44 Bird Scene - Autumn 2019

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BIRD ISSUE FORTY FOUR: AUTUMN 2019

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THE MAGAZINE FOR HOBBYIST BREEDERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS

LES RANCE

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THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION 6TH OCTOBER 2019

W IN 2N TE D RE D D 20 ECE ITIO 19 M N BE O R U

LANEY RICKMAN BLUE-THROATED MACAW RESERVE

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KEEPING BUDGERIGARS IN A COLONY


Nuts in Shell, Kernels & Dried Fruits! Macadamias & Brazils out of shell Almonds, Hazels <FILBERTS>, Pecans, Peanuts & Walnuts in shell & out of shell < Kernels > (In shell, kernels & Dried Fruits NUTRIENTS INTACT) Small & Large orders MENTION = PARROT SOCIETY AT CHECKOUT TO GET 5% OFF ON ORDERS OVER £150 ON LINE ORDERS WEBSITE: www.afnuts.com EMAIL: sales@allnut.com / TEL: 01268 710850

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THE MANUAL of COLOUR BREEDING PRICE REDUCTION!! on remaining copies, now only £20 each plus p&p UK £5, p&p world £10 THE ROSELLAS PRICE REDUCTION!! On remaining copies, now only £5 each plus p&p UK £5, p&p world £10

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CONTENTS BIRD SCENE: AUTUMN 2019

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

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KEEPING BUDGERIGARS IN A COLONY Les Rance LANEY RICKMAN: BLUE-THROATED MACAW RESERVE Armonia 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PARROT SOCIETY UK By Alan Jones

ON THE COVER

BIRD ISSUE FORTY FOUR: AUTUMN 2019

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THE MAGAZINE FOR HOBBYIST BREEDERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS

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WINTER: PREVENTING LOSSES By Rosemary Low

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LES RANCE

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THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION 6TH OCTOBER 2019

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LANEY RICKMAN BLUE-THROATED MACAW RESERVE

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IN 2N TER D ED D IT 20 ECEM IO 19 N BER

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THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION 2019 Les Rance

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KEEPING BUDGERIGARS IN A COLONY

BIRD SCENE: Issue Forty Four: Autumn 2019 BIRD SCENE is run by The Parrot Society UK, Audley House, Northbridge Road, Berkhamsted HP4 1EH, 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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Les Rance, Editor, The Parrot Society UK | www.theparrotsocietyuk.org | les.rance@

INTRODUCT I

am writing this Introduction on 19th August and as I do I think of the 2019 breeding season that has in just two words ‘been challenging’ as far as breeding successes have been concerned. Generally I keep the same stock each year and carry out similar management, my birds are used to their aviaries and the excellent array of food that they receive but those constants have not produced results as good as 2017 and 2018, in my opinion the blame lays squarely with the weather, it has been too cold and changeable for most of this summer and my results have not been as good as the previous two years. I know of UK breeders who have had success with their stock but generally they are in the minority. I think the Report for 2019 will read ‘Could have done better’ it reminds me of my school days!! There is no doubt that bird breeding is not an easy past-time, there are many challenges that we encounter and we need to spend a considerable amount of time both looking after our stock and watching our birds to decide what we can do to help them have an easier and less stressed life. However, I guess that if bird keeping and breeding was easy we would soon lose interest 04

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in the hobby. In the UK because of our maritime climate we have not been so affected by global warming, only this week I had a visit from a German hobbyist breeder who told me that in northern Bavaria where he lives it is becoming too hot in the summer to breed his small parakeets. He has been forced to move the birds indoors and breed them in the winter even though it is cold at this time of the year and he has to supply heating to the rooms he uses for his birds. As a comparison last year I wrote ‘For many years bird keeping has been a relaxing past-time, however, for hobbyist breeders that keep their birds in unheated aviaries through the poor weather experienced this spring and it did not last long, it can also be a worrying time, however, now that the weather is much warmer the birds seem more relaxed and there are plenty of reports that birds are breeding well this year in the UK. 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 there is an article by myself on my experiences with Budgerigars which I spent quite a considerable time writing, I do hope


@theparrotsocietyuk.org

TION

BY THE EDITOR

you enjoy it. Also we are starting the serialisation on the presentations by leading international speakers who attended our 50th Anniversary celebrations at Chester Zoo which were skilfully written by our Chairman Alan Jones, there is a vast amount of interesting information within and I am sure you will learn a great deal from studying them. As the evenings start to draw in each week it is time to consider how we protect our birds in their aviaries, I am certain you will find the article by Rosemary Low ‘Winter: Preventing Losses’ of particular help in suggesting actions you can take to help your birds. This is now the forty fourth edition of Bird Scene, how quickly eight 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! We are always happy to receive articles about the species that are being exhibited at The National

LES RANCE

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 which will be held on Sunday 6th October 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

LES RANCE

(Budgerigars) have that wonderful balance of a playful inquisitive personality and good intelligence and for a small bird their talking ability is well known.

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KEEPING BUDGERIGARS IN A COLONY

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udgerigars have for many years been a very popular bird to keep and as they are easy to manage they are an ideal bird for the beginner. With so many different colours they appeal to a wide range of bird keepers and pet owners who find Budgerigars to be great companions and the ideal pet, especially if the owners are not able to keep larger parrot species due to space restrictions. Baby Budgerigars at eight weeks of age are feeding themselves and at this age they are easy to train especially if you only have one bird as they are keen to join a ‘family’ and bond with a human. They have that wonderful balance of a playful inquisitive personality and good intelligence and for a small bird their talking ability is well known. In a colony when you approach their aviary they will come to the front to greet you, they seem genuinely pleased to welcome you and show great interest

in you. This is very pleasing for the owner and gives you great pleasure as it allows you to easily interact with your birds. Budgerigars are a native of Australia and have a nomadic lifestyle following the rain clouds around the dry interior of this vast country, when the clouds finally deposit their rain the grass seeds sprout and quickly grow in the ideal damp and warm environment. The Budgerigars use these conditions to find a location to nest and raise a family as the grasses produce their green seeds which are

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eagerly eaten and fed to the babies. The wild Budgerigar is green which gives it good camouflage and some protection from the native hawks that predate the flocks, some of which are large if the rains have been plentiful. It is the availability of the rains that stimulate the birds into breeding condition, whereas our wild birds in the UK are generally stimulated by increased daylight which indicates the weather will warm and then there will be an increase in insects and other food to help our birds raise healthy youngsters.

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During the summer of 2016 I decided to dedicate one of my twelve foot long outside aviaries to a colony of Budgerigars and once I saw the excellent stock owned by my good friend Gerald Massey I knew where my new birds were going to come from! At our summer show at Stafford I booked four pairs of 2016 bred youngsters for delivery at The National Exhibition in October. When the day of delivery arrived I was very excited and really looking forward to seeing the birds that Gerald had selected for me, I was not disappointed because they were


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fabulous. The feathering was excellent, they all had tail feathers and there were no missing wing feathers, they could all fly strongly and were a wonderful mixture of colours, I was delighted. Their aviary was fitted with eight identical nest boxes all hung at the same height of five feet above the sand floor and protected from the rain by a glass fibre roof which covers ¾ of the length of the flight allowing the last three feet to give the Budgerigars access to rain and natural light. If the nest boxes are not identical and hung at various heights

When the day of delivery arrived I was very excited and really looking forward to seeing the birds that Gerald had selected for me, I was not disappointed because they were fabulous. there is invariably competition for the highest box as this is regarded as the prime residential location for a pair of Budgerigars and it is quite possible that they will fight for that box. Consequently all my boxes are the same size and hung

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Their standard seed is 50/50 Budgerigar mixture which is 50% canary seed and 50% mixed millets. I provide this in steep sided bowls to reduce waste, placing them on the feeding tray about four feet above the aviary floor. on the wire of the aviary all at the exact same height. They are of a small parakeet style with eight staples on the inside below the entrance hole to form a ladder for the birds to climb down to the wooden concave where they lay their eggs, the top of the box lifts off for nest box inspection and to ring the babies. One great advantage of breeding in a colony is that the birds can pair with the partner of their choice. This does appear to give greater fertility and hence larger clutches. My young Budgerigars rapidly

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settled into their accommodation and were soon investigating the nest boxes and this was early October. By November I was close ringing youngsters with 2016 rings with my initials on them and the parents were also wearing 2016 rings! This just shows how eager, fit healthy well feathered Budgerigars are to reproduce. They are fed plenty of green food, Chickweed is a favourite and also germinated wheat and oats which is greatly relished and my home made egg food each day. Their standard seed is 50/50 Budgerigar mixture which is 50% canary seed and 50% mixed millets. I provide this in steep sided bowls to reduce waste, placing them on the feeding tray about four feet above the aviary floor. They also have two smaller


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seed dishes placed on a tea tray on the floor of the aviary as Budgerigars love to forage for food on the floor of the flight, often as many as twenty birds will be on the floor at any one time. The tea tray is ideal because it is light but strong and any husks can easily be removed from the flight and the tray washed in my bird room kitchen to keep it clean. Budgerigars should be provided with fresh water every day, in the summer if it is warm it is preferable to change their water both evening and morning because they have a habit of placing green food in the water and I do not want it to start

fermenting. The smaller pet type Budgerigars are prolific breeders, not infrequently they will lay 7 white eggs in a clutch, they lay every other day so a clutch of 7 eggs will take 14 days to produce, they start to incubate after they

Budgerigars should be provided with fresh water every day, in the summer if it is warm it is preferable to change their water both evening and morning because they have a habit of placing green food in the water and I do not want it to start fermenting.


have their first egg and with an incubation period of 18 days the first babies hatch well before the eggs 4,5,6 and seven which means that these babies are at a disadvantage as the early babies are becoming quite large before the last ones hatch and often number 7 does not survive even though the hens are feeding all the babies. You should aim to close ring your babies to make record keeping possible. When ringing at between five and eight days of age I hold the baby in one hand with a foot grasped between my first finger and thumb, then the ring is slipped over the two longest toes, along the foot and up the leg shank, I then pull the two remaining toes through the ring with my fingers or a small pointed stick, I do find that some of my own saliva placed on and inside the ring does help this exercise especially if the baby is a

Fit healthy young Budgerigars will fly from the nest box when they are five to six weeks old at which point they are fully feathered. The brood of youngsters can be removed from the parents when the youngest has been out of the nest box for eight days as they will all be feeding themselves by that time.

bit larger than the norm as the saliva acts as a lubricant. Fit healthy young Budgerigars will fly from the nest box when they are five to six weeks old at which point they are fully feathered. The brood of youngsters can be removed from the parents when the youngest has been out of the nest box for eight days as they will all be feeding themselves by that time. Although in an aviary environment I tend to leave them there for several months so that they can learn ‘life skills’ from their parents and other adults present. Of the 70 babies bred in 2017 I have not had a single baby with an undershot beak which is normally caused by a build up of food that lodges on the inside of both the upper and lower mandibles, this food becomes very hard but can be quite easily removed with a match stick. Also I have not experienced

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‘messy feeders’ where the parents deposit their regurgitated seed all around the face of their youngsters whilst feeding them. These pet type Budgerigars are excellent parents with high vitality and a great desire to breed. With most of the colour mutations it is easy to tell the sex of individuals, just look at the cere, the area above the upper mandible, it will be

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blue for cocks and brown for the hens. When building an aviary for your Budgerigars the best wire to use is weldmesh with a size of ½” x 1” you can use the thin 19 gauge which is cheaper but I prefer the heavier 16 gauge because if in the future you want to keep a larger species such as Eastern Rosellas the 16 gauge would be fine for them whereas the


FEATURE 19 gauge might be chewed through and your birds escape. In addition the 16 gauge is easier to work with especially if you are using wood rather than tubular aluminium as the main structure. Your design will be dictated by the space you have available but do remember that it is preferable to have a plastic roof over 75% of the top and provision to stop the cold winter winds blowing through the flight. An inside shelter where you can fit an electric light and dimmer to increase the feeding time during the winter months will make life easier for them to cope with the winter conditions. You must also ensure that the structure is rat proof by including suitable footings as a base, once rats get into an aviary they are difficult to eradicate and will kill and eat your birds. If you keep Budgerigars in an outside aviary with a grass floor you should consider the possibility of a build up of intestinal worm eggs that stay viable for long periods in the damp conditions of such a floor. I once had a light green hen breeding with four babies in such a set up and found her dead one morning. When I checked at post mortem she had thirty four ¾” long worms in her intestine. Fortunately the cock raised the four babies. By using sand on the floor and keeping this dry by using a plastic roof over the majority of the flight the worm eggs quickly dry up when they fall on the sand and cannot turn into worms if the bird ingests the dried up worm egg.

This year I selected 6 pairs of my 2018 bred budgerigars to breed with, these are all blue series colours and I placed these in a 15feet long aviary. All the hens laid their eggs fairly close together which allowed me to move the youngsters around between nest boxes so that each hen had youngsters that were roughly the same size, which gave each baby a much better chance of not getting crushed by a much larger nest mate. In the first round 19 youngsters were produced and are happily flying in the aviary with the parents. The second round is progressing well with 18 young hatched by 19th August and I am fairly certain that I will get a few more yet. I guess that by the end of the second round there will be at least 38 youngsters from the original 12 parents, a very satisfactory year for these Budgerigars.

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

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In 2018 The Parrot Society donated $4,000 to Asociacion Armonia to assist them with the project reported below

LANEY RICKMAN

BLUE-THROATED MACAW RESERVE BY: ARMONIA

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Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Marton Hardy

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sociación Armonía created a second Blue-throated Macaw Reserve in August 2018, the Laney Rickman Reserve (681ha/1.683ac). This reserve is protecting vital breeding habitat in the Southern subpopulation. The 2018-2019 breeding season was highlighted with the highest ever reproduction result since Armonía started the nest box program. A total of 9 nest boxes were used and 12 Blue-throated Macaw chicks fledged into the wild population. A total of 81 Blue-throated Macaws left Armonía’s nest boxes to date. 1. Laney Rickman Reserve Goals Our main goals for 2019-2020 to ensure a continuous development and protection of the Laney Rickman Blue-throated Macaw Reserve are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Protect and increase vital breeding habitat for the Blue-throated Macaw Increase nest cavity availability (nest boxes) Establish Visitor/Interpretation Centre for local education • Quarterly visits from local schools learning about conservation • Establish basic visitor infrastructure (toilets & research dormitory) Create impenetrable firebreaks throughout the reserve Create wildlife friendly fencing around the reserve’s perimeter Begin small scale ranching (100 head of cattle) to fulfill governmental requirements Establish a Blue-throated Macaw monitoring protocol Study southern subpopulation Blue-throated Macaw local movement BlueBlueBlueBlue-throated BIRD SCENE 17


Figure 1: Laney Rickman Blue-throated Macaw Reserve is located 42 kilometers south of Trinidad (Beni department capital), and 213 kilometers southeast of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve (Armonía’s first reserve to protect Blue-throated Macaw habitat). Armonía protect vital Blue-throated Macaw habitat in 2 isolated subpopulations (estimated subpopulation range indicated in light green).

2. Reserve Creation The Laney Rickman Blue-throated Macaw Reserve was established on the 28th of August 2018 to protect the most important breeding habitat of the endemic and Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) southern subpopulation. The reserve measures 681ha/1.683ac and is located in the Loreto municipality, Beni Department, Bolivia (fig. 1). With the support from the Parrot Society UK, Van Tienhoven Foundation and Susan Hillard, Armonía was able to kickstart this new Blue-throated Macaw Reserve with many management activities: contracting our new park guard Cesar Flores (world’s most knowledge expert on Blue-throated Macaw nest box monitoring) (fig.2), the placement 18

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of the “Laney Rickman Reserve sign” (fig.3), patrolling the reserve with our newly purchased quad-bike (fig.4), and helping to gain local support through presenting our conservation actions at municipal and departmental events.

Figure 2. Cesar Flores, Armonía’s new park guard for the Laney Rickman Blue-throated Macaw Reserve who has been working for Armonía since 2009. Picture taken by Marton Hardy.


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Figure 4, above: Armonía’s park guard Cesar Flores (left) and Tjalle Boorsma (right) planning patrolling activities with the newly purchased quad-bike (supported by International Conservation Fund of Canada, IUCNNL, Parrot Society UK and World Land Trust). Picture taken by Marton Hardy. Figure 3, left: With support from the Van Tienhoven Foundation we kickstarted management activities within the Laney Rickman Reserve including the placement of the “Laney Rickman Reserve entrance sign”, thanking the donors who helped purchasing this new reserve. Picture taken by Tjalle Boorsma.

3. Nest box Program (2018-2019 breeding season) Summary The 2018-2019 breeding season resulted in the best nest box year ever: highest number of occupied nest boxes (9) and highest number of successfully fledged chicks (12) (table 2). This year’s nest box program received support from ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo, International Conservation Fund of Canada, IUCN-Netherlands and Parrot Society UK. The 12 chicks fledged from 6 different nest boxes, and were all located in the Laney Rickman Reserve.

Through Armonía’s 14-year nest box program, 81 Blue-throated Macaw chicks successfully fledged into the wild. A total of 5 breeding birds were confirmed to be ringed individuals, fledged from Armonía’s nest boxes in previous years, returning to breed. These are important indicators of increasing population recruitment where fledged birds survive and reproduce, showing the successfulness of this program. The first ringed individuals used our nest boxes in 2015 (for more

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Figure 5 left: Successfully fledged Blue-throated Macaw chicks in nest box PBA18 (SA1: St Augustine Alligator Farm). The largest chick fledged on the 9th of march, followed by the other two chicks on the 18th of March. Picture taken by Cesar Flores. Figure 7 inset left: Luis Miguel Barbosa (Reserve Coordinator Assistant) installing new nest boxes in the Laney Rickman Reserve for the 2018-2019 breeding season. A total of 10 new nest boxes were placed, 8 refurbished and 60 made ready for the Macaws to occupy. Picture taken by Marton Hardy.

information watch: https://www.facebook. com/AFABirds/videos/460776861070056/). Also, Armonía created a nest box that stopped competition for breeding cavities between the common and abundant Blueand-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) and the endemic Blue-throated Macaw (fig.9). In 2013 we decreased the entrance hole to 10 by 10 cm, preventing Blue-and-yellow Macaws from using them. The 3 Blue-andYellow Macaws that did us the nest boxes this year, literary made their own entrance through destroying the walls.

Results 2018-2019 breeding season A total of 60 nest boxes were prepared (fig.5) for the 2018-2019 breeding season: 43 in Laney Rickman Reserve; 12 in La Cantina ranch; and 5 in Las Trancas ranch. We decided not to prepare nest boxes in the Santa Rosa ranch (low costs benefit) monitored in previous years, due to low success rates in the past and logistical difficulties faced during the rainy season (extreme flooding). Preparation of nest boxes included the placement of 10 new boxes, refurbishing 8 boxes, removing wasp and bee nests and putting timber scrapings in all 60 boxes used for breeding bed. A total of 20 nest boxes (33% occupancy rate) were used by 6 different birds species (table 1 & annex 1): Blue-throated Macaws (9); Blue-and-Yellow Macaw (3); Chestnutfronted Macaw (2); White-eyed Parakeet (1); Black-bellied Whistling Duck (6); and an unidentified Woodpecker (1).

Table 1 (above). Summary of nest box usage by different species in the reproductive period of 2018-2019. A total of 20 nest boxes were used divided over 2 locations (16 in Laney Rickman Reserve & 4 in La Cantina). A total of 2 nest boxes have been used by 2 different species (more detailed information in annex 1) BIRD SCENE

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Of the 9 occupied nest boxes by Bluethroated Macaws (table 2 & annex 2), 8 were located in the Laney Rickman Reserve (fig. 6) and 1 in the La Cantina ranch. A total of 25 eggs were produced, 15 chicks hatched, of which 12 chicks successfully fledged. A

total of 5 breeding individuals were ringed, fledged from Armonía’s nest boxes in previous years. Three of the 9 occupied Bluethroated Macaw nest boxes have been used by Blue-throated Macaws in previous years, indicating favorable breeding conditions.

Table 2 (above). Summary of nest boxes used by the Blue-throated Macaw in the 2018-2019 breeding season. A total of 9 nest boxes were occupied, 25 eggs produced, 15 chicks hatched and 12 chicks successfully fledged. This makes 2018-2019 the most successful breeding season since Armonía started the Blue-throated macaw nest box program in 2005. LR is Laney Rickman Reserve (more detailed information in annex 1 & 2). Figure 6. Location of occupied nest boxes in the Laney Rickman Reserve presenting the acronyms of the sponsors. Red indicator points show occupied Bluethroated Macaw nests of which 12 chicks successfully fledged. A total of 4 nest boxes were occupied in the La Cantina property of which 1 nest box was occupied by Blue-throated Macaw but failed (these nest boxes are not indicated in the map).


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Asociación Armonía nest box program: Tjalle Boorsma

Long-term results Armonía’s nest box program Armonía’s nest box program started 14 years ago through the support from Loro Parque Fundación and the Bird Endowment with the Nidos Adiptivos Program. In 2005 we placed 20 nest boxes which resulted in a 100% occupancy by a number of bird species including 1 Blue-throated Macaw pair. This clearly indicated limited natural cavity availability as well as the nest boxes being an attractive breeding environment. Since then a total of 55 nest boxes have been used by the Blue-throats. A total of 146 eggs were produced, 99 chicks hatched of which 81 Blue-throated Macaws successfully fledged into the wild (fig. 8). Our 14-year nest box program showed on average a 31% egg loss (infertile eggs,

damaged eggs or predated eggs) and an 11% mortality rate of hatched chicks. Chicks that died in the nest boxes were the smallest chicks often hatched long after the oldest individuals. Little information is available on the survival rate of the fledged birds, but the return of ringed individuals during the 20172018 and the 2018-2019 breeding season is a promising indicator demonstrating the success of this program. Over time, Armonía created a nest box that stopped competition for breeding cavities between the common and abundant Blueand-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) and the endemic Blue-throated Macaw. At the start of the program entrance holes measured 12 by 25 cm. In 2013 we changed the entrance hole to 10 by 10 cm. Before 2013 between 15 to 27 nest boxes were occupied by Blue-andyellows, while after 2013 we reduced it to a maximum occupancy of 3 nest boxes (including years with 0 nest box usage) (Fig. 9). BIRD SCENE

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Figure 8. Nest box occupancy of Blue-throated Macaw and number of fledglings presented over the 14 years of Armonía’s nest box program. The 2018-2019 breeding season resulted in the highest ever Blue-throated Macaw nest box occupancy (9) and the highest ever number of successfully fledged chicks (12). Over the 14 years, a total of 81 Blue-throated Macaws successfully fledged Armonía’s nest boxes

Figure 9. Nest box occupancy of Blue-throated Macaw vs Blue-and-yellow Macaw presented over the 14 years of Armonía’s nest box program. Since Armonía started experimenting with entrance size (from 12 by 25cm to 10 by 10cm) between 2013 and 2015, competition between these large macaws significantly dropped.

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BY

ALAN JONES

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PARROT SOCIETY UK

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FOLLOWING OUR 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS AT CHESTER ZOO ALAN JONES WROTE REPORTS ON ALL THE PRESENTATIONS FROM THE EXCELLENT INTERNATIONAL SPEAKERS WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THE WEEKEND. THESE REPORTS WERE VERY DETAILED AND I FEEL THAT THEY ARE VERY WORTH REPRODUCING IN BIRD SCENE. I DO HOPE THAT YOU ENJOY READING THEM. LES RANCE EDITOR

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s we approach the end of 2016, we can look back at fifty years of the Parrot Society and our marking of this landmark year with pride. Aside from our usual open days at various venues around the country, our local meetings in

various areas, and our national shows at Stafford, our magazine has recorded in June this year an historical look back at the Society from its formation by Norman Cooper in 1966. This article contained extracts and pictures from early

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magazines, and charted the progress of shows, membership, and conservation projects. In May several PS members visited Brazil to see three of these conservation projects first hand. The whole Brazilian adventure has been detailed in the commemorative book ‘Brazil 2016 – Conservation in Action’, now available at all our shows and on-line via our website. All profits from the sale of this book will go back to the PSUK Conservation Fund. Throughout the year, the specially designed 50th anniversary logo has marked this milestone, and celebrations culminated with our highly successful and wellreceived anniversary seminar at Chester Zoo in September.

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The quality of speakers and the range of subjects covered were such that all PSUK members should have the opportunity to benefit from the event. Unfortunately the video recording of the meeting was not of sufficient quality to be able to offer copies on disk for sale, but short clips may be posted on our website, and meanwhile a series of articles summarising the content of the talks, with some pictures illustrating the event, will appear in our magazine. The over-all theme of the seminar was Worldwide Conservation Projects in Birds. It would have been very easy simply to present a catalogue of projects involving different species, but our excellent speakers gave a variety of approaches to


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this subject, to keep the interest alive, and provoke thought and discussion amongst delegates. The well-known artist Eric Peake compered the whole day in his inimitable fashion, introducing each speaker and keeping things running smoothly. The proceedings were opened by the showing of a DVD produced by Ray Ackroyd in Australia, illustrating the use of protective collars (originally made of sheet tin, but now using clear Perspex) around trees used as nest sites by cockatoos in the outback. These slippery collars prevent predatory lizards, cats and snakes from climbing the trees to raid the nests of eggs and chicks, thereby

…slippery collars prevent predatory lizards, cats and snakes from climbing the trees to raid the nests of eggs and chicks, thereby markedly increasing the successful production of cockatoo chicks to fledging age. This technique was one of the first conservation projects to be funded by The Parrot Society in 1995 following a visit by Council Member and founder PS member John Mollindinia to meet Ray Ackroyd. markedly increasing the successful production of cockatoo chicks to fledging age. This technique was one of the first conservation projects to be funded by The Parrot Society in 1995, following a visit by Council Member and founder PS

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member John Mollindinia to meet Ray Ackroyd. This simple idea has been so successful that it has been copied by other conservation groups, and is still supported financially by the Parrot Society to this day. Sadly, owing to injuries received in an earlier accident, Ray was not able to travel and attend our seminar in person, but his film gave an excellent illustration of the collaring technique in action, as well as a taste of the habitat and wildlife of the Australian outback. This fascinating story, introduced by pastChairman David Coombes, set the scene for the day, and showed the audience just what could be done out in the field, with a simple idea, limited manpower, and some basic equipment.

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The over-all theme of the seminar was Worldwide Conservation Projects in Birds. It would have been very easy simply to present a catalogue of projects involving different species, but our excellent speakers gave a variety of approaches to this subject, to keep the interest alive, and provoke thought and discussion…

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


FEATURE

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BY

ROSEMARY LOW

Birds with special feeding requirements, ie, food that could freeze, should always be housed in aviaries with access to indoor quarters, with flaps or doors that permit the birds to be shut inside at night.

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WINTER: PREVENTING LOSSES

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lmost all losses of aviary birds during the winter can be prevented by thinking and planning ahead. There is no doubt that our weather has become windier in recent years. This aspect can result in serious losses, through aviaries that literally cannot stand up to gales and because draughts can be deadly for birds. We should protect and locate our aviaries with this in mind.

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Now is the time to strengthen the roofs of aviaries. Be certain that they are properly secured using bolts and washers, as illustrated. There is no excuse for flimsy aviaries when the lives of your birds depend on sound construction. Not only is it false economy in the long term but escaped birds suffer horrible deaths from starvation, cold or hawk predation. Needless to say, aviaries and their mesh must be scrutinised carefully in case repairs are needed. Draughts and wind We all need reminders of what can go wrong if we become too blasé. Take draughts, for example. In colder weather they can be killers for birds. In the case of cages within a building that lead to an outdoor flight, the wind that enters through the exit hatch could mean that birds are permanently sitting in a draught. For this reason the exit should be well below the perch level. It can be at floor level in half-depth inside cages. Reducing the wind-chill factor is extremely important. The best method is to protect the sides of the aviaries, or those that take the brunt of the wind, with corrugated PVC sheeting, properly secured. This can be attached to wooden frames and screwed into position or the sheeting can be bolted on to aviary framework. In July 2015 the Met Office issued statistics that showed the UK had experienced, in the first seven months of

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the year, the fewest calm days recorded since 1993. A “calm” day is defined as one on which at least twenty weather stations have recorded a maximum gust speed of 11mph or less. There were only eight such days. When aviaries are erected, or before, wind-breaks in the form of shrubs or trees should be planted in appropriate positions. Elder and hawthorn are recommended for their rapid growth -- with the added bonus in autumn of feeding the berries to the birds! Most parrots are hardy. Cold alone will not have a harmful impact on healthy birds. However, young parrots are less

In my opinion, no parrots should spend winter nights in outdoor enclosures in northern Europe. All aviaries should have an indoor part. Most members of the parrot family soon learn to enter when the carer approaches at night.


FEATURE tolerant of uncomfortably low temperatures -- something that should always be borne in mind. They are often less sensible about perching in sheltered positions. Before the onset of cold weather, carefully examine all your aviary birds. If any are underweight, they are the ones least likely to survive the winter. Steps should be taken to ascertain why this is the case, with an avian vet check, if possible. At least make an appropriate alteration to the diet or accommodation or remove a dominant companion who is harassing a bird at feeding times.

Winter diets Birds in outdoor aviaries must be in good health to withstand our often rapidly fluctuating temperatures in winter. Special attention needs to be paid not only to diet but also to the way food is provided. A seed mixture that is appropriate during the warmer months might fail to provide sufficient energy in cold weather. Seeds high in oil, such as hemp, perilla, sunflower and safflower, can form a higher proportion of a seed mixture. Sprays of seeding dock that have been cut, dried and stored are useful then, and also provide a treat.

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Birds with special feeding requirements, ie, food that could freeze, should always be housed in aviaries with access to indoor quarters, with flaps or doors that permit the birds to be shut inside at night. Lories and other species which feed mainly on nectar would have to be fed at least four times daily if the food was outside and the nectar froze. This would be impossible for people working long hours. Protecting the food from mice is of the utmost importance, especially in a colony aviary where it is difficult to control the amount of food eaten by individual birds or pairs. Hours of daylight and food intake Electric lighting is as useful as heating in many cases. It enables birds to feed for lengthened periods, thus better

maintaining their body temperature. Food is converted to energy, that is, heat. A small species, such as a parrotlet or lovebird, makes the most efficient use of its food at about 80°F (27°C). The lower the temperature drops, the greater the intake of food needs to be. I am not suggesting that indoor quarters are heated to this degree -- about 54°F (about 12° C) is adequate for most species. However, I am suggesting that the quantity of food might need to be slightly increased. A dimmer switch is recommended in all birdrooms, so that birds are not suddenly plunged into darkness. The lights should be dimmed at approximately the same time each night as birds have an acute sense of time and establishing a routine is good for them. UV light and Vitamin D Vitamin D deficiencies are common in captive birds kept with insufficient dietary vitamin D. UV light assists in

Protecting the food from mice is of the utmost importance, especially in a colony aviary where it is difficult to control the amount of food eaten by individual birds or pairs.


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its absorption. Many psittacine birds are fed a seed-based diet; seed is deficient in this vitamin. (Please refer to my book Parrots and Finches: Healthy Nutrition for more information on this topic.) The availability of UV bulbs for lamps in holders made to stand on top of a flat cage (such as a breeding cage in a birdroom) or at its side, and for table lamps (for companion birds), has made the provision of ultra-violet light so easy. One or two hours daily is enough. Prolonged exposure might damage the eyes. Cold weather and frost-bite In outdoor birdrooms, heat is lost through windows. In cold weather when there is no need to open windows, I always tack heavy bubble-wrap over them. If the birdroom door is not a tight fit, I would suggest hanging a heavy curtain over it to cut out draughts.

One of the worst winter problems is frostbite. This should never happen. If it does, to me it indicates a lack of care. The outcome is a painful loss of toes or even the entire foot. I once saw an aviary parakeet hanging from the roof by its beak. It had no feet, only stumps. Such neglect is totally unforgivable and can be prevented. Wide wooden perches encourage a lower roosting stance, thus feathers protect the feet. It is a crime to use metal perches. Roosting inside In my opinion, no parrots should spend winter nights in outdoor enclosures in northern Europe. All aviaries should have an indoor part. Most members of the parrot family soon learn to enter when the carer approaches at night. I know some people will say “They prefer to roost outside!” It is just a matter of training and the right conditions. If the highest perch is in the

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inside quarters and these are well lit, with a window and with electric light, parrots will enter. Remember that some parrots will roost on top of the nest-box if this is the highest point. If nest-boxes must be in position during the colder months, they should be inside. In my experience, if birds don’t want to go inside you net them and place them there. Most parrots hate being caught so after two or three nights they decide that voluntarily entering the inside part is a better option! Night dangers Roosting outside is a major cause of mortality. Birds of all species are vulnerable to rats and stoats (in badly maintained aviaries), cats, hawks and

Birds of all species are vulnerable to rats and stoats (in badly maintained aviaries), cats, hawks and owls. Night frights (fireworks, security lights and headlights) are other dangers. Wind, snow and frost at night can be lethal.

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owls. Night frights (fireworks, security lights and headlights) are other dangers. Wind, snow and frost at night can be lethal. Early morning inspection If you cannot get up early in the morning, my advice would be: don’t keep birds! It is so important to inspect all birds at first light, especially during cold weather -- or earlier if you have lights inside. A sick bird found early in the day can often be saved when placed under a ceramic infra-red lamp. Because sick birds deteriorate so quickly, this might not be possible later in the day. Also inspect your birds daily prior to dusk. This might save the life of a sick bird, which would not have survived the night. If you are unable to inspect your birds at first


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light in cold weather, it is not advisable to give them access to the outdoor flights. Early morning inspection is the means of saving many chicks in the nest. If the parents have ceased to brood them overnight they will not survive long if they are not feathered. Just one hour can be the difference between life (moved to a brooder) and death. Damp quarters Birdrooms and inside quarters must be properly insulated and maintained to keep out draughts and damp. If the birdroom is damp, look for the source of the problem and correct it. Pay special attention to keeping the roof watertight. If the felt is leaking, treat it with liquid bitumen or renew the felt. Meanwhile, maintain a low level of heating to prevent mould forming, as this can have

serious disease consequences for the birds. In very wet weather I use a dehumidifier in the inside quarters. Always remember, their lives are in your hands. A careless attitude to their welfare is not acceptable.

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

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BY LES RANCE

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FEATURE

THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION 6TH OCTOBER 2019

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t is now twelve years ago that The Parrot Society started out on a venture of 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 birds are on the show bench for the 2019 event, despite the

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fact that breeding results have been affected by the very changeable weather conditions experienced this year. The 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 are pleased that the Yorkshire Canary Club, Norwich Canary Club and the London Fancy Canary Club three of our newer recruits are 42

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settling in very well and are all enjoying being part of the National Exhibition. At our annual National Exhibition management committee meeting held in Coventry on 12th May it was decided that clubs exhibiting in the Argyle Centre could leave their hall in advance of those in the Sandylands Centre to make it easier for all clubs to leave the building. This is a trial and will be assessed at our meeting in the spring of 2020 to see the


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advantages and or disadvantages of this change. There is no doubt that to hold an annual meeting with all the clubs allows issues to be discussed in an open forum and gives each club the opportunity to raise both large and small suggestions to improve the running of the exhibition. Arrangements are well in hand for the next Show on Sunday 6th October 2019. 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. We will again continue with the five trophies, one for each section, these this year will again be sponsored by Johnston & Jeff Ltd. I am sure the clubs and exhibitors are very happy with the outcome. In order to store additional staging the 40’ long storage container located at Stafford County Showground, has worked very well, but it is now full! BIRD SCENE

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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. At present we are still very unsure of the effects of Brexit on The National Exhibition and it would

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be a great pity if changes had to be made when the UK leaves the EU. 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. As it is located only a few miles to the east of junction 14 of the M6, vehicles can quickly arrive at the Showground. “The National Exhibition” will be again sponsored by Richard Johnston of Johnston and Jeff Ltd who is our sole sponsor and has supported us from the start.


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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 again be spread over a number of editions to ensure that the event obtains maximum publicity in this excellent publication, it 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 “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 6th 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. In addition part of the Prestwood Centre will be given over to clubs stands for those clubs that participate in the National Exhibition. 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.


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LOW SUNFLOWER FOR AFRICAN GREYS

A blend of 24 ingredients specially for the smaller beaked Parrots. Composition: 5% white sunflower, safflower, oats, red dari, white dari, hemp, buckwheat, wheat, paddy rice, pumpkin seed, flaked peas, flaked maize, puffed maize, puffed wheat, papaya, banana, pineapple, apricot, coconut, brazil nut kernels, walnut halves, peanuts, pine nuts, chillies. Monkey nuts are not included as many owners prefer it this way. Suitable for African Greys, Amazons, Jardines, Caiques, Senegals, Pionus, large and small Macaws and Cockatoos. This blend was developed, tested and re-tested in mixed aviary collections to make sure that it was just right for the species of birds for which it was intended.

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.