5 Bird Scene - April & May 2012

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BIRD ISSUE FIVE / APRIL / MAY 2012

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THE KNOWLEDGE CENTRE FOR ALL PET BIRDS

CONSERVATION A well written article by Tony Pittman on our activities in Columbia and Bolivia

THE GLOSTER CANARY An interesting article on this outstanding Canary by Charlie Clarke

SECURITY OF SMALLER SPECIES John Hayward warns us of thieves targeting exhibition birds

IS 11 SU TH E 6 20 J O 12 UN UT E

BY JERRY FISHER

FR EE

MADAGASCAR LOVEBIRDS


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CONTENTS

BIRD SCENE APRIL / MAY 2012

CONTENTS

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21 24 21

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CONSERVATION A well written article by Tony Pittman on our activities in Columbia and Bolivia.

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

ON THE COVER

BIRD ISSUE FOUR / APRIL / MAY 2012

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THE KNOWLEDGE CENTRE FOR ALL PET BIRDS

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42

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THE VIOLACEOUS TURACO Geoff Bailey demonstrates his expertise in breeding these rare birds.

CONSERVATION A well written article by Tony Pittman on our activities in Columbia and Bolivia

THE GLOSTER CANARY An interesting article on this outstanding Canary by Charlie Clarke

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SECURITY OF SMALLER SPECIES

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John Hayward warns us of thieves targeting exhibition birds

MADAGASCAR LOVEBIRDS BY JERRY FISHER

IS 11 SU TH E 6 20 JU O 12 N UT E

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DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND…

FR EE

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THE GLOSTER CANARY An interesting article on this outstanding Canary by Charlie Clarke MADAGASCAR LOVEBIRDS A very professional article by Jerry Fisher on this small Lovebird SECURITY OF SMALLER SPECIES John Hayward warns us of thieves targeting exhibition birds. THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION Les Rance updates us on current progress as we work towards the October event.

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BIRD SCENE: Issue Five, APRIL / MAY 2012 BIRD SCENE is run by The Parrot Society UK, 92A High Street, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 2BL, England. FOR SALES AND EDITORIAL ENQUIRES Telephone or Fax: 01442 872245 Website: www.theparrotsocietyuk.org E-Mail: les.rance@theparrotsocietyuk.org

BIRD SCENE 3


INTRODUCT T

his is now the fifth edition of Bird Scene, how quickly ten months can pass when you are working on a new project – the first FREE online 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 and after the 30th April when postal costs increase further the distribution expenses will be even higher. How much longer bird clubs will be able to afford to mail magazines to their members must be a great worry to many club officials. An e-magazine does not have this problem, or that of the cost of colour printing. As a

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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 ten months 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. Regular readers will know that Bird Scene as been produced to publicise The National Exhibition held each year at our October Sale Day/ Show and to promote our Conservation efforts for threatened parrots


TION

BY THE EDITOR

in the wild. Edition four is still to be found on the Home Page of our website and if you would like to see earlier versions there is an archive for Bird Scene at the bottom of the page. In this edition we have an excellent article on the Gloster canary from Charlie Clarke who is highly experienced and knowledgeable on this beautiful canary variety. I am sure that everyone will find this item interesting. This item is followed by a report on the breeding of the Violaceous Turaco by Geoff Bailey for all our readers that are interested in soft billed avicultural pursuits, I just love to see Turacos in large planted aviaries bouncing all around their enclosure thoroughly enjoying life, maybe one day I will build a big aviary for a pair, I would certainly ask Geoff for some advice on the idea. After the Turacos we have an item on the Madagascan Lovebird from Jerry Fisher who writes so well on many

LES RANCE

birds and has a vast range of experience, this is an article very well worth reading because it contains a great deal of valuable information. Unfortunately there seems to be a spate of thefts mainly from exhibitors keeping valuable show birds, please see the advice that John Hayward gives on this serious problem. In this Issue information relating to The National Exhibition includes the minutes from the meeting with the exhibiting clubs which was held at Coventry on 11th March where we were blessed with a really sunny day and had an enjoyable hour meeting up and talking to our friends on the veranda at the front of the hotel with a drink in our hands, it was just like being on holiday! These annual meetings are so important to ensure the smooth running of the event which started in its present format in 2007. In this edition is an article on the conservation in Colombia and Bolivia.

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

BIRD SCENE 5


ARTICLE BY: CHARLIE CLARKE

THE GLOSTER C T

he Gloster fancy as we know it today is the result of continual work of many fanciers who have over the years continued to build on the original ideas of the early fanciers. Since the conception of the Gloster

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in 1925 it has gone through many different transformations, we have to thank Mrs Rogerson who first brought them to the attention of Mr A.W.Smith. She had bred the original birds from the smallest Crested Rollers and


FEATURE

As the quantity of fanciers keeping Glosters increased the amount and quality of birds coming available continued to grow and improve. During this stage the Gloster was really taking off, there seemed to be specialist clubs popping up everywhere…

Corona Bred By Mr R. Alssema

CANARY Border canaries which were available, the birds that came from these pairings were very different from the birds we see today. As we know the Gloster Canary comes in two types, the “Corona”

which is the crested bird, and the “Consort” which has the plain head. The early bred birds were always short in the crest, very thin and long. Most were bred from mainly buff birds which caused many problems. In the early years of the Gloster there were several strong areas of support round the country, including Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and East Anglia. Over the next fifty years the development of the Gloster gathered pace, the early fanciers worked hard to improve the type quite often disregarding feather quality. During these years you were lucky to have a specialist Gloster judge at the local C.B.S.shows quite often the birds were judged by the Any Other Variety judge. As the quantity of fanciers keeping Glosters increased the amount and quality of birds coming available continued to grow and improve. During this stage the Gloster was really taking

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FEATURE

Consort Bred By Mr R. Alssema

off, there seemed to be specialist clubs popping up everywhere it was at this time the “Gloster Convention” was formed to help co-ordinate the wishes of the Specialist Societies it was at one of these meetings Mr Charles Minjoodt presented the pictorial model which is still in use today. The Gloster Fancy continues to thrive today, we have many top Specialist Societies all putting on very good shows the standard of the Gloster gets better by the year, combining both type and feather quality. We are truly international in our outlook the standard of Glosters world wide is a credit to the fancy. It is amazing that from what was a very small beginning through dedication and hard work

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the Gloster Canary has become one of the strongest sections within the hobby. Like all varieties we try to make the hobby enjoyable and welcome newcomers to join us in what is a very enjoyable hobby. Early Glosters The Gloster Fancy specialist Society supports the New National Show organised by the Parrot Society at Staffordshire County Show Ground on Sunday the 14th of October 2012 For details of how to join the Gloster Fancy Specialist Society contact the secretary:Mr Steve Jones, on 01785- 822533.


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ARTICLE BY: JERRY FISHER

MADAGAS LOVEBIRD 10

BIRD SCENE


FEATURE

W

hen I first considered acquiring Madagascars the usual comments were “I gave up on them because I never saw them – they hid in the nest box as soon as I entered the birdroom” and “I gave up on them because they produced lots of eggs but never hatched anything.” In my experience neither is true. Certainly, chicks are wild initially (not unusual) but they steady once they are two or three months old. My birds only receive nest boxes when I wish them to breed and even then do not use them as a refuge. Anyone unfamiliar with Madagascars will immediately be struck by how small and delicate they appear compared with the commoner lovebird species. Most lovebirds take a size M ring – Madagascars take a K, smaller than a grass parakeet. They also have an inoffensive voice – both sexes twitter and chirp, hens (and chicks) also make a growling sound when in the nest box.

SCAR DS

Having now completed eight breeding seasons with them my experiences may be of some interest. To date they have produced 137 young reared to independence – 20+ in each of the last 6 years. I initially acquired two pairs captive bred and imported from the Continent and subsequently built up the group by exchanging youngsters with two UK breeders – plus a further two pairs from a different European source. With the addition of odd birds from other sources I now therefore have a group with good genetic diversity. Breeding results have not been significantly different across the pairs so – thus far – my management of the birds seems to suit them. General Management My birds are kept in an insulated timber and block building with no natural light. Lighting is by standard fluorescent fittings with daylight spectrum tubes for 15 hours per day. At night there are 12W nightlights, which are timed to overlap night and morning. Heating is by convector heaters with high-level fans to aid circulation. The temperature never drops below 60F and above 70F extract fans kick in – in summer the temperature can reach around 80F. The Madagascar breeding pairs are

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mainly housed in 3’ x 2’ x 2’ double breeders. Surprisingly, they seem to prefer the lower level units to the brightly lit “penthouses”. At the end of the breeding season the young are transferred in single sex groups to 4’ x 2’ x 2’ units – no larger until they steady down. Once surplus birds have departed the remainder – adults and young – are transferred to single-sex groups in 8’ x 2’ x 2’ units. This is partly to give more exercise and partly for convenience – fewer units to maintain! I have kept pairs in their breeding units throughout the year (without nest boxes) and it has made no obvious difference to the following year’s breeding. All cages have a 1 – 2” layer of wood chips (Easibed, see appendix) on the floor – I believe in giving the birds something interesting to forage in. Feeding The basic diet falls into three parts: • Dry seed mix • Millet sprays • Softfood mix My standard seed mix, softfood mix and grit mix are appendices to this article. Dry Seed Mix: Offered at all times in equal parts with plain canary. Consumption varies considerably from one group/ pair to another. For some 12

BIRD SCENE

of it is a significant part of their diet, others barely touch it. Tonic seed mix is offered 2 – 3 times a week. Consumption as above. Millet sprays: Both French red and yellow are part of the staple diet. During the breeding season red sprays are offered unlimited and are extensively used in rearing. Out side the breeding season the balance is altered to both red and yellow, gradually reducing the red until yellow are given exclusively for 2 – 3 months prior to the build-up to the next breeding season. Softfood Mix: During the breeding season the entire mix is given fresh daily and unlimited and with red sprays forms the staple diet. This continues afterwards until the young are well established and the adults have completed their moult. Thereafter, I used to separate the sprouted seed from the rest of the mix and give the two parts on alternate days. This was reduced to a cycle of sprouted seed on day 1 and rest of mix day 3 with days 2 and 4 dry food only. All softfood was withheld for a 4 – 6 week period prior to the build-up to the breeding season. This worked well but I prepare the mix daily year-round since there is always some species going through the breeding cycle and for simplicity it is now fed daily to all my birds and they


FEATURE

pick out of it what they want. They could certainly be tried with other green foods but the only one outwith the mix that mine showed enthusiasm for was broccoli. Bathing water is available at all times, as are cuttlefish bone and grit mix – I find Madagascars use more of both than most of my other birds. A word of warning – although they are used to feeding dishes on the cage floor my birds (established birds, new arrivals and newly-separated chicks) often refuse to go down to the floor to eat after being moved. They take millet sprays of course, but be prepared to offer loose seed and softfood mix in dishes hung on the cage front as well as on the cage floor for the first few days until they settle. Breeding Admittedly my birds are in an artificial environment, but I find that

Madagascars will go down at any time of the year if they are in condition. I tend to put mine down December/ January simply because it suits my own planning. Others start their birds August/October. Madagascars show no pair bonding, so as well as separating the sexes off- season fresh pairings can be made the following year to improve genetic diversity. Once given a nest box most pairs will go down quite quickly – usually within a month. There are, of course, exceptions and I have had birds go down after three to four months – so don’t be in a hurry to write them off. I use external standard budgie boxes with an inspection lid and with a 4” x 2” wood block at the pophole end to give a 4” wide entrance step. The concave is retained and covered with about 1” of wood chips. As mentioned earlier, my birds are BIRD SCENE 13


only given boxes during the breeding season and I have yet to have a pair use the box as a refuge. Prior to starting breeding both birds stay out in the cage – even when I reach in to change food dishes. Once the hen has gone down a few cocks sit on guard duty inside the box but most sit on the perch at the opposite end of the cage. Again they do not enter the box even when food is changed. In the wild Madagascar hens cut leaf strips and tuck them into their rump feathers to transport to the nest. I gave all my birds fresh twigs – usually eucalyptus, sometimes willow. Most ignored it, a few cut strips and dropped them and some pieces were taken into the box. I have only once seen a hen with strips in her rump feathers and even she didn’t bother to line the nest properly! Most hens will very quickly start entering the box and re-arrange the wood chips, sometimes throwing most of it out (which is why I retain the concaves) and others reducing it

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to sawdust. If they retain most of the layer they usually lay tightly in one corner of the low level. Incubation is given as around 23 days. Judging hatching is difficult because the hens will retire to the box 7 – 10 days before they start to lay. A good indicator that laying has commenced is in the daily appearance of a much larger and softer than normal dropping on the cage floor under the perch farthest from the box. There are exceptions. One in particular I finally forced off her eggs at 45 days expecting to find a very tired looking clutch of eggs. In fact they were clean and tidy and I hurriedly withdrew. On day 50 I heard a newly-hatched chick. She hatched and reared 4 and must have spent at least as long in the box before laying as she did incubating! From this point the hens sit very tight – the first warning is when they hit the side of the box with their beaks, the second is a growling sound and


FEATURE

they will attack if you persevere with opening the lid. DON’T INTERFERE! Very soon – I guess 24-48 hours after hatching – a chick can be heard “peeping” for food. It happens seldom and for a short time, so it is easy to miss. This call only seems to last 7 – 10 days and, even though there is more than one chick in the box I have never heard more than one at a time – no competing for food as with most nestlings. From around 3 weeks if disturbed the chicks will take their cue from the hen and join in a chorus of growling to prove that the nest is really occupied by something furry with sharp teeth! Hens show a considerable variation in the time spent in the box with the chicks after the first three weeks. The norm is to emerge occasionally and return when approached but I have had a hen which was never seen out until I finally evicted her and her

chicks, while another stayed out after three weeks and only returned to feed her offspring – I initially thought she had abandoned them. Madagascar hens really resent disturbance – checking the nest just provokes them. Once they have settled in the nest box you will seldom see them until the chicks are at least half grown. I understand the cock feeds the hen in the box and she in turn feeds the young chicks. If you wish to confirm the hen is alive draw a fingernail along the side of the box – she will respond by stage one of the warning process. The chicks emerge at around six weeks and I leave them with the parents for a further six, after which chicks and box are removed. During this time the hen will attempt a second round – which stands little chance with fledged chicks using the box as a bolt hole. I have only once had a hen hatch this second round successfully but the chicks did not survive.

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It is possible to offer a fresh box for a third round after the chicks are separated. I have done this successfully but only with pairs that reared no more than two chicks in the first round simply because I think that the rearing process is so intensive for the hen (entry to chick removal around16 weeks) that one round a year is enough. Removal of the nest box can be a minor problem since the chicks (and often the hen) will continue to dive back into it for security long after they should have left. Initially I simply evicted them but have found an effective but less brutal alternative. I made up a panel of fine weldmesh which fits over the open lid of the box. Deprived of the darkness they abandon the box, which can then be removed without drama the following day. I have yet to hear of successful colony breeding of Madagascars – possibly because of the lack of pair bonding. Mortality and Breeding Span It has been said that Madagascars are 1) Delicate 2) Short-lived (4 – 5 yrs) and 3) only have 2 – 3 years of fertility. I can only comment from my experience but that does not support any of the above. Including acquisitions I have records

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on 161 birds – I have recorded 7 deaths. Of these, one was old age and 2 were within a month of arrival in poor conditions. One was a youngster killed by its single-sex cage mates (the only instance I have had of serious aggression). The remaining 3 are unexplained. Regarding fertility and lifespan, I had a cock arrived as adult in 2002 (hatched 2001) which died in December 2007, making him at least close to 7 years old. He had 3 mates and bred every year 2002 – 2007 inclusive except 2003 when the only available hen was too young. In total he reared 24 chicks. His first mate died on the nest in 2002 with a month old 2nd round chick, which he reared single-handed. His 3rd mate reared 2004 – 2007 inclusive and last I heard was still going strong. I gave her to a friend with an odd old cock bird. Incidentally I have three ’09 youngsters which trace directly back to this cock, each generation being 1st year bred – making them the 8th generation over 8 years. Fertility and Chick Losses As will be seen from the section on “statistics” fertility varies between clutches. Usually 5 or 6 eggs are laid and some pairs are certainly more productive than others but I have


FEATURE

had relatively few completely clear clutches. Others report chick losses during the latter stages of rearing. I have only experienced this once – when the parents stopped feeding a six week group of four chicks just as they left the nest and all four died. Otherwise my losses have all been within approximately 48 hours of hatching. During years one and two I experienced a high level of this. It eventually dawned on me that the birds losing chicks had all been exposed to each other while the successful birds had not mixed with these. Sure enough, post mortem on a chick revealed a heavy bacterial load, including two types each of which would have been fatal. Given the age of the chick this had to be transmitted via the egg. This group were kept separate and prior to year 3 breeding season given a 7 day course of Baytril in their drinking water. I have not had this problem since. My gratitude is due to Mr Best (formerly of Vale Vets of Portishead in Bristol) for getting this result from what he said was the smallest PM examination he had ever performed!

With Madagascars this is particularly important since the hen broods and defends the chicks so intensively. I ring the chicks only when I remove them from the adults. Initially I used customised aluminium split rings as with my Mountain and Sierra parakeets. Don’t do it with Madagascars! Those that don’t remove the ring manage to close it up on the leg necessitating its urgent removal. I then tried colour – coded plastic split rings (size XB) but the incidence of removal was high. I have now solved the problem. Avian ID at Truro kindly supplied me with anodised aluminium split rings size M “shaved” to size L. These come in a wide range of colours (mine are also sequentially numbered) and are a much heavier gauge than the rings I used previously. In three breeding seasons I have not had one removal or “closing up” of a ring.

Ringing I never close ring any of my birds – in principle I do not disturb nests.

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Year

Pairs Set*

Pairs rearing to maturity

Rounds

2002

2

2

3

2003

2

2

2

2004

6

5

6

2005

8

6

6

2006

10

8

9

2007

8

7

7

2008

9

8

8

2009

7

4

7

Total

48

Average chicks per nest: 2.85 Clutch sizes, chicks reared to maturity: 2002

1, 1, 5

2003

1, 5

2004

1, 1, 4, 4, 4, 6

2005

2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 5

2006

1,1,1,2,2,3,4,4,4

2007

1,2,3,3,3,4,5

2008

1,1,1,1,3,3,4,7

2009

1,2,2,2,4,4,5

*The pairs that failed to rear in ’02 and ’03 due to bacterial load in the egg are excluded.

1) The total figures for cocks and hens rather question the theory of a high ratio of cocks to hens. 2) It will be noted that, out of eight breeding seasons, three produced excess cocks, three excess hens and two equal numbers. 3) The problem is still the average

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chicks per nest, which remains stubbornly low. I regard 3+ as quite acceptable but the 1s and 2s pull down the average. Next year I plan to hold back some ’09 young until ’11 to see if older first breeding makes any difference. I have no reason to think it will, but “try anything” Conclusion: Madagascars are delightful, quiet, inoffensive little birds. I have found their reputation regarding temperament and breeding to be undeserved if you are prepared to give them a bit of time and effort. Appendix: I have experimented quite a bit with soft and dry mixes. The notes overleaf are the current regime which seems to have high acceptability and I have no plans to vary for the coming season.


FEATURE

Total Chicks to independence

Male

Female

7

4

3

6

3

3

20

13

7

20

9

11

22

10

12

21

8

13

21

14

7

20

10

10

137

71

66

Madagascars are delightful, quiet, inoffensive little birds. I have found their reputation regarding temperament and breeding to be undeserved if you are prepared to give them a bit of time and effort. Notes: Dry Seed Mix:

“Australian Grass Parakeet and Lovebird Mix”* This proprietary mix is diluted 50:50 with plain canary. “Conditioning Canary and British Finch”* This tonic seed mix is offered sparingly 2 – 3 times a week. Softfood Mix:

1 part grated carrot 1 part finely chopped spinach 1 part finely chopped chicory 1/3 part wheatgerm 1 – 2 parts EMP 1 hardboiled egg

All mixed to a crumbly consistency with a

sprinkling of Birdcare Company Daily Essentials 3.

Sprouted Seed Mix: 6 parts “Germination/Soak Seed”* 1 part Small Sunflower 1 part Mung Beans Soaked 24 hours in water with Aviciens. Rinsed thoroughly (do not drain). 12 hours in propagator. Rinse again. Stir into softfood mix and serve! Grit Mix:

1 part fine mineral grit 1 part fine oystershell 1 part (or what is available) crushed baked eggshells. Cuttlefish bone available separately *These mixes from Albert E James & Son Ltd “Country Wide” range of bird mixtures (Tel: 01275 463496) Cage Litter: “Easibed” stable litter. Available from equine and pet supplies stockists.

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14/12/2011 14:42


FEATURE

SECURITY WARNING S

ome few years ago we experienced a major series of some twenty thefts of small bird collections when over 2,000 various Budgerigars, Canaries and Finches were stolen.

Many of those stolen were top exhibition birds and high quality breeding stock. There was little doubt that owners were the target of the thieves as the

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RITY WARNING SECURITY WARNING • SECU result of attending bird shows where their birds were entered and displayed. Some people were arrested in the Midlands and a number of birds were recovered but the vast majority were never traced. One major aspect of this series of burglaries was that there was no security installed at any single birdhouse which allowed the thieves free access and on every occasion, they got clean away. We are now suffering from another lengthy attack to our bird-houses and sheds. During the last twelve months collections have been stolen from

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• SECURITY WARNING

Tamworth, Selby, Hull, Durham in the North and at Taunton, Bedfont, Northolt and three times in the region of Southampton in the South. It is vital that all such bird-keepers and breeders be aware of this developing pattern of crime and seek security advice to help protect their birds. We must make it difficult for the thieves and with extra vigilance we hope that descriptions of offenders and their vehicles may be obtained. Please report any suspicious incident or information immediately. John Hayward National Theft Register Tel: 01869 325699 Email: jh@ntr.supanet.com


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SALE DAYS

ALL SHOWS FOR 2012 WILL BE HELD AT STAFFORD COUNTY SHOWGROUND ST18 0BD

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BIRD SCENE 23


THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION MINUTES 14TH OCTOBER 2012 As I wrote in Issue 4 it was five years ago that The Parrot Society started out on a venture of hopefully rebuilding “The National Exhibition”. 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. Here are the minutes from the meeting at Coventry on 11th March. Minutes of The Organising Committee - THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION 2012 Sunday 11th March at the Quality Hotel, Allesley Road, Coventry CV5 9BA Meeting commenced 2.25 pm 24

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Present: Keith Jones, Les Rance, Ray Howells, and representatives of 15 clubs that participate in The National Exhibition. 1. Apologies: The Bengalese Society and the Foreign Softbill Society, and David Coombes P.S. Chairman. 2. Welcome – Especially to Australian


FEATURE

Finch Society for joining the exhibiting clubs. 3. Review of the 2011 National Exhibition. Generally the societies were very satisfied with the 2011 event but there are a number of improvements that need to be made and these are dealt with below. 4. Sponsorship arrangements for 2012. Richard Johnston of Johnston & Jeff has agreed to replicate the sponsorship package including rosettes and 1 tonne of seed as prizes that he donated last year, in addition he has kindly

offered to store exhibition items that there is no space for at Stafford. A meeting with Malcolm Green of The Birdcare Company will be held on the 16th March and all the indications are that he will also donate rosettes and a supply of supplements for each club. The rosettes and prize vouchers will be handed out on the Saturday this will help the Parrot Society confirming that all clubs are indeed present on that day. Ray Howells has also kindly agreed to build 22 judging stands and this will be of great benefit for the exhibition. BIRD SCENE 25


5. In line with the Old National it has always been intended that this event should be an Open Show and it was agreed that this will continue. If clubs so wish non members will not be eligible for club rosettes but they will qualify for seed, rosettes and supplement prizes donated by the joint sponsors. 6. Parrot Society Bounty: The following notes lay out the areas that need to be followed for exhibiting clubs to qualify for the Bounty. 6.1 Erection of staging from 12.00 noon on Saturday 13th October.

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6.2 Booking in of exhibits on Saturday evening 5.00 to 7.00pm and Sunday morning 7.00 to 8.30. 6.3 Judging to be finished by 12.30. 6.4 Presentation of sponsored prizes at 14.45. 6.5 Lifting of exhibits starts at 15.15. It was agreed that three security staff would be supplied by The Parrot Society to ensure that no birds leave the Sandylands exhibition hall until everyone is happy that all their canaries are accounted for. 6.6 Dismantling of staging and palletising starts at 15.30.


FEATURE

6.7 Show report to be received by the PS office by 19th October 2012. 6.8. Bounty claim forms to be received by PS office by 31st October 2012. 7. Free tea, coffee and biscuits supplied by The Parrot Society will be available in the Argyle Hall both on the Saturday when staging is being erected and when birds are being checked in on the Sunday morning. 8. As we are now supplying Early Entry wristbands to all Exhibitors it seems unnecessary to block access

to the P.S. Selling Area between Prestwood and Argyle Halls. 9. Signage ‘The National Exhibition’ with an appropriate arrow will be provided from the Bingley Hall, through into the Prestwood Hall and then into the Argyle Hall to direct visitors to the Exhibition. Also clearer signs will be displayed on the ‘Booking In’ tables to assist exhibitors. 10. It was agreed that the barriers used to stop visitors gaining access to the exhibits during judging be put across so that they do not

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FEATURE

impede access to the club stands when the show opens at 9.30. 11. The Australian Finch Society and The Waxbill Finch Society requested that their Club stands be located on the Balcony of Bingley Hall, this was accepted. 12. Everyone was happy with the staging layout and in the Sandylands Hall (Canaries) it was agreed to arrange the crowd barriers to maximise the amount of window space to assist judging. Doors to the Show Halls will be opened at 7.00 on the Sunday morning. The meeting closed at 16.00. From the above you can see that we are indeed making good progress with the arrangements for the 2012 National Exhibition and the support from both

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Richard Johnston of the seed merchants Johnston and Jeff and Malcolm Green of The Birdcare Company with regard to sponsorship is very much appreciated by both The Parrot Society and the exhibiting clubs.

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


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ARTICLE BY: TONY PITTMAN

A

part from involvement in direct conservation of threatened parrot species such as the projects for the Yellow-shouldered Amazon (Amazona barbadensis) in the Caribbean, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Cacatua leadbetteri} in Australia and the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) in Costa Rica, which have been fully covered in the first three issues of this e-mag, the Parrot Society UK has also supported public awareness campaigns in Colombia and Bolivia respectively. Fundación ProAves has been active in Colombia for many years protecting the most threatened parrots and birds in that country, including the Yellow-eared Parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis) and Fuerte’s Parrot (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi). All its activities require community participation and support to succeed. This is most effectively achieved through working with children and an especially decorated bus has been used to travel the country to promote conservation and protection of birds. Since its first tour in 2005, the Parrot Bus has reached 2,148 rural schools and universities in 97 municipalities. More

Fundación ProAves has been active in Colombia for many years protecting the most threatened parrots and birds in that country, including the Yellow-eared Parrot and Fuerte’s Parrot.

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TWO MO PROJECT RECEIVE


FEATURE

CONSERVATION

ORE WORTHWHILE TS, WHICH ED PSUK SUPPORT BIRD SCENE 31


Since its first tour in 2005, the Parrot Bus has reached 2,148 rural schools and universities in 97 municipalities. More than 52,000 children and 6,000 adults have attended campaign presentations and workshops. than 52,000 children and 6,000 adults have attended campaign presentations and workshops. The bus with its interior lined with storyboards is equipped with videos that show wildlife footage and educational cartoons. ProAves personnel identified that many children were carrying slingshots with the sole purpose of hunting birds. To deal with this problem Pro-Aves launched a Slingshot Amnesty campaign and as a result some 400 slingshots were handed in by children across Colombia. The slingshots handed in have been displayed in the ProAves head office in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia to serve as an example to the hundreds of children who wish to become friends of birds and generate publicity to attract organisations and schools to help prohibiting the use of these weapons. The campaign was expanded to provide children with a package of environmental materials including a bird-watcher’s manual for kids, a baseball cap with the “Friends of Birds” logo, a membership and ID card for the ProAves youth group “Friends of the Birds” and a certificate 32

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with their name inscribed and the logo of the donor. More recently a painting competition for children was organised and proved to be very successful The “Loro Bus - Parrot Bus “ project with its slingshot amnesty campaign has won a prestigious international award the National Energy Globe. In 2008 769 projects from 111 nations were submitted and the best from each nation was honoured with a National Energy Globe.


FEATURE

They were presented at an international gala ceremony held in Prague in the Czech Republic. To date the Parrot Society UK has donated £ 2,800 to the public awareness activities in Colombia. However, the bus has now unfortunately become unusable after years of travelling the rough country roads there and a new bus must be acquired and re-fitted to continue this important campaign.

The second project in Bolivia, which began in 2009, had as its objective the education of the Bolivian public on the realities of the illegal pet trade in order to motivate public and institutional support towards the enforcement of existing laws against the trade of Bolivian wildlife. An under-cover study carried out in Santa Cruz, a major city in Bolivia, had highlighted the seriousness of the illegal trade in birds. In a twelve month period BIRD SCENE 33


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FEATURE

more than 7,000 birds from 31 species had been offered for sale in the market there. Of these some 300 were macaws, including two Lear’s macaws brought in from Brazil. The most common parrots were the Blue-fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva), Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) and Blue-winged Parrotlet (Forpus xanthopterygius) A travelling photographic exhibit documenting the extent and inhumane treatment of Bolivian wildlife in the illegal pet trade was taken to the country’s five main cities – Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Cochabamba, Trinidad, Tarija and the capital, La Paz. This campaign was organised by Asociacion Armonia, which has been engaged in conservation activities with the Blue-throated (Ara glaucogularis) and Redfronted Macaws (Ara rubrogenys) with the support of the Loro Parque Fundación for many years. The campaign under the heading “La extinctin es para siempre” (Extinction is for ever) showed in the form of an art exhibit, eighteen panels of the worst photos of parrots (and some other birds) in the illegal

A travelling photographic exhibit documenting the extent and inhumane treatment of Bolivian wildlife in the illegal pet trade was taken to the country’s five main cities –

Public attention was enhanced by inviting local celebrities such as Miss Bolivia to participate and seeking the support of local institutions. pet trade. Many of these photos speak for themselves, with birds cramped into cardboard boxes, down plastic bags, and packed into small cages, often covered in dirt and faeces. Each photo had descriptive information regarding the species and its endemic or threatened status. In addition posters presented data about the illegal bird traffic, which the Armonia personnel had gathered, showing the number of threatened species traded. The exhibit was presented for four days in each city in a popular central area with local authorities and press being invited for an opening ceremony. Public attention was enhanced by inviting local celebrities such as Miss Bolivia to participate and seeking the support of local institutions. Signatures have been collected on a letter requesting the government to stop the illegal trade and local aid organisations as well as foreign embassies have also been invited to the events. These events gained the attention of the local media, which multiplied the educational effect, as well as the interest of organisations such as CITES in Bolivia. In 2010, given the success of the

BIRD SCENE 35


FEATURE

public presentations, it was decided to direct the campaign more at decision makers, especially within politics and law enforcement. Fourteen panel presentations were given with departmental and municipal governments, environmental agencies, universities and social organizations. Radio broadcasts were made nationally (1), in Santa Cruz (3) and Beni (2). The illegal trade campaign

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was presented in coordination with a fashion show in Cochabamba, which was promoted with interviews on four local television channels. As a result organisations such as the equivalent of the British Bar Association in Bolivia have taken notice and become supportive. The campaign has also produced a short television or movie spot against the illegal wildlife trade. Three television stations


Y T E I C O S PARROT W O H S R E SUMM Again this year we will accept bookings from non-members selling Finches, Budgerigars, Canaries, and Softbills. These tables are £12 each. Entrance tickets are £5 each in advance, available until 25th June. On the door entrance tickets will be £6 each. MEMBERS & NON MEMBERS TABLES - TRADE STANDS Bar and Restaurant facilities, everything for the Hobbyist & Breeder

nd

owgrou h S y t n u o ire C Staffordshh July 2012 Sunday 8tam from 9.30

01442 872245

Full details are available from our office tel: The Parrot Society, 92A High Street, Berkhamsted, Herts HP4 2BL


offered to broadcast this spot on local television. Recently when the animation film “Rio” was being shown at cinemas in Bolivia this animated spot preceded the film. Readers can view this spot, which is in Spanish, on U-Tube at http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=cRKAE_7IUKQ). Note the PSUK logo at the end. The greatest success came in the department of Beni, where the critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw occurs. A presentation was given to law enforcement officials, and Beni government staff, which concluded with the mayor of Beni promising to appoint a police officer specifically to stop illegal wildlife trade in the department. The mayor of the city of Cochabamba also promised to allocate resources to stopping the illegal trade in wildlife there.

In addition, as a result of the presentations, the Direcion General de Biodiversidad (DGB), the Bolivian National Environment agency, will work closely with Armonía and include in their official manual a section on illegal wildlife trade with information on threatened species in Bolivia, illegal trade activities and measures to deter the trade. The project in Bolivia has had its successes and the team at Armonia will continue in its efforts to get existing legislation enforced and extended. One other positive outcome is that conservationists in Peru, where illegal trade in wildlife is also a problem with its main cause the failure to enforce legislation, have decided to emulate the work in Bolivia.

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

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FEATURE

ProAves personnel identified that many children were carrying slingshots with the sole purpose of hunting birds. To deal with this problem Pro-Aves launched a Slingshot Amnesty campaign and as a result some 400 slingshots were handed in by children across Colombia. The slingshots handed in have been displayed in the ProAves head office in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia to serve as an example to the hundreds of children who wish to become friends of birds and generate publicity to attract organisations and schools to help prohibiting the use of these weapons.


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PARROTS REQUIRED Founder member of the Parrot Society for 35+ years requires the following parrots. Handreared babies, parent reared babies, adult parrots singles & pairs, Cockatoo's and cockatiels. Macaws, African Greys, Eclectus, Caiques, Amazons, Senegals, pionus, conures, quakers, parakeets, lovebirds etc. etc. Best prices paid in cash. Collection if required or you deliver to me. Contact John on parrotjohn@talktalk.net or 01670822789 or 07949447282.

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April 15, 2012 9AM - 4PM Location: London Zoo

Register: www.GoodBirdInc.com/calendar.html 42 BP Space is Limited! Register today. Email: Info@GoodBirdInc.com


ARTICLE BY: GEOFF BAILEY

BREEDING THE VIOLACEOUS TURACO (MUSOPHAGA VIOLACEA)

A

fter waiting for nearly two years I acquired a compatible pair of Violaceous Turacos from David Jones. David had a young female and an older male but when they were put together for the first time it quickly became obvious that they were not compatible, so he kindly located another older female and exchanged this young female for it. When I picked up the pair at

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Easter, David felt that the signs were encouraging and that it was possible they would breed that year. I placed them in a flight which measured 7 by 2 by 2 meters and for the first night kept them in the shelter. It just so happened that it snowed heavily during the night and I was down in the aviaries at 3 a.m. making sure that they were warm enough. I wasn’t too concerned about the Violaceous


FEATURE as they are large robust birds, but I was concerned about a pair of Whitecrested Turacos I had picked up at the same time. These were showing more signs of the cold! The pair of Violaceous settled into their flight well and by May were feeding each other and dancing and calling often during the day. The male was showing a growing interest in the nest pan I had hung up in the outside part of the flight. This was actually a large twig woven hanging basket I bought from B&Q, well secured to the outer wall of the shelter. To this I added straw and left them to it. The male would spend long periods of time sitting in the basket calling to the female as she came close with a cackling type of noise. Occasionally she would alight onto the rim of the basket and peer in and as she became more involved in the nesting process would sit with the male in the basket. On the one occasion I was able to look into the basket a few small thin sticks had been arranged on top of the straw. They both became increasingly aggressive refusing to let me anywhere near the nest and so I didn’t really know when any eggs were laid or how many had been laid. The aggressive behaviour consisted of spitting and hissing, a wide open mouth gape, wings outstretched to reveal the red on the underside and

moving towards me as I got closer. I suspect that they would have launched themselves at me if I had got too close. There were also regular periods when they would show no interest in the nest alternating with periods of showing interest. Much of this in the early stages seemed to be related to the weather. The warmer the day, the more involved they were with the nest. However the female was slowly becoming more bulky especially towards the rear and was much heavier in flight, preferring to perch more than usual. Having kept birds of all sorts for a long time, I know these signs mean egg laying is about to begin. It is also a more worrying period for the aviculturalist in case of egg binding, so vigilance is essential. Each adult eventually began sitting in the nest regularly changing over about every two hours. From this point onwards I knew there were eggs and calculated the hatch date roughly 22 days further on. I was not expecting them to hatch as these would have been the first eggs that the female would have laid. They sat very tight which was encouraging but in 22 days there was no visible change in behaviour. I tried to look into the nest, but this proved impossible. The only thing I did notice was that each bird was spending more time on the floor

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FEATURE

of the aviary, which was quite out of character. The only time I had previously noticed them on the floor was to take a drink. I suspect they were looking for insects and other live food. They also spent time scouring the floor from the branches in the aviary and searching the bushes. I emailed David for advice who rightly suggested I should treat them as though they did have chicks. Increase the amount of banana, add paw-paw and Nutribird A21. I also fed any fruits I could chop finely or grate. Strawberries and raspberries were just starting to come on stream in the garden so I added these and any fruits that were overripe that I could get hold of cheaply from my local green grocers. Things like peaches, plums and nectarines were all added along with kiwis, cheese and chopped eggs. To begin with very small amounts of food were consumed, but slowly over the following week, consumption became greater and I was convinced that there were chicks in the nest. Occasionally I would see one of the adults, upon changing shift in the nest, appear to open and close its mouth fast as if it had just regurgitated food and was swallowing back the excess. Approximately two weeks after the chicks should have hatched, the nest was left empty by both parents for a brief period of time. Quickly seizing 44

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the opportunity to have a look in the nest, I approached with fingers crossed to find one healthy quite large chick. I continued with the same husbandry until I felt the chick was large enough to take the same sized chopped fruit as all my other turacos, but still adding Nutribird A21. The chick began exploring the rim of the nest basket at about 25 days old and within a short period of time was able to jump from bush to bush and take the occasional short flight. The adults are still very attentive to the chick and have lost their aggression towards me, unlike the chick, which has taken over. The chick is a dull dark grey in colour but is already showing signs of a few purple feathers.

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


INTERNATIONAL

TURACO SOCIETY

In January 1993 a group of turaco enthusiasts met at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford and the International Turaco Society was formed. The objectives of the Society are twofold: Firstly, we encourage anyone interested in keeping and breeding turacos in aviculture to join us. Secondly, the Society acts as a forum to collect and disseminate information about the various turaco species. We are particularly interested in increasing understanding of the ecology, behaviour and distribution of the wild Turaco family in Africa and so sometimes sponsor projects in Africa to help achieve this aim. There is a magazine published twice a year, which contains articles and information about meetings, news items and a ‘Wanted & For Sale’ page, free to members. The society has a website: www.turacos.org which displays turaco information for the general public, but also has a ‘Members’ only area. There is an AGM in the Spring and the committee may also meet during the year. In addition, visits to private and public collections, which may include turacos, are arranged. The membership fee is £12.00 per annum in the UK and £13 (or equivalent) for overseas members. Subscriptions are due on 1st January each year.

APPLICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP David Jones, Walnut Tree Cottage, Popes Hill, Newnham, Gloucestershire, GL14 1LD, England. Tel: 01452 760420 E-mail: david@turacos.org or via the website: www.turacos.org/join.htm


AUSTRALIAN FINCH SOCIETY I

n the early 1970’s there began to emerge the feeling amongst bird keepers that an attempt to establish a viable breeding strain of Australian finches was essential if we were to maintain these birds in aviculture in the UK. In 1971, 12 of these forward thinking individuals formed the Australian Finch Society. Species covered in the mandate to date are;Long tailed Grassfinch; Poephila acuticauda. Heck’s; Poephila acuticauda hecki; 46

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Parson Finch; Poephila cincta; Diggles Finch Poephila nigrotecta; Masked Grassfinch; Poephila personata; Star Finch; Neochmia ruficauda; Gouldian Finch; Erythrura gouldiae; Diamond Firetail, Stagonopleura guttata; Bicheno Finch; Taeniopygia bichenovii; Cherry Finch; Neochmia modesta; Chestnut-breasted Finch Lonchura castaneothrax,& Lonchura castaneothrax sharpie; Blue-faced Parrot-finch; Erythrura trichroa; Red-throated Parrot-finch; Erythrura psittacea;


FEATURE

Visit our website: www.australianfinchsociety.co.uk Forbes or Tri-colour, Parrot-finch; Erythrura tricolour Red-Browed-Finch (Sydney waxbill) Neochmia temporalis; Painted finch Emblema pictum; Pictorella; Heteromunia pectoralis; Yellow-Rumped; Lonchura flaviprymna; White eared Masked Grassfinch Poephila personata leucotis; Pin-tailed Parrot-finch Erythrura prasina; Peals Parrot-finch Erythura cyaneovirens;. Mount Katanglad Parrot-finch. Erythura coloria; Bamboo Parrot-finch, Erythurahyperythra. In 1993 The Rare and Difficult Species (RAD’s) scheme was started in collaboration with Newcastle University with the goal of establishing the more difficult species. As a reflection of the success of the early years it was decided to maintain a stock of pure blood Gouldian Finches as the society was rightly concerned that they would be lost to mutations. The A.F.S. now has a number of member groups that specialise in specific species. These all come under the umbrella of RAD’s. groups. The latest to be formed is one for the Timor Zebra Finch.

If you keep Australian finches Join the society that caters for your needs, 4 magazines per year, Regional, & National meetings Plus shows. Membership is £14-00 per year, (Single or couple). £ 7-00 junior, (under 16) Due on the 1st December each year. Application form available from;- Mr J Richards, 26 Allen Vale, Liskeard, Cornwall, PL14 4HL Or austfinchsoc@googlemail.com Or down load from www.Australianfinchsociety.co.uk The a.f.s. is proud to be joining in with the Parrot Society this year to Participate in the National Exhibition of birds at Stafford on the 8th of October.

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

BIRD SCENE 47