9 Bird Scene - December 2012 & January 2013

Page 1

BIRD ISSUE NINE: DECEMBER 2012 / January 2013



The National Exhibition

Results & Images from the 13th October Show at Stafford


The latest news on this important conservation project

Our Chairman gives his views on this subject

23 iss rd ue F 1 20 EB 0 o 13 RU ut AR Y

Echo Project News from Bonaire


An Avicultural Favourite – the Cuban Finch


BIRD SCENE: DECEMBER 2012 / January 2013


06 06

16 22 16 22


An Avicultural Favourite – the Cuban Finch Graeme Hyde gives us an insight to this little finch Brazil 2011 Book Review A new book skilfully written and well illustrated by Alan Jones BVet Med MRCVS “THE NATIONAL” EXHIBITION 2012 A comprehensive report on this massive show Echo Project News from Bonaire An update on progress with this important conservation project

Donate to our CONSERVATION FUND… CLICK THE LINK BELOW: www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/donations.php





Results & Images from the 13th October Show at Stafford





The latest news on this important conservation project

Our Chairman gives his views on this subject





SECURITY John Hayward warns of thefts of exhibition birds.


23 ISSu RD E FE 1 20 B 0 O 13 Ru uT AR Y


NORMALS V MUTATIONS Our Chairman gives his views on this subject


BIRD SCENE: Issue Nine: DECEMBER 2012 / January 2013 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


Introduct T

his is the ninth edition of Bird Scene which is proving so successful as it allows us to promote both our Conservation projects that have interest around the world and give publicity to The National Exhibition that is so strongly



supported by the 17 exhibiting clubs who support the event. I am certain that this edition of Bird Scene will give readers the same level of quality and interest as the first which went ‘live’ on Monday 22nd August 2010. How time flies when you are enjoying yourself! This edition will confirm the areas that we will continue to cover in future publications. Our intention right from the start was to publish this e-magazine every other month with the February/March 2013 edition appearing on 23rd February 2013. By fixing the date of Issue 10 now you will know when to access our website for the latest edition. At this point it is appropriate to thank our Trade advertisers who so generously support us, you will see their advertisements in this e-magazine and without their assistance it is unlikely that Bird Scene would have been produced. Our intention is to use Bird Scene to promote and raise donations for our Conservation activities around the


by the Editor

world there are donation points on pages 3, 14 & 41 where you can pledge money to a particular project. Additionally Bird Scene will raise awareness of The National Exhibition which was held at Stafford County Showground on Sunday 13th of October and a pictorial account appears in this issue together with the results of the exhibition listed club by club which I am sure you will find interesting. The large banners publicising Bird Scene prominently displayed at The National Exhibition which received an attendance of over 6,000 visitors did much to promote this publication to UK hobbyist bird breeders. In this issue we have an update from Dr Sam Williams of the Yellowshouldered Amazon Parrot Conservation project on Bonaire. Also there is a very interesting article from Graeme Hyde on that pretty little bird the Cuban Finch which I am sure will be of great interest to our readers who

Les Rance

Our intention right from the start was to publish this e-magazine every other month with the February/ March 2013 edition appearing on 23rd February 2013. By fixing the date of Issue 10 now you will know when to access our website for the latest edition. enjoy keeping the smaller birds, a species I kept many years ago! I continue to receive communications from around the world enthusing on the quality and content of Bird Scene which both gives me and the Parrot Society Council great satisfaction. Also in this edition is a review of the book written by Alan Jones ‘Brazil 2011 Living the Dream’ which has a wide range of none parrot species endemic to Brazil. There is also an article by David Coombes our Chairman ‘Mutations v Normals’ that gives the writers views on this subject. I do hope you enjoy this e-magazine please tell your friends where to find it!!

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


ARTICLE BY: Graeme Hyde

An Avicultural Favourite – the Cuban Finch PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS AND EXPERIENCES Introduction Of all the finches, waxbills and other finch-like seedeaters legally imported into Australia before World War Two (1939-1945) the Cuban finch Tiaris canora was and continues to be an



all-time favourite avicultural species due to its charming nature, willingness to breed and its daylong activity as an aviary bird. It is easy to cater for, is an outstanding bird in every way and well established in Australian aviculture.


Description The accompanying painting of a male Cuban finch by renowned artist, Howard Robinson - a member of our society, illustrates the distinctive coloration of an adult male. Unlike many other finch species the male and female are dimorphic (i.e. plumage colours are different). The female has dark chestnut-brown around the head instead of black, the yellow is paler, and its appearance is quite different to the male. Length 9cm. Juveniles, which resemble females at the time of fledging, except for their short tail, usually cannot be sexed at that time except for young males, which often sport an odd black feather shortly after leaving the nest The Genus Tiaris The Cuban finch is one of five species in the genus Tiaris and the “only one that is well-known in aviculture” (Restall 2007). The five small tanagerfinches, also known as grassquits, are: 1. Cuban finch T. canora 2. Black-faced grassquit T. bicolour omissa 3. Yellow-faced finch T. olivacea (formerly known as the olive finch) 4. Sooty grassquit T. fuliginosa 5. Dull-coloured grassquit T. obscura

From the time of the ban on importation of exotic finches into Australia no wild caught Cuban finches have been introduced into our small gene pool of this popular species.

Distribution and habitat It is distributed in Cuba and nearby islands. In the wild it apparently frequents woodlands, pinewoods, coffee plantations, cultivated areas, house gardens and areas of grassland bordering fields. The average


or star finch, as the male Cuban might become aggressive towards them. It is preferable; if possible, to avoid housing them in adjoining aviaries that have wire mesh divisions as their aggressive nature, to their own kind, can cause bickering between neighbouring males.

temperatures throughout the year in their natural range are from around 10 degrees Celsius, through to 35 degrees Celsius (Kingston (1998). Housing Although it is an interesting species when housed in a large, well-planted aviary, they have been successfully bred in aviaries of all types and sizes. After a few years of keeping and breeding the Cuban finch I realised it didn’t matter what the aviary was like - so long as the basic needs were available, eg dry brush in the shelter section for roosting at night and nest building. An earthen floor is desirable as it spends a lot of time fossicking on the aviary floor. The aviary, regardless, of type or size, must be draught-free. They enjoy bathing in a fine mist spray especially in the warmer months of the year. It is wise to keep only one pair in a mixed collection of finches and, importantly, not to include species that feature yellow as part of their plumage colour, eg green singing finch



Feeding It is an easy species to cater for and the usual small seeds are relished including white panicum, red panicum, white millet, jap millet, canary, and niger. They are fond of seeding grasses - especially panic veldt grass Ehrharta erecta, flowering heads of milk thistle, soaked or sprouted seed, plain cake, lettuce, silverbeet, pear, apple, orange and the vinegar fly Drosophila which is attracted to rotting fruit. To create a rotting fruit culture I cut up citrus fruit as well as adding pieces of apple and tomato, replacing the ingredients as necessary. Many breeders also supply an egg and biscuit food to which is added a hard-boiled egg, as this type of supplementary food is popular with the Cuban finch. Fine shellgrit, crushed eggshells and cuttlefish bone should be available all the time. Clean fresh water is important and they enjoy bathing regularly. Breeding in captivity A special feature of the Cuban finch is its continuing interest in breeding. They will breed virtually all-year-round except for the colder winter months of a cooler climatic area when, of course, it is unwise to allow them to nest. If given adequate and draught-

Feature free quarters they will live happily in colder climates and breed regularly. When the male is in breeding condition he will pursue the female around the aviary relentlessly, often with nesting material in his beak. This species has the fascinating habit of being able to conceal its nest and often you are not aware they are nesting. This is compounded by the female who is at all times is a light sitter, leaving the nest whenever she hears someone approaching the aviary. The male utters a short alarm call. Usually she will stay off the nest until you leave the aviary vicinity. Even the closing of a back door of a house has been known to make her leave the nest. They prefer to build their domeshaped nest a growing bush, or dry brush in the shelter section of the aviary, the latter according to Russell Kingston is their favoured nest site. In his experience he has never observed them having their nest site below one metre in an aviary (1998). Nestboxes are rarely used for nesting, although they will use receptacles such as a wire mesh cylinder. The nest, which is large for such a small bird, is made from materials such as fine grass, swamp grass and pampas grass fronds. Feathers are popular for lining the nest. Both male and female are involved in nest construction. The entrance to the nest is low and access

to the nesting chamber is upwards this is a special feature of their nest. Copulation, which may take place in the open, commences with the female crouching low on the perch, quivering excitedly, and calling to her mate. Pair bond in this species is strong and mutual preening is common. Although several experienced aviculturists have commented on them plucking their own kind I did not have this experience with the breeding pairs I have kept. Certainly allopreening (where one bird raises the feathers on the back of its head and neck and the other bird preens this area) is a popular activity. The usual clutch is 2-4 small eggs that are white with reddish-brown spots over them. Only the female incubates the eggs, which take 1214 days to hatch. Nest inspection which, due to the design of the nest as mentioned above, is unwise. I remember the first time I bred them [in the 1960s] they deserted the eggs after I made the mistake of inspecting the nest. A nesting female Cuban is evident by her curved tail. Faecal sacs and dead young are removed from the nest by the parents - often some distance from the nest site. The begging call of the young is usually audible at 7-10 days. They usually fledge around 21 days, leaving the nest together - regardless of the feathering. Often the male

Although several experienced aviculturists have commented on them plucking their own kind I did not have this experience with the breeding pairs I have kept. Certainly allopreening (where one bird raises the feathers on the back of its head and neck and the other bird preens this area) is a popular activity. BIRD SCENE 09

will commence building another nest when young are still in the present nest. They are excellent parents and show great concern for their fledglings, which become independent about three weeks after leaving the nest. They will rear their young without the aid of livefood, or even seeding grasses, even though it is preferable to supply one, or both, items to ensure strong healthy young birds. Unless the aviary is large it is not advisable to leave the young with their parents. It is recommended that they be removed to another aviary once they are completely independent of their parents. Adult coloration occurs about eight weeks after fledging. It is not uncommon for young birds to nest at 3-4 months of age, although it is obviously better that they are older before being allowed to breed.

A SELECTION FROM SOME AVICULTURAL WRITINGS DR ARTHUR BUTLER In the definitive book, Foreign Finches in Captivity (1899), Dr Arthur G Butler of Beckenham, England, documented the available information on finches held in captivity in England and the Continent. For the Cuban finch he quoted the experience of Dr Karl Russ, a successful German aviculturist of the day, who said: “It ranks high

among the most graceful and beautiful inhabitants of the bird-room; in consequence of remarkable ease with which it can be bred, long the darling of all amateurs and breeders.” This is an indication of the Cuban’s popularity for more than 100 years. ERIC BAXTER In the informative book, The Avicultural Writings of Eric Baxter (1963), when discussing the Cuban finch, Eric said: “It is also interesting to note that when they made their initial appearance in aviculturists’ collections many years ago broods of four, sometimes five young were reported, which compares favourably with the results obtained today. It must be remembered that the birds we have in collections at the present time are the progeny of birds that were in [Australian] fanciers’ collections at the time the ban was imposed on imports of all foreign species of birds, which dates back to 1938.” BILL HUNTINGTON In an article “It Can and Does Happen” (Australian Aviculture 1976) based on his experiences with the Cuban finch Bill wrote: “I agreed to a friend’s request to temporarily keep in one of my aviaries a young Cuban cock as he did not have a spare aviary and it had to be separated from its father. The

“I agreed to a friend’s request to temporarily keep in one of my aviaries a young Cuban cock as he did not have a spare aviary and it had to be separated from its father. The young Cuban soon became a favourite mainly because he had an attractive and different colour pattern and was so bright and cheerful.”




“I pay tribute to the Australian aviculturists who have so carefully and efficiently kept this delightful species going without importing any new blood since 1939! Their success with the Cuban Finch is unique in world aviculture.” young Cuban soon became a favourite mainly because he had an attractive and different colour pattern and was so bright and cheerful.” After buying the male, and a female from another source, Bill began breeding Cuban finches. In discussing his breeding results he said: “…I had gained some experience since my introduction into the hobby, and not only did I not lose one of those Cubans but they produced 23 young in a period of 12 months and every Cuban that fledged matured into a fine specimen. Third generation birds from the original pair, together with 2 outcrosses, are now breeding for a grand total of 42 in a period of 17 months.” FRED BARNICOAT From a South African perspective our long-time member, Fred Barnicoat of Johannesburg, contributed an interesting article to Australian Aviculture titled, “Cuban Finches Reach South Africa Again, Thanks to the Efforts of Aviculture in Australia”(1977). He wrote: “Cuban Finches died out in South Africa during the Second World War. I saw them for the first time in 1955 when they were again imported and, as the price asked at that time was very modest, roughly the equivalent of $10, I purchased a pair before the end of that year, and almost immediately bred my

first baby Cuban in the November. In the following six years I bred them consistently. They were very easy to cater for and reared their young without livefood. Various grasses and weeds at the seeding stage were the only extras provided and these are certainly very beneficial and perhaps even necessary to rear young successfully.” He added: “I pay tribute to the Australian aviculturists who have so carefully and efficiently kept this delightful species going without importing any new blood since 1939! Their success with the Cuban Finch is unique in world aviculture.” JEFFREY TROLLOPE When discussing the Cuban finch in his book The Care and Breeding of Seed-Eating Birds (1983) English aviculturist Jeffrey Trollope wrote: “Prior to the ban on export of these birds [into England] by the Cuban Government, this species was the most frequently imported grassquit. Although a free-breeding species in captivity, it is apparent that aviary stocks were inadequate for it to become established”. He describes the Cuban’s voice as: “A cheerful if not accomplished singer, a series of loud but not unmelodious notes. The calls are psew - ee – eeh and a psew, psew-ee.”




Feature ROBERT TROTT In his article, “The Breeding Machine” (Australian Aviculture 1986), Robert detailed his breeding results with the pair of Cuban finches he bought in 1983. He wrote: “In 1984 they bred 16 young from 6 nests and in 1985 16 young from 8 nests. So far this year (1986) they have fledged 8 young from 3 nests. They have only lost two young after fledging; these were from their second and fourth nests in 1984. There doesn’t appear to be any time of the year when this pair won’t breed. In 1984 the young fledged in February, March, April, June, September and October. In 1985 - January, March, April, May July, August, September and November.” He added: ”As far as special feeding goes they particularly like slices of orange, which when laid flat on a bird wire shelf enables the birds to stand directly on the orange slice tear the pulp away with their beaks. The Cubans are especially fond of panic veldt grass seed heads.” MARK SHEPHARD When discussing the Cuban finch in his book, Aviculture in Australia (1989), Mark Shephard wrote: “To solicit the male, the female raises here tail, crouches low over the perch and quivers excitedly, calling to her mate. Copulation may take place in the open. The pair bond is usually strong, but if a bird is lost, a new partner will be accepted. Mutual preening is common, but occasionally this activity can be taken to extremes, with feathers being plucked from the neck”,,, Adding, it

…”is a very active nest builder and may change its nest site regularly.” RUSSELL KINGSTON In his book Keeping and Breeding Finches and Seed-Eaters (1998) Russell Kingston states: “They will readily learn to take mealworms and greenfood from the hand, however, I discourage this practice due to the Cubans becoming jealous and aggressive towards other species in the aviary, who also show a tendency to become friendly towards the aviculturist.” … “For aviculturists in colder climates, I recommend breeding their Cubans between spring and summer. Indeed, even in the subtropical climate [Queensland] where I live, I have found Cubans have a preference for this time.” THE EXPORTATION FROM AUSTRALIA OF EXOTIC SPECIES At the committee meeting of the National Finch and Softbill Association (NFSA) held on 4 July 2010, in Adelaide, a discussion on the “Exports of Exotic Species” took place and the members present were deeply concerned to learn that 13,000 foreign finches had been legally exported overseas by Melbourne dealer(s). The break-down figures being 93% goldfinches, 3.2% red-faced parrotfinches, 1.6% Cuban finches and 1.8% greenfinches. David Pace, president of the NFSA, writes: “Regarding these export figures the 1.6% of 13,000 is 208 individuals and although it does not sound like many but you only need to look at the


recent figures of Australian finches held in Victorian aviaries. Some species such as black-throated and crimson finches, pictorella and yellow-rumped munias etc, have fewer than 500 individuals - if 208 individuals were shipped out in one year alone, it would cause a huge loss in genetic material. If it were to occur over 5 years, the species would be in a dire situation. Aberdeen and other foreign finch species are likely to be under 100 individuals.”

Pace, D. October 2010. Personal communication. Shephard, M. 1989. Aviculture in Australia. Black Cockatoo Press, Prahran, Australia. Restall, R. 2003. Breeding the Blackfaced Grassquit Tiaris bicolour omissa With Some Notes on Behaviour. Avicultural Magazine, Vol. 109 No. 4, Journal of the Avicultural Society, England. Updated 2007 by the author for the AS website.

Bibliography Baxter, E. 1985. The Avicultural Writings of Eric Baxter (ed. M Shephard & C Welford). The Avicultural Society of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

Trollope. J. 1983. The Care and Breeding of Seed-Eating Birds. Blandford Press, Poole, England.

Barnicoat, F. 1977. Cuban Finches Reach South Africa Again, Thanks to the Efforts of Aviculture in Australia. Australian Aviculture, pp.47-48.

Acknowledgement Painting: © Howard Robinson, The Forge, Front Street, Wheatley Hill, County Durham, DH6 3PS, England.

Butler, Dr A G. 1899. Foreign Finches in Captivity (Second Edition) Brumby and Clarke, Hull and London, England. Hyde, G. 1995. The Cuban Finch: A Delightful Foreigner. Australian Aviculture, pp.64-67. Huntington, W G. 1976. It Can and Does Happen. Australian Aviculture, pp. 108-109.

Trott, R. 1986. The Breeding Machine. Australian Aviculture, pp.237-238.

Donate to our CONSERVATION FUND… CLICK THE LINK BELOW: http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/donations.php

Kingston, R J. 1998. Keeping and Breeding Finches and Seed-Eaters. INDRUSS Productions, New Farm, Queensland, Australia. National Finch and Softbill Association Inc. Committee meeting, Adelaide, 4 –7-2010. Reprinted from the “Australian Aviculture” magazine December 2010 with the permission of the author Graeme Hyde and the Avicultural Society of Australia inc 14



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Reviewed by: Les Rance


Brazil 2011 Living The Dream


have always enjoyed reading books and articles written by Alan Jones because of his easy to follow writing style. His first book ‘Keeping Parrots – Understanding their Care and Breeding’ is a particular favourite of mine as I am interested in the subjects that it describes in a clear and precise manner. In this latest book ‘ Brazil 2011 Living The Dream’ Alan puts his excellent writing style to good use in describing where he went and what he saw on his visit to Brazil which he has complimented with a range of relevant

and interesting images that are the ‘Icing on the cake’ of this very readable publication. It is a book that is very easy to ‘get into’ and difficult to put down; a number of people have told me they read it from cover to cover in one session and that I can certainly believe. His style is such that you feel you are actually in Brazil by his side as he describes what he sees and does, the text is very well supported by his pictures which are all numbered and these figures are carefully inserted in the text. To give an idea of the care taken with this book I could not find a



single mistake of spelling or any other error that can so easily sneak into a 128 page book, a real tribute to the writer. As this book covers all the birds that Alan saw on his visit it gives a great insight into the many other birds that the 28 parrot species associate with in this vast country it is really humbling to see the UK depicted to scale on page 7. I am sure that anyone with an interest in wildlife will find this publication a great addition to their book collection. An ideal Christmas present for 25th December 2012. Please see page 35 for details of price and availability.




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ARTICLE BY: Keith Jones, National Exhibition Coordinator

“THE NATIONAL” EXHIBITION 2012 Pictures of the birds above the table of winners are for reference only





t was a pleasure to coordinate the 2012 show and with 17 National Societies and Clubs running their own sections and with over 3,200 birds displayed on the staging, this was the biggest and best National to date, since the Parrot Society UK resurrected “The National” at Stafford Show Ground in 2007. We hope to increase the number of participating societies next year and we already have the space and the show staging to have 4500 exhibits on show. Next years’ National Exhibition will be held on 13th October 2013. The following show report has been combined from the individual reports received from participating Clubs who made up the informal committee for this years’ show on Sunday 14th October. I would like to thank all those individuals who produced and supplied their reports so promptly.


© Mick Freakley

© Mick Freakley

Budgerigar Section Organised by: South Cheshire Budgerigar Society Show Secretary: John Cosby Judges: Geoff Bowley & John Lees Best in Show & Best Young Bird Best Any Age & Best op. Sex in Show Champion Any Age Champion Young Bird Intermediate Any Age Intermediate Young Bird Novice Any Age Novice Young Bird Beginner Any Age Beginner Young Bird Junior Any Age Junior Young Bird Best Team



Phil Reaney - Dominant Pied Cock Gwilym Jones - Spangle Hen Best G.Jones 2nd P. Reaney 3rd M. Kiff Best P. Reaney 2nd AR & TR Terheege 3rd R. Warrender Best R. Hughes 2nd Jones & Parry 3rd R. Hughes Best Jones & Parry 2nd R. Hughes 3rd R. Hughes Best I. Booth 2nd V. Owens 3rd I. Booth Best A. Young 2nd A. Young 3rd A. Young Best S. Miszkiel 2nd D & J Swift 3rd A. Benton Best, 2nd & 3rd S. Miszkiel Best , 2nd & 3rd O. Williams Best & 2nd O. Williams A. Benton

Feature Java Sparrow

Peach-Faced Lovebird

Java Sparrow Section Organised by: Java Sparrow Society UK Show Secretary: Andy Dutton Best Java Sparrow in Show & Best Adult Java Sparrow Best Current Year Owner Bred Java Sparrow Best Junior Java Sparrow

R. Birkwood A. Dutton Miss Luanna Elliot

Lovebird Section Organised by: South Cheshire Budgerigar Society Show Secretary: Allen King Judges: Phillip Smith Best Lovebird in Show 1st N. Pegrum 2nd T. Mulford 3rd A.K. & J.S. Morton Best CYOB Lovebird 1st A.K. & J.S. Morton 2nd S. Stewart 3rd T. Mulford Best Normal, Best Eyering, Best Masked, Best Fischer Lovebirds N. Pegrum Best Rare, Best Blackcheeked Lovebirds A. & I. King Best Peachfaced, Best Pair of Lovebirds T. Mulford Best Mutation Lovebird A.K. & J.S. Morton Best Abyssinian Lovebird S. Stewart


Feature Bengalese Finch

Bengalese Finch Section Organised by: National Bengalese Fanciers Association Show Secretary: Tony Edwards Judges: George Lewsey and Geoff Gradwell Best Bengalese in Show Best Champion Breeder Best Champion Adult Best Novice & Best Novice Adult Best Novice Breeder Best junior & Best Junior Adult Best Junior Breeder

T.M. & R. Edwards T.M. & R. Edwards T.M. & R. Edwards P. & J. Paintain D. & C. Allen Miss E. Downing Miss S. Henton

Australian Finch Section Organised by: Dave Harris Show Secretary: Tony Edwards Judges: Mr E Davison Best In Show. Best Adult Australian. 2nd Best Adult Australian. 3rd Best Adult Australian. Best C.Y.O.B. 2nd Best C.Y.O.B. 3rd Best C.Y.O.B. 26


M Randle, Hecks Grassfinch D & H Harris, Cherry Finch G & E Nancarrow Diamond Firetail I &T Mercer, Hecks Grassfinch M Randle, Hecks Grassfinch I & T Mercer, Gouldian finch G & E Nancarrow, Diamond Firetail

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and veggies will be very unreliable drinkers. So drink and the reverse. So dosing is done the only way to ensure they get any supplement is automatically. If you are adding supplements to to add it to the food. Chop the food up really small food it needs to be calculated on the basis of the • Veterinary fees, theft & – this tends to prevent them taking one bite then weight of the bird. Our advisors will be happy to mortality cover for pet parrots discarding the rest so is a good economy measure help if you need clarification. anyway. Add the supplements and make sure it is 5. Tap • waters around the country vary enormously in Public liability cover for bird all eaten. their calcium levels. This can impact on shows/ bird clubs/ exhibitions e iv 3. It is best to give birds a break from good quality supplement requirements but only for those birds s lu c Ex • Qsignificant uote PS1 and your chelated calcium supplements every now and drinking water. So if you live in r fo unt co membership number to diswe then. For most birds recommend giving the Swansea where the water is very soft you will use get your first month free! ociety and rotforsnon-breeders supplement twice our maximum recommended doses or even more. paarweek ers!Birds that in exotic animal five times a week for IfThe youfirst live name in Swindon you may useinsurance a lot less. An embstock. mbreeding have not had a good quality chelated calcium increasing number oforpeople are using For a no obligation quote further information call bottled us now: supplement should get one 5 days a week for the waters and even de-ionised water. Most of these first 1-2 months to load their stores of calcium. waters have very low mineral levels (even if they or visit our web site at The “off days” exercise the bird’s calcium are described as mineral water) so use higher www.exoticdirect.co.uk regulation system and produces more consistent levels of supplements if using water like this as blood calcium levels. your calcium carrier. 4. In-water supplements are administered on a per ExoticDirect Pet Insurance. 4 Bridge Road Business Park, Bridge Road, Haywards litre basis. The1TX bigger the bird moretrade theymark of BrooksI Braithwaite hope this clarifies a very important topic. Heath, RH16 ExoticDirect is a the registered

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Zebra Finch

Zebra Finch Section Organised by: Zebra Finch Society Show Secretary: Ted Payne Judges: Tony Furlong and Brent Humphries Best in Show Peter Harrison, Pair of Greycheeks Best Champion Peter Harrison, Pair of Greycheeks Best Champion Adult Peter Harrison, Pair of Greycheeks Best Champion Breeder Peter Harrison, Pair of Greycheeks Best Novice G & K Craig, Pair of Normal Greys Best Novice Adult G & K Craig, Pair of Chestnut Flanked Whites Best Novice Breeder G & K Craig, Pair of Normal Greys Best Junior, Best Junior Adult & Best Junior Breeder Ben Downing

Foreign Softbill Section Organised by: National Foreign Softbill Society UK Show Secretary: Michelle Hinks Judges: Terry Sayers Champion Foreign Softbill Reserve Champion Softbill Third Best Softbill in Show Best Current Year Bred Softbill



Brian Simpson, Pair of Senegal Zosterops Peter Moore, Chestnut backed Thrush Karl Marshall, Pair of Broad-ringed Zosterops Catherine Warren, Spreo Starling

Feature Greenfinch cock

British Section Organised by: British, Mule & hybrid Club Show Secretary: Sean Fitzpatrick Judges: Peter Jackson Best in Show Best Champion Flighted Hardbill Best CYB in Show Best Champion CYB Hardbill Best Novice Hardbill Best Novice CYB Hardbill Best Mule or Hybrid in Show Best Champion Mule or Hybrid in Show Best Novice Mule or Hybrid in Show Best Softbill in Show Best Novice Softbill Best Northern Exhibit

D. Footitt, Greenfinch cock D. Footitt, Greenfinch cock D. Footitt, Greenfinch hen D. Footitt, Greenfinch hen M. Wright, Mealy Redpoll cock M. Wright, Siskin hen T. McCracken, Greenfinch Mule T. McCracken, Greenfinch Mule H. & B. Chambers, Canary X Bullfinch P. Devereux, Redstart cock P. Devereux, Redstart cock S. Turner, Two-barred Crossbill X Bullfinch


Blue Lizard Canary

Lizard Canary

Blue Lizard Canary Section Organised by: Blue Lizard Canary Club of GB Show Secretary: David Allen Judges: Kevin McCullam Presidents’ Trophy Best Blue Lizard Best Broken cap Blue Lizard Best Non cap Blue Lizard Best over-year Blue Lizard Best Novice Blue Lizard

Stan Bolton, Clear cap Blue hen Stan Bolton, Clear cap Blue hen David Allen, Broken cap Blue cock Stan Bolton, Non cap Blue hen Stan Bolton, Non cap Blue hen Ray Smith, Broken cap Blue hen

Lizard Canary Section Organised by: Lizard Canary Association of GB Show Secretary: Dave Ross Judges: Joe Coakley Best Lizard 2nd Best Champion Lizard Best Silver Lizard Best Novice Lizard Best Novice Gold Lizard 30


Stan Bolton, cap Gold cock Stan Bolton, Clear cap Silver hen Stan Bolton, Clear cap Silver hen Steve Martin, Clear cap Silver hen John Gratton, Clear cap Gold hen

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Fife Fancy Canary Section Organised by: Fife Fancy Federation Show Secretary: Chris Smith Judges: Charlie Adams, John Holmes, Richard Evans, Tony Carline Best Fife in Show Best Champion Fife 2nd Best Champion Fife Best Variegated Special Best Self Award Best Cinnamon Award Best Champion White/allied Special Best Novice 2nd Best Fife in Show Best Stam (teams of 3 or 8 birds)

H. Cooper H. Cooper A. Rodger J. Nicholson & G. Curry D. Lumsden J. Croucher McEwan & Campbell Herd & Sommerville Herd & Sommerville A. Rodger

Irish Fancy Canary Section Organised by: Irish Fancy International Show Secretary: Maurice O’Connor Judges: Dave Perryman Best Irish Fancy in Show, Best Champion Les Summers Best Champion U/Fltd, Best Champion Fltd Les Summers Best Novice, Best Novice U/Fltd Darren Hadley Best Novice Fltd Eammon Wolohan Best Ladies Exhibit Miss Caroline Bird

Gloster Fancy Canary Section Organised by: Gloster Fancy Specialist Society Show Secretary: John Herring Judges: Charlie Clarke & Bob Dunn Best in Show, Best Champion, Best Champion Corona, Best 3PD R. & I. Wright Best Yellow, Best White Middlemiss & Thompson Best Cinnamon Steve Halls Best Novice, Best Novice Consort, Best Novice 3P Craig & Jackie Biddle Best Novice Corona, Best Novice Buff P. J. Bull Best Junior C. Hulse




Stafford Canary Section Organised by: Stafford Canary Club Show Secretary: Stephen Berrill Judges: Mick Watton Best Stafford in Show Best Opposite Sex Best Plainhead Best Champion Best Novice Best Champion Flighted, Unflighted, Frosted, Dimorphic, Clear, Varigated Best Champion Nonfrost, Self. Best Novice Flighted, Unflighted, Frosted, Clear. Best Novice Nonfrost, Varigated. Best Novice Dimorphic, Self

P. Finn S. Berrill B. Forrest P. Finn T. Pearce P. Finn S. Berrill T. Pearce E. Brown G. Walker


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PO Box. 107 Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2YR. Call or Fax (+44) 01872-262777. Email: info@avianid.co.uk For Rings of Distinction Mention when phoning that you are a Parrot Society member

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BRAZIL 2011 In November 2011 Avian Veterinary Surgeon Alan Jones and his partner Maria joined Steve Brookes on one of his ‘Wild Parrots Up Close’ excursions to Brazil. This was a first-time experience for them both, and generated so many photographs and memorable encounters that Alan has written up the journey as a book. This limited edition, lavishly illustrated volume is available only through Alan, via his website www.birdvet.co.uk, or through e-mail application at akjones@birdvet.co.uk. The face price is £26.95, but signed copies may be purchased in this way for just £24.95, plus postage & packing. Copies are also obtainable (without postage costs) at any of the clinics that Alan attends. BLE


Keeping Parrots

Understanding Their Care & Breeding By Alan K Jones BIRD SCENE 09

ARTICLE BY: Dr. Sam Williams, Director, Echo

Echo Project News from Bonaire 36




his season is a fun time of year on Bonaire: when you listen, you can hear the begging calls of wild parrot chicks all over the island. The Echo team have been busy inspecting nests and monitoring chicks, but of course there are always many breeding pairs we don’t know about. It’s always an incredible experience when we unexpectedly find more chicks, and one of our recent discoveries is very special indeed. We have kept the news of his discovery quiet, but we thought as a supporter of Echo you would like see him. Intrigued? Check it out below! While the breeding season has kept us busy monitoring wild parrots around the island, activity has also been non-stop on our kunuku, Dos Pos. We recently moved a new flock of confiscated parrots into the Echo release aviary, where we’ve been introducing them to fresh branches and food. When we’re not working with birds, we’ve been enjoying the privilege of sharing our work with the children of Bonaire. I’ve not worked with humans all that much, especially not little ones! But hearing a child say “wow” when they look at a parrot through binoculars is an extremely satisfying experience. I hope reading about our efforts over the last months, which your support has made possible, will be a satisfying experience for you.

I’ve not worked with humans all that much, especially not little ones! But hearing a child say “wow” when they look at a parrot through binoculars is an extremely satisfying experience.


A Parrot Named “Blue” Keep this one to yourself if you can! Though Yellow-shouldered Amazons are usually green, blue variations have occasionally been sighted on Bonaire. The last blue parrot was spotted about seven years ago, but he was sadly caught by poachers. We hope this blue chick might fair better. In a flock or in a tree, he stands out by a mile. The unique coloration, we’re told, is the result of a mutation in which there is a lack of yellow pigmentation in the feathers, causing the green of the parrot’s body to become blue and the yellow head to become white. We’ve seen this blue bird a few times so far, and we’ll definitely be on the lookout for him again - watch your inbox for future updates!

Population Monitoring Breeding season is the busiest time of year for the Echo team. Several of the nests we’ve followed over the last six years were not used by breeding parrots this year; some were taken over by bees, a problem we’ve been spending more of our time to fix. Echo’s Michaela and Ville performed their first nest inspections on Bonaire this year, hiking through woods and abseiling down cliffs to access difficult-to-reach nests. As part of our monitoring program, each new chick we found was fitted with an identifying ring around his or her leg. These rings allow us to follow their survival and to learn more about the population dynamics of the Yellow-shouldered Amazon.

The last blue parrot was spotted about seven years ago, but he was sadly caught by poachers. We hope this blue chick might fair better. In a flock or in a tree, he stands out by a mile. The unique coloration, we’re told, is the result of a mutation in which there is a lack of yellow pigmentation in the feathers… become white.




Rescue and Release After our last release of rescued parrots, we made some improvements to the aviary, just in time for the arrival of a new group of 11 confiscated parrots that were being held at Bonaire’s Ministry for Agriculture. This new group was soon joined by Goliath, a rescued parrot who was found with a broken wing. An adult wild bird who was uncomfortable around people, he healed quickly and we released him as soon as we were able. Soon after, Frig, an underweight chick who was discovered by good samaritans, arrived at Echo, and we quickly went to work getting her back up to a healthy weight. She is doing extremely well and has joined the flock in the release aviary.

Parrots and People Just about every child in the town of Rincon and many from further afield has been on a tour of our Conservation Centre thanks to the efforts of Outreach Co-ordinator Michaela Roberts. When 40 kids descended on the kunuku one afternoon, the Echo team took them on group tours to see and learn about the parrots, trees, and birds in general. Michaela has also devised fun educational games as teaching aids. With a little bit of duct tape and some cardboard cut-outs, she created a parrot population game in the vein of monopoly - but instead of hotels and cash, the winning team is the one with the best population management plan that increases parrot numbers!

When 40 kids descended on the kunuku one afternoon, the Echo team took them on group tours to see and learn about the parrots, trees, and birds in general. Michaela has also devised fun educational games as teaching aids. With a little bit of duct tape and some cardboard cut-outs, she created a parrot population game in the vein of monopoly …


Echo’s New Tree Nursery It’s been a very busy summer for Echo, as we’ve begun work on several important projects, including a tree nursery. With help from our awesome friends, we got started reclaiming a former growth area and created a native plant nursery and vegetable plot. Because feral pigs, donkeys, and goats roam freely and eat the vegetation on the badly deforested island of Bonaire, we needed to fence in our nursery and garden to make sure all our efforts don’t go to waste. Each team member also got to plant an eggbox of seeds. With luck and care, some of these will grow into trees that will provide nesting sites and food for the parrots.



Feature Parrot watching at Dos Pos We showed Jong Bonaire teenagers the parrots, birds and trees at Dos Pos! Thanks to Desiree from STINAPA for making this possible within her great summer camp and to Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund who are supporting Echo’s outreach program.

Donate to our CONSERVATION FUND… CLICK THE LINK BELOW: http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/donations.php




he Parrot Society issued a booklet on mutations recently, there are also many advertisements in the magazine for mutations of all species, no breed would seem to have escaped the urge of our members to juggle the genes and produce whole collections of multi-hued birds. My main interest over the years has been the Australian species in particular grass parakeet, it is my firm opinion that their natural colours cannot be improved upon. A Splendid cock for example has colours direct from an artist’s palette, I do not consider any Splendid mutation can better the normal colours, a whitebreasted Splendid belies its name. A normal Bourke has on close inspection an array of subtle colours that I consider out classes the Rosa Bourke’s garish appearance. I have been able to visit Australia over the years and I have seen the birds in their natural habitat, because the various breeds have their own geographical zones there are no obvious signs of cross breeding. There was a flock of several hundred Corella Cockatoos around one of our campsites and amongst them two Galahs that were part of the flock were they the result of mixed breeding? No! Ray Ackroyd our guide had an explanation. Corellas often evict the previous occupants and lay their eggs in the nest and rear a family, in this case he suggested two of the Galah’s eggs had not been destroyed but hatched with their clutch and been accepted as their own chicks.






During my visit to Australia I have many treasured memories of birds I was able to see at close range. Highlights were Leadbeaters, Cockatoos and Emus we filmed at a water hole and Bluewings foraging in the scrub on Kangaroo Island; Pennants in the Blue Mountains and standing on the deck of my ship docked in Brisbane the return of a flock of Galahs to their roost in adjacent trees. They did a circuit of the harbour in the evening sun and as they wheeled above in perfect formation their colour changed from grey to pink and back again, a memory that I can still visualise some fifty years on. The Galahs I saw in Norman Cooper’s aviaries with cream feathers replacing the grey could not have had that effect.



When I started keeping birds in the seventies I acquired specimens of all the Grass Parakeets available in the UK and was successful in breeding pure bred strains, if I needed out crosses or replacements I was able to contact breeders through the Parrot Society magazine or at our area meetings. I visited an address in North London that turned out to be a rectory, the vicar showed me two aviaries stocked with turquoisines and I was able to select a bird from each to make up an unrelated pair. On another occasion I needed a cock Bourke to match up with a lonely hen I was able to contact a local member who had just what I wanted a young beautifully marked cock bursting with vitality. I put him in a 9 x 4 foot flight with the hen and they were mating within the hour when I went out to see how they were settling in, a good start to what proved to be a long and prolific line of natural Bourkes. I find this is no longer possible, there are no members I know that keep a collection of normals, so I go to the Parrot Society sale days and if I am in luck, find a suitable bird. It has to be introduced to my layout and a new partner, after a few months eggs are laid and chicks hatched. On fledging I frequently find that one of the chicks is different to the others. Recently I have had a Rosa Bourke and a Cinnamon Splendid, the parent bird had a mutant trace in its parentage, another year lost.


Next morning I found them on display and reserved them. When I found time I returned to pick them up and the hen had just laid an egg, an excellent omen I thought and paid 10p extra for the egg. In the September 2009 Parrot Society magazine Les Rance had an article and pictures of some Yellow Kakariki he had bred. I enjoyed reading it and the colour plates were excellent, they are very good aviary birds always lively and friendly which is no doubt why there are thousands in European aviaries but they are in decline in their natural habitat in New Zealand and are CITES A listed. I was checking the overnight birds at the last June Parrot Society show when I noticed a pair of normal Kakariki. They were alert and looked a picture of health and I liked what I saw. Next morning I found them on display and reserved them. When I found time I returned to pick them up and the hen had just laid an egg, an excellent omen I thought and paid 10p extra for the egg. On returning home I housed them in a 9 x 4 foot aviary with a nestbox. In August she laid seven eggs but did not commence to sit until the sixth egg was laid. Three eggs hatched,

one did not survive the first hours, the parents have been exemplary in brooding and feeding the remaining pair of chicks. They are growing fast and I am afraid one has yellow primary wing feathers so the parents are not free of mutation genes and it’s going to take time and patience to find which one is the carrier and I am unable to sell them as normal Kakariki. Now can you see why I do not approve of mutation breeding? Cockatiels are the worst affected birds of all, so much colour breeding has resulted in it being impossible to find normal strains, I have tried and ended up with birds of all colours to show for my efforts. All I am able to do is implore any member fortunate enough to have pure birds to take good care of them and repel all mutation carriers. I must admit it is with some trepidation that I read the donated advertisements, it is only a matter of time before I see a Lutino Hyacinth Macaw for sale.


• Security Warning • Security Warning • S


Security Warning

ecies –

Bird Thefts – Smaller Sp


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 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 Tamworth, Selby, Hull, Durham in the North and at Taunton, Bedfont, Northolt and three times in the region of Southampton, West Drayton, Middlesex and at Dagenham in Essex. This comprised of an extensive number of specialist Finches of extremely high value. 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

Security Warning • Security Warning • Security Warning