligent. Professional Trainers at the ranch We assisted at several sessions of outdoor training of macaws and raptors sometimes as spectators and sometimes as participants. Dillon Horger a senior trainer and two others took a pair of Greenwings macaws for outdoor flight training. The birds, two brothers, were placed on a high perch and encouraged to fly to the trainer and also to fly around at liberty, which they did. It is a cardinal principle at the ranch that bird is never tossed from the hand. This is common practice elsewhere but trainers at NEI believe that it can lead to a host of problems from using an aversive. The Greenwings first day for an at liberty flight was hot. The young macaws flew around, flew back the trainers and were taken back inside. Everything done in the calm relaxed manner that I associate with this sort of work. The birds were not hungry, nor frantic for food. Dillon told me that frantic birds are at risk out of doors; they have not the strength or motivation to evade any hawk danger. Disney Show at Orlando Our group was taken for a morning to see the free flying bird show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We watched the show which runs for 24 minutes from backstage and from front of house.

42

BIRD SCENE

This is a highly choreographed show with a presenter and an actor, a script and around 25 birds that make brief appearances. It runs, as you might expect, like clockwork. Behind the scenes, a rank of TV screen cameras record every movement. The show features many species not just parrots. Groucho the Yellow- naped Amazon sings a song as he does on numerous TV shows. The show ends with a burst of colour as several macaws free fly over the auditorium, At Disneyland, as at the ranch every animal performing or in training is daily weighed even the hens and their cockerel. Another Seriama not Pebbles did the lizard bashing trick. A raven stole the actor’s flag but returned it to him at the end of the show. The script is lightweight and amusing but contains a serious message about conservation. The birds that students train with at NEI are usually NOT pets or ex-pets like Samson so that they do not have the baggage of companion birds. Sadly us students are not supposed to pet them. Steve maintains they have bird buddies for their emotional life. They have not picked up any of the unpleasant behaviours that captive birds can acquire like biting, plucking and over bonding and excessive screaming. At the end of the show season, the show birds take a rest. Not so for me, greatly inspired by what I had learned, I couldn’t wait to implement what I’d learned into my own training regimes.


Great Western Exotic Vets Neil Forbes DipECZM(avian) FRCVS Qualified Specialist in Bird Medicine. Marie Kubiak, Elisabetta Mancinelli, Pru Harvey M’sRCVS A Specialist service to all bird keepers. Full diagnostic, treatment, hospital and surgical facilities for birds 24/7, including ultrasound, x-ray, endoscopy, fluorsocopy In house laboratory – results in 30 min. Routine consultations 7 days a week. Licensed for Bird exports. http://www.gwev.co.uk Tel 01793 603800 Email exotics@gwreferrals.co.uk 10 Berkshire House, County Park Estate, Shrivenham Rd, Swindon, SN1 2NR

C.J. HALL B. Vet Med. M.R.C.V.S. VETERINARY SURGEON Member of the A.A.V. and B.V.Z.S. 15 TEMPLESHEEN ROAD SHEEN, LONDON SW14 7PX TEL: 0208 876 9696, www.cjhall-vets.co.uk Email: cjhallveternary@tiscali.co.uk

DYERS METAL MESH www.dyersmetalmesh.co.uk

• Welded Mesh • Aviary Mesh • Perforated Sheets • Wire Netting • Site Fencing • Security Fencing • Insect Mesh

• • • • • • •

Steel Supplies Cutting Services Roofing Sheets Expanded Metal Woven Wire Reinforcing fabric Gabions

• • • • •

Metal Cladding Pipe Clamps Sheet Metal Wire Fabrication Structural Steelwork

7 Buckland Road, Pen Mill Trading Estate, Yeovil Somerest, BA21 5EA Tel 01935 479230, Fax: 01935 479240, Email: enquiries @dyersmetalmesh.co.uk

SOUTH BEECH VETERINARY SURGERY ALL ASPECTS OF CAGE AND AVIARY BIRD MEDICINE INCLUDING IN-HOUSE LABORATORY DIAGNOSIS

Tel: Wickford (01268) 560660

24 HOUR SERVICE AVAILABLE FOR EMERGENCIES

BIRD SCENE 43


C O S T O PARR O H S R E SUMM Again this year we will accept bookings from non-members selling Finches, Budgerigars, Canaries, and Softbills. These tables are £17 each. Entrance tickets are £6 each in advance, available until 24th June 2015. On the door entrance tickets will be £7 each. MEMBERS & NON MEMBERS TABLES - TRADE STANDS Bar and Restaurant facilities, everything for the Hobbyist & Breeder Full details are available from our office tel: 01442

872245 The Parrot Society,

92A High Street, Berkhamsted, Herts HP4 2BL

u o C e r i h s Stafford h July 2 t 5 y a d n u S m a 0 3 . 9 from


CIETY OW

ALL P.S. Me enter o mbers ur Show s EARLY provide d they bu y their tickets in advanc e’

d n u o r g w o unty Sh 2015


O R

R Y A L M O E S E ST B O W ’ LAT

UNDERSTANDING PARROTS -CUES FROM NATURE 196 pages, 210mm x 210mm, 20 colour illustrations, 56 mono photos.

O KS

S

PYRRHURA PARAKEETS (CONURES): AVICULTURE, NATURAL HISTORY, CONSERVATION 262 pages, 70 colour photos, 20 maps.

£21.99 plus UK postage £3.45, Europe £7.89.

£21.95 plus UK postage £3.65, Europe £8.40

Reviewed in December 2014 issue: “…a very impressive book”.

Review January 2014 issue: “…packed full of good, sensible advice”. PARROTS and FINCHES healthy nutrition Rosemary Low

INSIGNiS PUBLICATIONS

WO BUY T ND A S K BOO PARROT E V I RECE Z BOOK QUI FREE

PARROTS AND FINCHES: HEALTHY NUTRITION 176 pages, 45 colour photos. £12.95 plus UK postage £2.50, Europe £5.95. Review February 2013 issue “The book that has been needed for many years.”

PAR BREE ROT D REGI ING STER

£11.6 NOW0 £8.95

For full list of books and prices visit www.rosemarylow.co.uk PayPal (plus £1.50 for orders under £50) or cheque made out to Rosemary Low, Dept. 3, P.O.Box 100, Mansfield, Notts NG20 9NZ All books signed and dedicated on request. PARROT SOCIETY MAGAZINE: 15


Most parrot-like birds. Good prices paid in cash. Parakeets, Conures, Cockatoos, African Greys, Cockatiels. Also Exhibition quality Budgerigars and Canaries. You deliver to me or we can collect. Weavers Coving, Towcester Road, Whittlebury, Northants, NN12 8TD T: +44 (0) 1327 857594 M: 0770 2277 246 (Guy) / 0796 2099 830 (Lee) F: +44 (0) 1327 858965 E: info@skybirds.co.uk W: www.skybirds.co.uk

eggfood

Developed with & recommended by Top UK Bird Breeders

Top Athlete, Coach & Champion Budgerigar Breeder Geoff Capes understands the importance of balanced, nutritional diets for rearing top class birds. “ I swear by the importance of soft food. I use & recommend Supablend eggfood, which is suitable for all birds.” Geoff Capes Supablend eggfood is made from quality ingredients. We even bake our own egg cake specifically for our eggfood. We only use fresh eggs (not powdered), which provide a superior source of protein. Our eggfood is available in DRY, MOIST and BIANCO varieties.

Recommended by Geoff Capes

10 Kg bag DRY £24.00, MOIST £26.00 5 x 1Kg boxed: DRY £13.99 , MOIST £14.99, BIANCO £17.99 1 Kg bag: DRY £3.50, MOIST £4.00, BIANCO £5.00 Delivery from £6.99 for up to 25 Kg

www. supablend.com 01332 831300 www.supapets-online.co.uk

BIRD SCENE 47


LOW SUNFLOWER FOR LARGER PARROTS

A low fat high nutrition, low fat blend for all larger Parrot species including the large Macaws, Black Cockatoos and Moluccans - 26 ingredients, 57% fruit and nuts - 7 different fruits, 6 different nuts. Composition: medium striped and white sunflower, safflower, whole maize, oats, pumpkin seed, flaked peas, flaked maize, puffed maize, papaya, banana, currants, pineapple, apricot, coconut, dates, brazil nut kernels, walnut halves, peanuts, monkey nuts, pine nuts, soft shell almonds, chillies, rosehips, carrot. Items such as micronised peas and puffed wheat and maize give a sweeter taste and are easier to digest than the raw equivalent.

THE FINEST BIRD FOOD CONTACT: JOHNSTON & JEFF LTD., BALTIC BUILDINGS, GATEWAY BUSINESS PARK, GILBERDYKE,EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE HU15 2TD T: 01430 449444 www.johnstonandjeff.co.uk mail@johnstonandjeff.co.uk Johnston & Jeff foods are only sold through retailers. Please contact us if you need information on your nearest stockists, our mail order partners, and for information and feeding guides. We reserve the right to add to the composition of our blends if we find a better grade or wish to enhance the menu. Please check our web site for up-to-date details.