37 Bird Scene - Winter 2017 / 2018.pdf

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BIRD ISSUE THIRTY SEVEN: WINTER 2018

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THE MAGAZINE FOR HOBBYIST BREEDERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS

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UM M N AR ED 20 CH ITI 18 1S ON T

CONSERVATION OF THE SCARLET MACAW

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AFTER 20 YEARS, GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE AMAZONS OF TAMAULIPAS, MEXICO

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ZEBRA FINCHES


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CONTENTS BIRD SCENE: WINTER 2018

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

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A MILLENNIUM TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE John Mollindinia

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THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION REPORT Les Rance

ON THE COVER

BIRD ISSUE THIRTY FOUR: SUMMER 2017

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THE MAGAZINE FOR HOBBYIST BREEDERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS

ZEBRA FINCHES

PART ONE

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AFTER 20 YEARS, GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE AMAZONS OF TAMAULIPAS, MEXICO

14 CONSERVATION OF THE SCARLET MACAW

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CONSERVATION OF THE SCARLET MACAW By Dr Chris Vaughan

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ZEBRA FINCHES Ken Lockwood and Gerald Massey

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AFTER 20 YEARS, GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE AMAZONS OF TAMAULIPAS, MEXICO Dr. David Waugh

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BIRD SCENE: Issue Thirty Seven: Winter 2018 BIRD SCENE is run by The Parrot Society UK, Hardy House, Northbridge Road, Berkhamsted HP4 1EF, England. FOR SALES AND EDITORIAL ENQUIRES Telephone or Fax: 01442 872245 Website: www.theparrotsocietyuk.org / E-Mail: les.rance@theparrotsocietyuk.org The views expressed by contributors to this magazine are not those of The Parrot Society UK unless otherwise explicitly stated

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INTRODUCT

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

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was delighted with the success of The National Exhibition held at Stafford County Showground on Sunday 8th October. It was a vibrant event and very well supported by the 18 clubs that work hard to ensure that this is the premier cage bird exhibition held in the UK each year. In this edition are a range of excellent images taken by Neil Randle who is an accomplished photographer and the designer of both this on-line publication and our monthly P.S. member’s monthly magazine. At this time of year we are always aware of the possible threat from Avian Flu carried by migratory birds on their move south during the winter months, fortunately at the time of writing there are as far as I am aware no problems at the present time. Bird keeping is a relaxing past time, however, for hobbyist breeders that keep their birds in unheated aviaries the poor weather experienced during the winter months 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. 04

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In this edition of Bird Scene we are very pleased to have an excellent article from Gerald Massey on the wonderful Zebra Finch an Australian species that has been a firm favourite in aviculture for many years and an excellent bird for the beginner. Additional articles are:• After 20 years, good news about the • Amazons of Tamaulipas, Mexico • Conservation of the Scarlet Macaw • A Millennium Trip Down Memory Lane The National Exhibition This is now the thirty seventh edition of Bird Scene, how quickly six and a half years can pass when you are working on a 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


TION

BY THE EDITOR

LES RANCE

@theparrotsocietyuk.org posted to potential exhibitors and equally it 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 six and a half 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 at Stafford County Showground and to promote our Conservation efforts for threatened 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.


BY: DR. DAVID WAUGH DIRECTOR, LORO PARQUE FUNDACIÓN

AFTER 20 YEARS, GOO ABOUT THE AMAZON TAMAULIPAS, MEXIC 06

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OD NEWS NS OF CO

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he coastal plain of eastern Tamaulipas State in Mexico supports isolated populations of two globally endangered Amazon parrots, the Yellowheaded Amazon (Amazonaoratrix) and Green-cheeked Amazon ( A. viridigenalis), and healthy populations of the Red-lored Amazon (A. autumnalis). A. viridigenalis has a small range and is found only on the Atlantic slope of north-eastern Mexico. In the 1990’s intense studies of these species in the Tamaulipas region, focused on 550 ha of the Los Colorados Ranch, 5km from the Gulf of Mexico, were undertaken by Dr. Ernersto EnkerlinHoeflich, now of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico. Back then, the research site was made up of a mixture of native woodland fragments, wooded pastures, and open pastures set in a broader landscape dominated by open pastures. The studies included counting parrotsat large nocturnal roosts, and the calculation of nest densities, and provided important natural history and conservation information on these species. In fact it is still used in making conservation assessments, but there has been uncertainty about whether these species of parrots could persist long-term in this landscape highly modified by man. It was not known if the parrots had moved from recently deforested areas into this pastoral landscape or if they could sustain their populations in the pasture habitats. BIRD SCENE 07


Habitat of cattle pastures with mature trees as found in Los Colorados Ranch. (LPF)

In the 20 years since the last work much has changed. Europe banned importation of wild caught birds in 2007 and Mexico passed a ban on the capture and sale of native birds in 2010. Both actions should have reduced the impact of the pet trade in the region. The region was heavily deforested by the early 1990’s, but the deforestation ban passed in the 1980’s has apparently reduced the rates of forest loss, because the region is no longer considered to be losing forest cover. Remote images of Google Earth show that there has been almost no loss of tree cover in the area from the early 1990s through 2011, suggesting that the habitat has remained relatively unchanged over the past 20 years. The reduction in deforestation and increased legal protection for wild parrots leads to cautious optimism about the fate of the 08

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wild parrot populations in Tamaulipas. However, enforcement of environmental laws is still weak and widespread illegal activity remains common. As a result, capture for the pet trade may remain high in rural areas like the coastal plain of Tamaulipas. During his work, Enkerlin-Hoeflich hypothesized that the three species of Amazona parrots would be able to survive in the highly impacted matrix of pasture with large isolated trees (about 85% of the landscape) and native forest fragments (about 15%) as long as poaching rates remained low. Testing the hypothesis that these Amazon parrots can survive in these highly impacted landscapes for > 20 years is of great importance to the conservation of these species, as it has broad implications for future conservation planning and


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The numbers of parrots detected per evening were higher than the average over the period 1992 – 1994 and were most similar to the values from 1992, the year with the highest counts from the original study. These results indicate that after 20 years the parrots are continuing to use this area successfully.

Green-cheeked Amazon (Roger Moore)

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Red-lored Amazon (Peter Tan)

Remote images of Google Earth show that there has been almost no loss of tree cover in the area from the early 1990s through 2011, suggesting that the habitat has remained relatively unchanged over the past 20 years.

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FEATURE landscape management. If true, it would suggest that work with ranch owners and their employees could go a long way to improve the conservation status of these birds in areas dominated by cattle grazing. Therefore the Loro Parque Fundación supported a follow-up project of Dr. Enkerlin-Hoeflich, together with Dr. Don Brightsmith of Texas A&M University, USA, to return to the same sites and repeat the methodologies to determine how the numbers of birds roosting and nesting in this field site has changed over the past 20 years. The immediate intention is to use the resulting information with other researchers to verify conservation status, set conservation priorities and create conservation plans for the endangered species A. oratrix and A. viridigenalis. Between April and July of 2013 the field coordinator, Jose Luis Manzano, conducted a total of 17 counts of the Amazon parrots as they arrived to roost in a forest patch in the same locality of the study area. On average 148 ± 38 parrots were detected going to roost. The numbers of parrots detected per evening were higher than the average over the period 1992 – 1994 and were most similar to the values from 1992, the year with the highest counts from the original study. These results indicate that after 20 years the parrots are continuing to use this area successfully. The numbers of Yellow-headed Amazons

coming to roost were much higher than the values recorded during the same months in 1992 – 1994. Throughout the 2013 season the roost counts averaged 85 ± 20 individuals per count which is much higher than the average of less than 15 from the same time period in 1992 – 1994. This finding is quite surprising given the reported grave status of this species in many areas of Mexico. The numbers of Green-cheeked Amazons were relatively high in April (70 individuals), but by May they had dropped to very low levels (3 ± 5 per count). The average value per count for 2013 (12 ± 17) was significantly lower than the average over the same period in 1992 – 1994 (29 ± 26). However, while these numbers are very low, they are similar to those recorded in 1993 and 1994. Therefore this species persists in this environment even though it has not shown the dramatic increase in numbers over the last 20 years like A. oratrix. The numbers of A. autumnalis coming to roost were about 20% higher in 2013 (40 ± 10 per count) than over similar date ranges in the 1990’s (33 ± 13 per count). To examine nesting densities, Jose Luis Manzano surveyed an area of 258 ha between April and July 2013, to locate and confirm parrot nests. The project located a total of 19 confirmed nests and an additional three probable nests. The most abundant nester was A. viridigenalis with eight confirmed nests, followed by

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FEATURE A. oratrix with six confirmed and two suspected and A. autumnalis with four confirmed and two suspected. Using the 258 ha, the estimated nest densities were 7.0 (confirmed) to 8.5 (suspected) nests per 100 hectares for all three species combined. Confirmed nesting density per 100 ha was 1.6 nests for A. autumnalis, 2.3 for A. oratrix and 3.1 for A. viridigenalis. The nesting densities for A. oratrix were 270% to 360% higher in 2013 than the average during 1993 to 1998. This increase is real as during the 1990s research teams never found eight or more nests of this species even though they searched an area roughly twice the size of that searched in 2013. The nest density of A. viridigenalis, was about 36% higher in 2013 than in 1993 to 1998. This likely represents a real increase, although not nearly as pronounced as that seen for A. oratrix. The nest density for A. autumnalis in 2013 was nearly identical to the 6 year average (1993 to 1998). However, given the late start on the field season (April – May in 2013 versus February – May in the 1990’s) and the smaller field team, the expectation was to find lower numbers of nests in the 2013 season, especially for A. autumnalis which is exceedingly cautious around its nest making its nests much more difficult to find. Additional nest searching effort would likely pay off a great deal more in finding nests of A. autumnalis and for this reason it is

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suspected that the actual nest densities of A. autumnalis may also be higher in 2013 than they were in the 1990’s. However, the results clearly show that all three species are still surviving and nesting at Los Colorados Ranch. Another factor is that the region is still in the grips of a serious drought, which began in 2010. Nevertheless, the visits to the research site confirm confirm the similarities in the 1993 habitat map and the 2010 Google Earth images. The nest data from 2013 show that there is still some nest-poaching happening, however the Los Colorados Ranch owner, as a result of his interest in the repeat project, now receives reports from his manager so as to maintain control of these kinds of activities on his land. This is good news for the Amazons of Tamaulipas.

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


BRAZIL 2016 Released to celebrate The Parrot Society’s 50th Anniversary, Brazil 2016 is a companion publication to Brazil 2011 and is again lavishly illustrated. Both volumes will be available at the Parrot Society stand at the forthcoming The Summer Show, organised by The Parrot Society UK, to be held on Sunday 2nd July, at Stafford County Showground, ST18 0BD. There will be a further discount for both editions purchased together. PARROT SOCIETY MAGAZINE: 13 PARROT SOCIETY MAGAZINE: 7


ZEBRA FINCHE BY KEN LOCKWOOD AND GERALD MASSEY

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t is always pleasing to hear of people who have decided to take up Zebra finches, whether it is as a collection of birds in a garden aviary or with a view to breeding and – eventually – exhibiting them. From time to time we are approached by newcomers who want to know where to get stock. We are always willing to advise. However, we firmly believe in putting first

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things first and council strongly against even beginning to look for birds until an adequate aviary or birdroom has been set up. It is best to build up a fund of knowledge before doing anything at all – and there are several ways of doing this starting with books. In our experience, some of the books available on Zebra finches offer very little in the way of


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ES practical advice that can be applied to the fancy in the UK today. We are referring in particular, to some publications from the USA. An admirable book, which we frequently recommend is Chris Blackwell’s ‘Keeping and breeding Zebra finches.’ These days videos have a great deal to offer hobbyists and in our branch of the fancy the best offering is Peter Harrison’s

‘Breeding Zebra Finches step by step.’ Other advice is available from the Zebra Finch Society. Then there is the Cage and Aviary Birds, which not only offers informative articles but also permits readers to keep up to date with what is happening in the fancy. There is a tendency for people who are interested in one particular type of bird to ignore the articles about other species.

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FEATURE This is a big mistake. Over the years we have learnt a great deal from articles about other branches of the hobby. In an article about budgerigars, Terry Pilkington related how he and his wife’s birds had benefitted from being given filtered water rather than water straight from the tap. We immediately began giving filtered water to our Zebras, still do and we are convinced that they are the better for it. Before setting up an aviary or birdroom it is best to visit an experienced Zebra finch fancier to get some idea about suitable layouts. Joining your local cage bird society will put you in touch with other bird keepers, but if you find difficulty making your own contacts, you can take advantage of the Zebra Finch Society’s area representative scheme. This puts you in touch with someone who not only knows a lot about Zebra finches, but also has local knowledge. When starting up in a hobby, people tend to worry about apparent problems that, to the experienced person, are really not important. Being able to get good advice, quickly, can make all the difference. Even if the birdroom you first visit is large and impressive, we advise starting with a fairly modest set up and to build up from that. It is a mistake to spend lots of money at the outset, just in case

you change your mind. Laying out a fortune and then breeding nothing in your first year can be so disheartening as to cause anyone to give up. As individual breeders, our progress, as far as the birdroom size is concerned, was similar. The first birdroom was a 6ft x 4ft shed. The next step was to 6ft x 10ft and then when that was outgrown to 12ft x 8ft. We now both have fairly large establishments, each measuring 12ft x 30ft. If you have no interest in pedigree and do not intend to show your birds, an aviary in which the birds fly freely is ideal – but take advice on how many pairs can be comfortably accommodated in the space available. If your intension is to exhibit, you need to breed your Zebra finches under controlled conditions and that means having cages, preferably within a birdroom. Once you have your birdroom erected (we will assume it is a timber

Even if the birdroom you first visit is large and impressive, we advise starting with a fairly modest set up and to build up from that. It is a mistake to spend lots of money at the outset, just in case you change your mind. Laying out a fortune and then breeding nothing in your first year can be so disheartening as to cause anyone to give up.

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construction) there are one or two refinements that can make life better for both you and your birds. Lining the walls with hardboard – melamine faces, if you can afford it, will give the room’s interior a pleasing appearance and also make it easier to keep clean. In our view it is essential to insulate the cavity between the outer wall and the lining. We also recommend installing a supply of electricity to the birdroom, though this is not a job to be undertaken by anyone who is not qualified to do it. For everything else, the ‘Do-it-yourself’ approach is acceptable, but electricity is far too dangerous to be messed about with by the amateur. Electric lighting is the main requirement – particularly by anyone who is out at work all day. In the middle of winter, many fanciers go out to work in the dark and by the time they return home it is dark once more. If you want to look after your birds properly and have time to observe them during winter evenings you need extra lights. One of the main considerations, when setting up a birdroom, is to avoid damp and draughts. Zebra finches can withstand the cold, but if damp and draughts are inflicted upon them it can damage their health. We have found that insulating a birdroom dramatically cuts down internal condensation – an insidious form of damp. With the room’s structure completed,

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you can now think about cages – their form, size and number. There is no simple answer to the question “How many cages should I start with?” It all depends on your circumstances. Our usual answer is “Having as many as you feel you can


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handle comfortably.” In practice, for newcomers, that usually translates to something between six and twelve cages. An ideal size for each individual cage unit, for one breeding pair, is 24 inches long x 15 inches high and 15 inches

deep. However, single cages are not the best solution. It is far better to have cages that are two or three times that length, which can be converted into individual units by inserting divider slides.

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Then, the removal of one or two slides can give different permutations of flight cages – up to 6 ft long. These are ideal for housing groups of birds, such as youngsters who are being weaned. As you become more established (and your birdroom gets bigger) inside flights can be installed. So now you are ready to acquire some birds. Another question we are frequently asked is “What are the best colours of Zebra finches to start with?” In our view, the best colours are the ones you like the best. It would be counterproductive for us to advise getting Normals when the colour that attracted a person to Zebra 20 BIRD SCENE

finches in the first instance was white. To begin with a colour that you are not very keen on is to risk becoming disillusioned. We would like to think that a newcomer to Zebra finches will still be keeping them in 10 years time. On the other hand, a newcomer with no hard and fast preferences might benefit by getting a few different colours and decide which ones he or she likes best after they have gained some experience of breeding them. Having said that, if you start with more than one colour it is best to choose those that can be used for interbreeding, from the exhibition standpoint. For example, Normals go well with Fawns and Chestnut


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Flanked Whites fit in well with Lightbacks. By contrast, Pieds and Penguins do not mix. If you were to interbreed with these colours, you would be highly unlikely to breed anything useful and, worse, could be setting back your exhibiting ambitions by some years. Your own local contact or ZFS area representative can be very useful at this stage putting you in touch with breeders who specialise in your chosen colours and have had some success with them. Having read about exhibition Zebrafinches and watched videos you should have some idea of the sort of birds you are looking for, but it is still best to choose a

Another question we are frequently asked is “What are the best colours of Zebra finches to start with?” In our view, the best colours are the ones you like the best. It would be counterproductive for us to advise getting Normals when the colour that attracted a person to Zebra finches in the first instance was white. breeder you feel you can trust and ask his advice – particularly about the way the birds you acquire should be paired. We have deliberately left the way you should feed your birds until this point because, if at all possible, you should base your feeding regime on that of the fancier/or fanciers who supplied you with

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your initial stock. Many will give you small quantities to last a few days until you can arrange for a regular supply. However the basic requirements are a seed mixture, an egg-based softfood, grit and water. As far as the seed is concerned foreign finch mixtures and mixed millets are suitable. We find the most economic and nutritious way of supplying our birds’ seed requirements is to use a milletrich budgerigar mixture – which also happens to be the cheapest in the suppliers range. There are more good proprietary, eggfood mixtures on the market now than there have ever been before. We find it difficult to understand why breeders buy

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a specifically-balanced product and then add other foods – such as more eggs or carrot – to them. Our grit mixture consists of small mineral grit and oyster shell, in equal quantities. Cuttlefish bone is also provided as are millet sprays. As already explained, we offer filtered tap water. The only additive we feed is a mineral/vitamin supplement that is added to the drinking water at the rate and frequency recommended by the manufacturer. Again there are lots of good products of this type on the market. With a good, balanced diet such as the one we have described we see no reason for feeding other ‘extras’ – home grown, collected from the wild or purchased.


BOOKS AND PRINTS: The Following Supplements & Titles are now out of print and unavailable:-

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BY DR CHRIS VAUGHAN

CONSERVATIO SCARLET MAC 24

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ello from Costa Rica. The scarlet macaw nesting season ends in about 6 weeks with the four nests timed so that chicks are fledging between the end of March and middle June. This has been important for taping nesting and so the public can observe the nesting cycle. On May 3, I will be talking with about 60 third and fourth graders from a local public school who have been using the scarlet macaw colouring books whose publication you helped fund in the past and been studying the nesting cycle from their school on TV screens (remember we have video cameras in the four nests).

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This has received several thousand hits from many countries. Then we bus the school children into the tourist resort protecting the nests. Former macaw poachers who work with me will lower the chicks so the children can see them. Most have been given names by the children during the camera observations. Neat, eh?? These children are our macaw stewards. Scarlet macaw numbers are in danger due to poaching for the pet trade and destruction of habitat. These huge, colourful birds require large, old trees to build their nests in. Their nesting trees have become quite scarce as development


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increases. Their reproduction cycle is fairly lengthy and includes: “nest searching (September/October), egg laying and incubation (DecemberFebruary), chick rearing and fledging (January-June).” During this time the chicks are very vulnerable to poaching. Latin America’s first M.S. wildlife management and conservation training program has been offered since 1985 at the International Institute for Wildlife Conservation and Management (ICOMVIS). In addition to the training programme, two other major objectives for ICOMVIS have included:

A) Developing ‘model’ wildlife management/conservation projects. B) Conducting wildlife outreach through information and technology transfer. Over 250 graduates have observed wildlife management in action and many have returned to their home countries to develop similar ‘model’ wildlife projects and outreach. Biologist Chris Vaughan and his team currently have four artificial nest boxes set up around Hotel and Club Punta Leona where they are monitored and protected. IDEA WILD provided a video camera for each nesting box of Scarlet macaws and

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an external hardrive to store the date for future analysis. These cameras feed to a website providing a live stream of the nests 24/7. This allows the general public access to some very interesting real-time data during the birds nesting cycle. This very unique experience further promotes their outreach and education model. Since this project commenced in the 1990’s it has become one of those ‘model’ projects combining ‘teaching, research and outreach’. It is believed that what they learn ‘live’ about the nesting cycle of this endangered species using modern technology (video cameras) will help

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ensure this species conservation and coexistence of humans and wildlife. The team includes two former Scarlet macaw poachers who climb trees to place cameras in nests and artificial nest boxes which they designed and built and will visit schools to talk about the Scarlet macaw. With environmental education programmes in local schools consisting of Scarlet macaw colouring books, (whose production was supported by IDEA and The Parrot Society) and communities and government legal protection, the poaching level lowered and now the


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Scarlet macaw population is starting to expand. With this modernisation using nest cameras, around 80 local grade school children are studying the nesting ecology in the four nests on school screens, with parents at home and/or on their i-phones and writing down observations to discuss in classes. Let us all hope that this long term project continues to see the numbers of Scarlet macaws increasing in Costa Rica. “Latin America’s first M.S. wildlife management & conservation training program has been offered since 1985 at the International Institute for Wildlife Conservation and Management (ICOMVIS) (Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica). In addition to the training program, two other major objectives for ICOMVIS have included: a) developing “model” wildlife management/conservation projects and 30

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

b) conducting wildlife outreach through information and technology transfer. Over 250 graduates (and others) have observed wildlife management in action and many have returned to their home countries to develop similar “model” wildlife projects and outreach. IDEA WILD has provided financial assistance to ICOMVIS since 1993.”


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BUDGERIGAR PRIVATE SALES TABLES SOCIETY EVENT AT FOR BIRDS ONLY SAME VENUE RUN UNDER DEFRA ❖ INVITES TO GUIDELINES NATIONAL AND SPECIALIST SET UP SATURDAY CLUBS TO PROMOTE THEMSELVES AFTERNOON/EVENING OR EARLY SUNDAY ❖ NOT EXPENSIVE MORNING – WE WANT TO FILL THIS LARGE HALL DOORS OPEN 10AM ❖ COME TO SURREY SUNDAY MORNING - & TAKE PLENTY OF MONEY ❖ AT LAST, SOMETHING IN THE ❖ PLENTY OF FREE SOUTH – SO SUPPORT PARKING IT!

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WRITTEN BY: JOHN MOLLINDINIA

E N O T R PA

A MILLENNIUM TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

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s we enter into the 21st Century and I look back at my time in the hobby, I sometimes wonder how modern bird keepers of today would have coped with he fancy as it was in the early 1930s when I started in bird keeping with British Hardbills. I changed to showing and breeding budgerigars when I joined the Luton Cage Bird Society in 1935.

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Whilst the fanciers of all those years ago could buy Cage & Aviary Magazine as we still can today, he/she was unable to obtain all the paraphernalia that is offered today, indeed many of the things we have for our birds and take for granted hadn’t been invented or thought of then. In 1946 when I was demobbed from the Army Royal Engineers there was no


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counselling for those poor souls who had been in German and Japanese hands and no compensation. We were all left to solve our own problems. Likewise, but to a much lesser degree we all had to resolve our own problems in the bird fancy. Cage breeding had only recently come into vogue, giving us at long last a way to choose and keep records of individual

pairings. Before then we had all been used to colony breeding, and had to put up with the problems that this system caused. With the innovation of the breeding cage came another one, the Nest box, before then we had used the outer fibrous husk of a coconut as a breeding receptacle for budgies. These were quite a flimsy affair and many times the budgies

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Nowadays we just do not have the variety of seed we had then. In fact several countries have stopped growing seed altogether for bird consumption. Long gone and with wonderful names to match the excellent seeds, we could obtain Super Mammoth Canary Seed, Mammoths Spanish Canary Seed and Smyrna White Millet.

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FEATURE would chew a hole in the bottom, and their eggs and chicks would fall out. Seed merchants of that era were Haiths, Brinkler Osborne and Young (BOY), Wood’s of Kirton, Boston, Lincs. Laings and the importers R Simon, whose seed came straight from the London docks in 2 ¼ cwt sacks (252lbs or 18 stones) much to the exasperation of Railway staff and fanciers alike, and was very probably the cause of one or two hernias. Nowadays we just do not have the variety of seed we had then. In fact several countries have stopped growing seed altogether for bird consumption. Long gone and with wonderful names to match the excellent seeds, we could obtain Super Mammoth Canary Seed, Mammoths Spanish Canary Seed and Smyrna White Millet. Back then British Railways had a vast network throughout the British Isles. If I was showing birds a porter from the railway would pick them up in a van from my home, he would then take them to the station, put them on the correct train and at their destination they would be taken off and transferred by railway employees to the Show Hall. At the end of the show, the birds were picked up, put on the right

train and then delivered back to my home. I never lost a single bird. If we were showing locally in St Albans, Hitchin, Watford, Hemel Hempstead or Bedford we all took our birds to a central point from where the birds would then be transported by a van hired by our own club. At the time Luton, St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Watford were part of the Beds and Herts interclub. Each club would take it in turn once every fourth year to host and run a combined show. In the old days the only material available for keeping birds in aviaries and cages was chicken wire. Cages were often old wooden orange boxes that were very durable. Later Twilweld came on the market. Now there is so much choice with all kinds of shapes, sizes and wire gauges available. Similarly there is now so much on the market that is said to ensure the health and vitality of our birds. Vitamins, minerals and supplements of all kinds which are claimed to ensure that whatever variety of bird you breed, by feeding this or that chemical brew, it will give you super fit parent birds with bumper nests of full eggs and healthy chicks, when in fact the breeding cycles and results are no different

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to what they were years ago without all these potions. They have all this modern technology and know how and still there is not cure for French Moult (FM) and the virus known as Parrot Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) or for that matter the common cold. In the past we would have to resort to Epsom salts, Syrup of Hypo-phosphites, Glaubers salts and the Syrup of Buckthorn. Other remedies were whisky and gin. I was however and still am a great believer in cold tea and still use it on my birds today. In 1925 I moved into my current house with my parents. It was the last house in Luton and we could look across to Warden Hills. There were fields everywhere and the only landmarks we could see were the Biscot Mill Farm and Windmill. As youngsters, we used to roam in safety all over the area, collecting chickweed, groundsel and the various grasses in season, they were free from any form of pesticide and we were free from the threat of child molesters and paedophiles. Apart from walking the bus and the bicycle were the main forms of transport locally. Nowadays we have so many different pelleted and other forms of controlled diets made especially for Parrots, including dried fruit and nut mixes, and a large number of treat foods. There are tapes to keep them company and aid

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speech, harnesses to take them for walkies and I am now told there are Parrot councillors for behavioural problems. Whatever our views may be of the pros and cons on these modern methods of feeding, the hand rearing complete foods we have available today were a major breakthrough compared to our own made up mixes. These were concocted from all manner of items found in the food cupboard and were never the same balanced ratio of ingredients at each feed. I wonder now how we ever managed to hand rear chicks, be we did. A major advance in the breeding of parrots came with surgical sexing; it was evolved by a South African vet who did well in the UK at the start with the new procedure. A friend of mine had what he thought were seven pairs of parrots that were mostly Amazons. He had all 14 of them sexed, and discovered that he had 13 cocks and 1 hen. The single pair he had never did go to nest. DNA feather sexing has now followed this, it is just as reliable but without the risks from anaesthesia and infection. In the old days many people believed in the needle and cotton method of sexing and even today some folk have this ability and feel it is a practical way of sex determination. In the two previous issues of the club’s history, I have mentioned fanciers past and present who have played their part in the club management.


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A friend of mine had what he thought were seven pairs of parrots that were mostly Amazons. He had all 14 of them sexed, and discovered that he had 13 cocks and 1 hen.


Nowadays we have so many different pelleted and other forms of controlled diets made especially for Parrots, including dried fruit and nut mixes, and a large number of treat foods.


FEATURE One former fancier who regularly comes year by year to our Open Show is Charlie “Yorkie” Robinson who was our Treasurer. At that time we paid out prize money per class and after each show he would compile a profit and loss sheet for each of the classes in the show. In the 1960’s Roy Wilson MA DSC was an active member of the society and was also on the Committee. He kept British, Budgies, Canaries and Parrot like birds. He was well known for his articles and talks on genetics and bird welfare throughout the UK. Not many clubs that run open shows can hope to come out on top financially in running such an event as the overheads are far too high. Many clubs across the country have stopped having open shows and several clubs have ceased to exist. Annual subscription rates have never kept pace with the cost of living and people are always reluctant to pay more. However, the money has to be raised somehow and many clubs like Luton who run successful open shows every year have to find ways to raise sufficient money to pay for such an event. Our monthly auctions have proved to be the major fundraiser for the Society. Luton has been most fortunate in having Mo Dobbs to organise the monthly auction and also for his gifted ability in both fund raising and acquiring raffle prizes for both our Open and Members shows. It has not been easy but Mo has that persuasive manner.

It is a sad irony that we appear to have more non members attending our auctions than club members. Some of these people often travel many miles to visit and most agree it is a good social evening once a month. We are introducing a new Auctioneer from the January meeting. Without these auctions we could not run either an Open or Members show each year. So please attend whenever you can. It is the last Thursday of the month at Lilley Village Hall 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start. It is the same old faces that help both set up and clear away the tables at the auctions. Why not help ease their burden especially if you want the Open and Members shows to continue. Our thanks to all the many helpers in the kitchen who provide all the food and drink and do the washing up. Also to Tony Philip who buys the shopping for both the Refreshments and Raffle Prizes.

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DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND… A big “Thank You” to Dennis Croxford who has the art of selling the Raffle Tickets both at the Auctions and the two shows. One new person who has recently become a committee member is Kate Ison. Kate always attends meetings, auctions and the shows. She has helped in so many ways especially with all the work she does for us on her computer. This includes the master copies of the schedules and patronage booklets. Kate also arranges the Patronage from the Specialist Societies for each section of the Open show. 40

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CLICK THE LINK BELOW: http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/donations.php

She produces all our Newsletters as well, so if you have any birdie knowledge or articles of interest to share with us all then please send or give them to Kate to enable her to continue to provide us all with future newsletters. Continues in the Autumn edition...


C&A classified 01-11:C&A classified 03-03

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BY LES RANCE

THE NATIONA EXHIBITION 8TH OCTOBER 2017

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n contrast to the dry bright day for our 2016 Show the weather was wet on Sunday morning but the ticketing system meant that all our members with prepaid entry wrist bands could enter the Halls quickly after 7.30 am. The sale of hobbyist breeding stock both from our member’s and non member’s tables who can sell finches, canaries and budgerigars but not other members of the parrot family was very well supported with over 640 tables in the Bingley Hall and

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Prestwood Centre. A large number of hobbyist bred stock found new homes from the buyers who came in large numbers. There is no doubt that The National Exhibition is the leading and most popular bird show held in this country for hobbyist bird breeders, not just because of the sales tables but also the Exhibition that is held in the Argyle and Sandylands Centres. There is something for everyone available from the 60+ traders who so generously support this event,


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AL especially from our sponsor Johnston & Jeff Ltd the leading UK seed supplier. The exhibition in the Argyle and Sandylands Centres organised with the assistance of the 18 clubs that support this event continues to receive good support. This judged event was as popular as ever with many high class birds on view. Crystal glass rose bowls were kindly donated by Ray Howells of Birds and Things for best bird in Show and by Steve Roach of Rosemead Aviaries for the best

junior exhibit their generous donations for these valuable awards are very much appreciated. Cage and Aviary Birds give the Exhibition a special supplement in their publication so that all their readers are aware of which clubs to contact to enter their exhibition stock into the Show. Again Neil Randle our magazine designer took a 1,000 images on the day so that we have plenty for the next twelve months. Please do enjoy the pictures on the following pages.

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