54 Bird Scene - Spring 2022

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Breeding for Pleasure v Breeding for Exhibition Andrew Dutton

An Experiment with Mountain Parakeets The late Jerry Fisher

The Gloster Fancy Specialist Society John Herring

The National Exhibition Les Rance THE NATIONAL Exhibition

Does Your Parrot Really Want a Mate? Rosemary Low


BIRD SCENE: Issue 54: Spring 2022 BIRD SCENE is run by The Parrot Society UK, Audley House, Northbridge Road, Berkhamsted HP4 1EH, England. FOR SALES AND EDITORIAL ENQUIRES Telephone or Fax: 01442 872245 Website: www.theparrotsocietyuk.org / E-Mail: les.rance@theparrotsocietyuk.org The views expressed by contributors to this magazine are not those of The Parrot Society UK unless otherwise explicitly stated







n the introduction to the winter edition of Bird Scene, I wrote that ‘We now have a new Covid-19 variant known as Omicron. The new variant’s genetic profile has raised concerns, but at the time of writing (Monday 29th November 2021), there is a shortage of real-world data. The Parrot Society is recommending that visitors to The Help Bird Keeper’s Show on Sunday 5th December at Stafford wear a face covering. The great thing is that we have our second show on, after missing these enjoyable events throughout 2020. I am delighted with

the numbers of people booking tables and the early entry wrist bands are also attracting plenty of orders from the eligible Parrot Society members, there is no doubt that being able to enter the Show halls at 7.30am and get the opportunity to purchase the best birds is a very real member benefit.’ Although in the build up to The Help Bird Keeper’s Show the then new Covid-19 variant Omicron was the most serious threat to the Show. Things started to change quite radically as the date of the show approached and Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards department became more concerned about the Avian Influenza outbreak that was becoming more widespread and coming closer to The County Showground. We were advised, that we should supply disinfectant mats at all entrances and increase the number of transfer aviaries, as they did not want any escaped birds flying around the halls during the event. Fortunately, we had purchased 10 display aviaries which are the same size and style as the transfer aviaries the

previous year. So, our helpers were very busy on the Saturday building these new aviaries and locating them around the Argyle and Sandylands Centres, to the satisfaction of the County Council inspectors. As we are now very much in the winter period, we are having to contend with some very stormy weather, with three named storms hitting the UK in five days, these are coming across the Atlantic powered by very strong winds in the jet stream. The first was Dudley, the second and most damaging certainly in my area was Eunice and then Franklin. Fortunately I have glass fibre sheeting on my aviaries which is much stronger than plastic sheeting that does tend to harden over a few years and then becomes brittle at which point it tends to get damaged by high winds. In this issue we have a very interesting article about Breeding for Pleasure V Breeding for Exhibition by Andy Dutton and an article by The Late Jerry Fisher on an experiment with the Mountain Parakeets. Also one on the Gloster Fancy Specialist Society by Canary stalwart John Herring. So really quite a lot for you to read and hopefully pick up some pointers that may well assist you with whatever species of birds you currently maintain. This is now the fifty-fourth edition of Bird Scene, how quickly over ten years can pass when

you are working on a project – the first FREE on-line bird magazine produced in the UK. At 48 pages, this is quite a big read! Every time we post the Parrot Society monthly magazine, I cringe at the cost. Postal costs appear to have increased far faster than inflation and if The Royal Mail are not careful they will find that their income will reduce even further as people and businesses send less and less by conventional means. A price increase to 85p for a First Class letter became effective on 1st January 2021.With CPI inflation now running around 5%, costs continue to rise. These costs obviously affect bird clubs when the show schedules have to be posted to potential exhibitors and equally it affects the exhibitors when they return their entries. In addition, how much longer will bird clubs be able to afford to post magazines to their members? This must be a great worry to many club officials. Fortunately, with an e-magazine we do not have this problem, or for that matter the cost of colour printing. Because of increases to the costs of both postage and printing, I am pleased that we decided to produce Bird Scene as a FREE e-magazine. We have learnt a great deal over the past ten years about this way of communicating with bird enthusiasts and I am sure that this knowledge will become more and more valuable as we see further increases in costs to paper magazines. We are BIRD SCENE



always happy to receive articles about the species that are being exhibited at The National and are very pleased to

give publicity to the club supplying the information. Regular readers will know that Bird Scene has been produced to publicise The National Exhibition held each year (Covid-19 restrictions excepted) at our October Sale Day/ Show at Stafford County Showground. This publication is also used to promote our Conservation efforts for threatened parrots in the wild. An archive of earlier editions of Bird Scene can be found on the Home Page of our website www. theparrotsocietyuk.org so if you would like to see earlier versions please do look at the Bird Scene archive.



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There are many advantages to keeping javas just for pleasure. There is not as much stress involved with the keeping and breeding of javas if it is just for your own pleasure.







y far the most popular choice is breeding for pleasure. Most of the members of the JSSUK just keep their javas for the sole purpose of enjoying the sight of them in their cages or aviaries, there is nothing wrong with this at all, as that is why we all started keeping birds in the first place ! BIRD SCENE


There are many advantages to keeping javas just for pleasure. There is not as much stress involved with the keeping and breeding of javas if it is just for your own pleasure. You can have what ever colour mutations that you want, you can pair them to which ever mutation you want and you can choose to breed throughout the year at any time and not worry about what colours you produce and the getting them ready for the showing season. It is my view that as well as doing this it would also be a great benefit to the 10


hobby if people gave showing a go. Showing is on the decline and all of us in the hobby need to try and do as much as we can to save it as it will benefit all of us in the future. Keeping javas is not like keeping other varieties of birds such as budgies, canaries and even zebra finches. With javas there are no champions, novice and beginner classes, everyone is on the same playing field. All you have is an Adult class and a Current Year Owner Bred class. Here at the JSSUK we are trying to keep the javas

FEATURE the same shape and size that they are in the wild, that is why we have a show standard to adhere to. If you look over the last 10 years of the society there have been 7 different winners of the Best Java In Show, there are no particular exhibitors with outstanding birds winning every year in year out. Every show you attend you have a chance of winning if you just put a little extra effort in. Keeping javas for pleasure or exhibition, you practically have to do the same things anyway. If breeding for exhibition you obviously pair the best birds you have together. You feed them the best foods you can afford and make sure they always have access to grit and clean water, to drink and to bathe in. If keeping for pleasure, apart from choosing your best birds to pair together, you do everything else the same anyway! If wanting to show your current year birds you have to pair up your birds early on in the year to make sure they have come through the moult and are in good condition for the shows which usually start later on in the year. Also you have to make sure they have that current year ring on them, to show them in that class. In the Adult class you can show any java you like, rung or unrung.

With javas there are no champions, novice and beginner classes, everyone is on the same playing field. All you have is an Adult class and a Current Year Owner Bred class.

For those of you who are thinking of giving showing a go in the future, you would be better breeding your birds in cages rather than flights. Not that you can not breed great looking birds out in the flights, it is just if bred in cages they are usually more calm when you introduce them to a show cage. So please if you keep your javas just for pleasure, why not think of just giving showing a go. Here at the JSSUK we will only be to glad to help you and get you started at giving showing a go. Get in touch with myself or any committee member via our website or our facebook page and we will be glad to help you. At the shows you will meet lots of new friends, who in the future you can buy or exchange birds with to improve your own stock. So come on, if you are breeding just for pleasure at the BIRD SCENE


So come on, if you are breeding just for pleasure at the moment, why not breed for exhibiting too ? What have you got to loose ???



FEATURE moment, why not breed for exhibiting too ? What have you got to loose ???

answer is yes, but keep an eye on them, especially if they are kept in cages !

The two most common questions asked when people have purchased Javas for the first time are what do I feed them on and can they be housed with other finches?

Some, but not all Javas sometimes have a tendancy to bully smaller finches, especially when kept in cages. In aviaries because there is more space and places to escapes to, they do not seem to do this as much and you can usually house Javas with most other species. Just keep an eye on them, especially when breeding as javas will not tolerate other birds near their nest box when eggs or young are present.

Well first of all regarding the feeding, I give my birds a good quality foreign finch mix and it goes without saying as with all birds, they have access to grit and fresh water. You can also feed them a little greenfood, lettuce or broccoli will be accepted and I also feed mine a little budgie tonic seed once or twice a week. Also to get the birds in condition I feed a little egg food which they really enjoy. With Java sparrows, they are a bird that likes to bathe a lot so I always have a bath on the cage or in the flight as they will bathe two or three times a day, sometimes more. Another food you can feed your javas, especially if in a mixed collection with other finches, are mealworms. Javas do love mealworms which they will skin and eat the insides. Regarding the second question, can they be kept with other species ? The

When housing Javas in cages in a bird room it is advisable to either house them one pair to one cage or if not breeding them then house just cocks together and house hens together in separate cages. This will stop the cock birds fighting over the attention to attract a hen.

The two most common questions asked when people have purchased Javas for the first time are what do I feed them on and can they be housed with other finches?



FEATURE In an aviary there is a lot more room for birds to escape should any bickering occur so you can obviously house more birds together. If anyone requires any more information onthe keeping of Javas please take a look at our website or Facebook page were there is a lot of information available. Or if you are attending the sales days at Stafford or if you go to some of the CBS shows around the country please look out for the Java Sparrow Society stand. There will be a few of the JSSUK committee members on the stand who will only be to happy to offer any advise needed to anyone who is thinking of starting with Javas or anyone who already has them and just wants some advise on anything Java related.



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Sierras are “fliers” whereas Mountains and Lineolated are “scramblers”.






hen I returned to bird keeping some twelve years ago my first acquisition was a pair of normal Lineolated Parakeets. They were new to me – I had seen some in a pet shop and been struck by their appearance and the fact that “I felt I could see them thinking”. They proved to be a delight and were featured in the June 2003 issue of this magazine. My disappointment was that, although they were visual normals, none of their offspring was a wild-type bird. That led me to investigate related species and I “discovered” Sierra and Mountain Parakeets. At that time all three species were in the genus Bolborhynchus - along with the Andean Parakeet and the Rufous -fronted Parrot - which are not to my knowledge known in captivity, certainly not in Europe. Sierras and Mountains have since been re-classified in their own genus, Psilopsiagon. Each species is immediately distinct but with overlapping features. Mountains and Sierras have similar shape but Sierras are “fliers” whereas Mountains and Lineolated are “scramblers”. Sierras are by far the most aggressive


of the three. Each species can be kept on a colony basis but Sierras require space. I have kept Sierras with small finches and Diamond Doves without a problem, however to attempt with Sierras what I am about to describe would result in a bloodbath! The over-riding common factor is that all three species give the impression that you are dealing with small parrot intelligence in small parakeet body.

The chicks, eldest 10 days.

When it comes to captive breeding, Lineolated can be classed as “easy” and Sierras as “reliable”


(provided the pair is compatible). Mountains are more tricky. Their great advantage is that they are dimorphic and can be sexed in the nest at around 4 weeks of age. Over the last 10 years I have never been without all three species. Lineolated I do not breed because I have not been able to obtain pure wild-type birds. Sierras I have bred regularly when I have had compatible pairs. The Mountains have been sporadic.

Their great advantage is that they are dimorphic and can be sexed in the nest at around 4 weeks of age.

NOTES Dry Seed Mix:

“Australian Grass Parakeet and Lovebird Mix”.

Soft food Mix:

1 part grated carrot 1 part finely chopped spinach 1 part finely chopped chicory 1/3 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: “Germination/Soak Seed” Soaked 24 hours in water with Aviciens, Rinsed thoroughly (do not drain). 12 hours in propagator. Rinse again. Stir into soft food mix and serve.

For those unfamiliar with Mountains, they are – in my experience – delightful little birds that are simple to maintain and show a high level of intelligence and personality for their size. They also – like Madagascar Lovebirds – have the advantage of being dimorphic, the sex of the chicks being obvious by four weeks of age. My birds are fed on my standard soft food mix plus a proprietary grass parakeet and lovebird mix – details at the end of this article. They also get yellow and red millet sprays if taken, but mostly these are chewed off at the

Grit Mix:

1 part fine mineral grit 1 part fine oyster shell 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.

“For those unfamiliar with Mountains, they are – in my experience – delightful little birds that are simple to maintain and show a high level of intelligence and personality for their size.”

base of the stem and left lying on the cage floor having no further potential as toys.

The 9 x 2 x 2 (2700 x 600 x600) breeding cage with 5 grass parakeet boxes.


The chicks, eldest 21 days. The eldest at 33 days. Six adults also shared this box at night!

The eldest at 31 days. Three chicks are clearly cocks.

FEATURE Being scramblers, they often ignore the flight option and climb along the cage front. My next experiment, to get better space utilization, will be to replace the standard perches with V-shaped natural beech ones clamped to the cage front so that they can run and jump the length of the cage. Do not underestimate their intelligence – everything is examined for its’ entertainment potential. My birds have escaped by unhooking one side of a bath – the family were sitting in a row on top of their external nest box – and regularly undo one of the four bolt and (external) wing nut assemblies that retain my cage fronts. I keep my Sierras in an outside flight covered in plasticcoated netting. The Mountains lasted less than a day in a similar unit having immediately set about removing the plastic coating. There are four subspecies of Mountain recognized (including the typical form) but I think this is largely academic to aviculturists. Firstly, I am unclear as to how distinct the ranges are in the wild or whether there are “grey” areas. Secondly, while the cocks are distinguished by the extent of yellow on the front (from hardly any to full frontal) the hens are virtually identical and would almost certainly need to be wild-caught from a known geographic area.

My Mountains arrived with a reputation similar to that of Madagascar Lovebirds – “they hide in the nest box, lay lots of eggs and never hatch anything!”

My Mountains arrived with a reputation similar to that of Madagascar Lovebirds – “they hide in the nest box, lay lots of eggs and never hatch anything!” To some extent I found that to be true, although they bred irregularly and, if deprived of a nest box, very quickly became steady. On two occasions when I have had a solitary cock bird for a while it has rapidly come to hanging on the cage front and nibbling one of my fingers – with a little patience they would make excellent pets. I presently have three youngsters that vie to hang nearest to the corner of the cage to monitor the progress of the breakfast trolley. I read that Mountains were burrownesters and required a nest box either with an entrance tube or with two compartments of which they would use the inner. Another breeder BIRD SCENE 21

also suggested that I fill the inner compartment with coco fibre for them to build a nest. With my first Lineolated this was the trigger that started them – my Mountains were horrified and refused to enter the inner compartment. Always remember that your birds may not have read the same books you have! For the past few years I have had around 3 “breeding” pairs of Mountains – except that most years only one pair bred and sometimes none at all. I had got into a routine where, outside the breeding season, bonded pairs were flocked in a 9’ x 2’ x 2’, (2700 x 600 x 600 mm) flight cage and any spare birds were kept in single-sex groups. The adult pairs lived together quite amicably and when resting always sat in their bonded pairs. Come November I set each pair up in a 3’ x 2’ x 2’ breeding unit. In November ’09 I had 3 pairs that had been together for some months. Pair 1 was an adult hen that had bred previously but lost her mate and had a new one brought from Europe. Pairs 2 and 3 were two birds of my breeding paired with two also from Europe. The previous breeding season the older hen had bred successfully with her previous mate, as she had done 22 BIRD SCENE

the year before. Each year she had reared her first round and failed to hatch anything from her second. She herself was bred by a friend who uses standard grass parakeet boxes for his Mountains – I gave her the same. The other two pairs had previously done

Always remember that your birds may not have read the same books you have!

nothing with 14” x 7” x 7” double boxes that had been specially constructed for Mountains. I have previously bred my birds in these but now doubt whether they are necessary – some of my birds are currently showing equal interest in standard budgie boxes. Knowing that the hens of all three pairs had been reared in grass parakeet boxes, I resolved to use these for the ’09 –’10 breeding season. The breeding units would be created by simply subdividing the flight cage with two sliding partitions.

FEATURE 47 days – only the three youngest left.

Since the cage could be quickly sub-divided in the event of fighting I decided to set the units up but leave the birds together and see how they behaved with nest boxes now available. The only difference was that I fitted five boxes to the cage front to give extra choice. The boxes were all standard grass parakeet boxes but four were new and one was that used in previous seasons by the Pair 1 hen.

For the first couple of days I checked constantly to make sure there were no territorial fights. There were none – in fact the opposite happened – all six birds disappeared into one box, the “used” one. We’ll call it “Box 1”. After a while it became apparent that pairs 2 and 3 were unwelcome in box 1. I put it no more strongly than that since apart from raised voices BIRD SCENE 23

As the chicks progressed I became aware that pairs 2 and 3 were again entering box 1 but the muted sounds indicated that they were again welcome and appeared to be feeding the chicks.

in the box no harm was done. Pair 1 effectively disappeared at this point and I assumed they were on eggs. Pairs 2 and 3 showed only a passing interest in boxes 2 – 5, sometimes roosting in a box, sometimes on a perch. On 25 December I heard a chick calling in box 1. I disturbed the adults briefly (they left the box as soon as I touched the door and returned immediately I closed it). Inside were one newlyhatched chick and eight eggs. They went on to hatch a further seven chicks. One chick died at a few days old, the remaining seven were reared to maturity. As the chicks progressed I became aware that pairs 2 and 3 were again entering box 1 but the muted sounds indicated that they were again welcome and appeared to be feeding 24 BIRD SCENE

the chicks. This continued while the chicks were in the box. I also realized (I am often in the birdhouse when the “daylight” phase lighting comes on) that all 6 adults were again roosting in box 1 – in addition, of course, to 7 chicks. Surprisingly, all went well and the chicks avoided suffocation. The first chick left the nest on 2nd February, 40 days from first hatch. All 13 birds co-existed amicably until I removed the chick’s approx six weeks after they left the box. A few weeks later pair 1 went down again. This time I separated Pairs 2 & 3 in two thirds of the flight cage (6’ x 2’ x 2’) with a choice of 3 nest boxes – the objective being to see if one pair would be “dominant” and stimulated to breed. As in previous years, Pair 1 produced nothing from the second round.

The first chick left the nest on 2nd February, 40 days from first hatch. All 13 birds co-existed amicably until I removed the chick’s approx six weeks after they left the box.

FEATURE Pair 2 made a false start in box 3 – laid, produced nothing and subsequently relocated to box 4 where they did not lay. Pair 3 went down after pair 2 (I’m not sure exactly when) in box 2. I knew nothing of their progress until, on 27 August, I heard a chick calling. They were less receptive to initial disturbance than pair 1 and by the time I could check the box it contained three chicks approximately ten days old. Two of these were subsequently reared to maturity. The loss of the third chick was unusual – losses generally occur within two weeks of hatch but this one was at least three weeks old. There was no evidence that pair 2 took any interest in raising the chicks of pair 3 but all 4 adults were entirely amicable in their now 6’ (1800mm) long flight cage. As soon as the chicks were out of the box I removed all the boxes from pairs 2/3 – eggs immediately appeared on the cage floor, I presume from pair 2. Meanwhile, pair 1 (still separate) had gone down for a third time and hatched and reared a single chick.

think they’re all back in condition to receive their nest boxes. I have also set up in an identical unit six young birds – three hens of my breeding with three unrelated cocks. Once these have sorted out their own pairings I intend to repeat the above layout of five boxes, but mixing grass parakeet with budgie to see if they show any preference. It is far too early to draw conclusions from the above but another year with two groups should give an indication as to whether this system does in fact stimulate breeding. Tentatively, I suggest group dynamics may play a role – and specialized nest boxes are unnecessary.


At the time of writing I am about to remove all three chicks and put the three pairs of adults back together and “rest” them for a while until I BIRD SCENE 25

Why a hobby in budgerigars?


Budgerigar Society

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• Meeting new people • Travel as a judge/

There are many reasons to join the Budgerigar Society Starter Pack - Membership certificate, Colour Standards booklet, members list etc. Magazine - “The Budgerigar” The society publishes a bi - monthly magazine which is posted to all members. Mentor Network - Guidance based on location for inexperienced Budgerigar enthusiasts.

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Products - There are some excellent products available Ranging from booklets to equipment and clothing Official closed rings Your own personalised code, which distinguishes you from every other breeder in the world.

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Website - www.budgerigarsociety.com Telephone - 01828 633030 / Email - budgerigarsocietypa@live.co.uk



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This article was originally written with canary fanciers in mind but most of the information is equally applicable to budgerigar and foreign bird fanciers.







elcome to our Fancy. This article is intended for the use of new and prospective fanciers to enable them to understand the basic definitions used within the fancy. It cannot provide all the information available and you are advised to join a local club and /or seek assistance from an experienced fancier locally. This article was originally written with canary fanciers in mind but most of the information is equally applicable to budgerigar and foreign bird fanciers.



Clubs, & Meetings: There are many types of club: Cage Bird Societies, Foreign bird clubs, Aviculture Societies, and then there are Specialist Clubs or Associations. Cage Bird Societies: These normally cater for fanciers across a broad spectrum of interests including foreign birds, budgerigars and canaries. They provide an extremely valuable service to the fancy and often are the newcomer’s first introduction to bird keeping. Most CBSs will invite guest speakers to their meetings, often from Specialist societies, their meetings being held monthly or fortnightly. Their members are usually from a local area.

Specialist clubs: These cater for one variety only and afford the fancier the opportunity to obtain a greater depth of information on their chosen fancy. Some produce handbooks once or twice a year. They rarely meet as frequently as the CBS The main officials within a club are: President: A senior member who, although not necessarily active, will act as a mentor and guide to ensure the club runs smoothly. Chairman: Officiates over club meetings and generally oversees the successful performance of the other officials.


Vice Chairman: In the absence of the chairman will undertake his duties and often have certain special tasks allocated. Secretary: Deals with all Club correspondence and records or “minutes” the club meetings. A CBS secretary usually organises the club programme throughout the year. Treasurer: Responsible for all club funds including collection of subscriptions and payment of club bills. In some clubs one person may be the secretary/treasurer.

Show Manager: Responsible for the smooth running of the show, including provision of staging, allocation of stewards and all the organisation on the day. Show Secretary: Accepts exhibitors` entry forms, records the entries and issues cage labels for individual entries at the club shows. At the show he will present judges with a book detailing numbers of classes and the number of exhibits within each class. He produces a results and award sheet and transfers entry money to the treasurer.



Types of Show: The main show season for canaries is from early September to mid January and shows are held by most Specialist societies and CBSs. These can be “open“ or “members” shows. Open shows allow any fancier to exhibit, whereas a member’s show is only for fully paid up members of the club. In addition Budgerigar Societies (BS) hold a “nest feather” show, usually in June which is purely for young birds (about 6 weeks old). Show Status: Fanciers joining a club as an adult, without any previous experience, will exhibit as a Novice. Most Specialist have their own rules but usually, 5 years after joining, a Novice must transfer into the Champion section for exhibiting; a notable exception is within the Gloster Fancy where Specialist clubs affiliated to the Gloster Fancy Canary Council. UK allow a period of up to 7 years as a Novice. Juniors are accepted until they are 16 when they become Novices. A Junior’s status is not affected if a Novice or Champion shows from the same address. The Budgerigar Society has a four stage system; Beginner, Novice, Intermediate and Champion. Show Cages and Show Standards: Each variety has its own show standard and type of show cage. A bird will not be accepted at a show if it is not in 32


There are 2 main types of feather and it is most important to be able to identify these to ensure birds are entered in the correct class.

the correct type of cage, one bird per cage. Details of cages and standards are obtainable from most Specialist societies and a useful reference book is Canary Standards in Colour by GT Dodwell and John W Hills. This gives show standards and cage details for most popular varieties. The Show Schedule: Members of a club will be given a show schedule sometime before the show which will detail the classes available for competition and sales classes, if provided. It is important to become familiar with and understand the schedule, as a bird entered incorrectly cannot be re-classified and at most shows, certainly when a show catalogue of exhibits is made, it will be “wrong classed”. Included will be an entry form. On completion this is returned to the show secretary with entry fees. It is advisable to keep a copy of your entries.


Feather Types: There are 2 main types of feather and it is most important to be able to identify these to ensure birds are entered in the correct class. These are Buff and Yellow although the terms “non-intensive”/ “intensive” and “mealie”/ “jonque” have been used in the past. Yellow feather has colour through to the very tip of the feather and often appears to be brighter in colour than the equivalent buff feather where the feather tip has no colour and often appears “dusty”. It should be

noted that “yellow” in this context does not relate to the colour of the bird ie a “yellow” feathered bird can be green in colour and many “buffs” are yellow in colour. Should you have any difficulty with this aspect of identifying birds, it is advisable to consult an experienced fancier as this is important when pairing birds for breeding as well as exhibiting birds. Certain varieties also appear in “dimorphic” form (a special type of broad buff feather). This need not concern the newcomer at this stage. BIRD SCENE


Classification: The age of a bird is broadly measured by the stage of development of its feathers, and this is reflected in the way a show schedule is laid out. Nest feather relates to the feathers a bird creates while growing in the nest and will usually be formed during the first 3 weeks. At about 6 to 10 weeks the next stage of development starts. This is the first moult when all but the tail and primary or “flight” wing feathers are replaced, for this reason the bird is now described as “unflighted” because it still has the flights produced when in nest feather. These flights are not replaced until the bird has its second moult the following year and then becomes a “flighted” bird. Classes are normally held for unflighted and flighted birds and for show purposes a bird is classified as unflighted in the first show season. The Show Schedule: To understand a show schedule and complete an entry 34


form it is essential to understand the basics regarding classification and types of feather. A typical schedule will be divided into sections for each variety and within each section into subsections for buff feathered birds, yellow feathered birds and also various colours e.g. cinnamon or white/allied to white classes. Note that a fawn (now referred to as white in New Colours) is a combination of white and cinnamon and is included in the white classes. Within each section there will be usually separate classes for unflighted and flighted birds. Always study the schedule carefully before completing your entry form and it is advisable to keep a record of your entries. Judges: To be accepted as a judge in most varieties, it is necessary to have completed 5 years as an exhibitor at Champion level and some governing bodies e.g. the CCBA conduct a series of examinations to ensure the newly appointed judge will perform to an acceptable standard. Stewards: They are responsible for presenting the entries within each class, in turn, to the judge at the judging stand. With the chief steward responsible for ensuring all entries are present. Exhibitors can learn a great deal from a judge by stewarding but should always listen and observe without comment. It is the steward’s

FEATURE responsibility to ensure that all birds are supplied with adequate water. Booking in: On arrival exhibitors will be expected to present their own birds for booking in. Show cages should always be clean and a club is entitled to refuse entry for a filthy cage on the grounds of hygiene i.e. the risk of disease to other birds and also because it does not favourably present the fancy to the general public. A steward will book in entries against those on the entry form and record any absentees. This is important as the show secretary will make up a judging book for each judge, indicating the number of entries per class and much time can be wasted searching for an entry that is absent. Judging: Each class will be judged, class winners retained and they then reappear to be judged against each other for the various prizes in sub sections and then sections, culminating in awards for best in section and or best in show. The stewards return all birds to their staging, check birds are watered and attach any rosettes that have been won. A show cage should never be placed on the floor and when exhibitors are allowed into the show hall they are not permitted to remove exhibits from the staging

the show manager, exhibitors will be allowed to collect or “lift” their birds. A steward will assist each exhibitor to collect their team and using the entry form will check that all birds are owned by the exhibitor. Some clubs allow exhibitors to lift their own birds. The show manager then checks that everyone is satisfied they have their own birds, and then exhibitors may leave. Etiquette: When judging is completed exhibitors may discuss the exhibits with the judge. However, during judging no comments on the exhibits should be made and a judge should never be informed “this is my bird” when judging is in progress.


Lifting: After awards and prizes have been presented, when notified by BIRD SCENE








Since the last edition of Bird Scene we have learned that The Border Canary Club and the English Cinnamon Club will also be exhibiting…


n the winter edition of Bird Scene, I reported that as the 2020 National Exhibition had to be cancelled due to Coronavirus, I was pleased that we managed to run a National Exhibition in October 2021. The numbers of clubs exhibiting birds that year was down to 12 from the normal 18 but there were some very good birds on Show. Provided this new variant, Omicron, does not give us too much trouble, I think we have a very good chance that we will be up to 18 clubs again in 2022. The newly formed UK Gouldian Finch club have asked to join our ranks and exhibit birds in single use cages, I will be very interested to see what they look like, but I guess my Ring-necks would make swift work of escaping from cardboard show cages, 38


so I will have to press on with my conventional type show cages! Now that we can start holding shows again at Stafford, please remember that The National Exhibition for the Exhibition of Show birds is held in the Sandylands Centre and the Argyle Centre. We use these same Centres for our Help Bird Keepers Show on Sunday 5th December 2021. Since the last edition of Bird Scene we have learned that The Border Canary Club and the English Cinnamon Club will also be exhibiting and in future the British birds will be represented by The Staffordshire British Bird & Mule Club, I wish all these clubs the very best for their support for The National Exhibition.


In order to ensure that The National Exhibition continues to improve there will be a meeting held at Coventry on Sunday 15th May with representatives of all the exhibiting clubs. To give an idea of what will be discussed here is an agenda. 1. Date of the 2022 National Exhibition is Sunday 2nd October 2022 2. Welcome 3. Review of the 2021 Covid affected National Exhibition – Chris Smith 4. Sponsorship arrangements for 2022 – Les Rance 5. Checking In facilities – Booking in tables are lined up in front of the Show staging and the crowd barriers. Security is paramount at

this event and we do not want exhibitors walking around the staging when birds are staged. We do not see any need for anyone other than Club and Show Officials to be in the show area of the halls until after completion of judging when the show is open to the general public at 12.30pm on Sunday. 6. Erection of staging from 12.00 on Saturday 1st October. 7. The Parrot Society will again supply free tea, coffee and biscuits in the Argyle Centre when the staging is being built on the Saturday and on the Sunday when birds are being checked in. 8. As we are now supplying Early Entry wristbands to all Exhibitors it seems unnecessary to block access BIRD SCENE


to the P.S. Selling Area between Prestwood and Argyle Centres. Please do all that you can to encourage people exhibiting with your club to purchase the entry wristbands at £10.00 each when they send in their entry forms. If your exhibitors are not wearing entry wristbands on the Sunday morning how will they be able to book their birds in! 9. Security at checking out time. Should the two halls be checked out separately rather than together, there are pros and cons in relation to this issue? 10. Show schedules – need to remind clubs that the National Exhibition is an open show and schedules should reflect this, members 40


specials may be restricted to club members but there should be open specials available as well. 11. Could clubs make better use of social media in attracting exhibitors and visitors to this show? Some clubs are already good at using social media but it is an area that needs a member that has an interest in the subject to drive it forward. Would any club be interested in talking to the meeting on their experiences? A large number of hobbyist-bred stock always finds new homes from the buyers who come in large numbers to our events. The National Exhibition is the leading and most popular bird show held in this country for hobbyist

FEATURE Saturday evening. This judged event will be as popular as ever in the future, with many high-class birds on view. At this year’s event a crystal glass, rose bowl has been donated by The Parrot Society for best bird in Show and by Steve Roach of Rosemead Aviaries for the best junior exhibit, their generous donations for these valuable awards is always very much appreciated. Cage and Aviary Birds give the Exhibition a special supplement in their publication so that all their readers are aware of which clubs to contact to enter their exhibition stock into the Show. bird breeders, not just because of the sales tables but also the Exhibition that is held in the Argyle and Sandylands Centres. There is something for everyone available from the 60+ traders who so generously support this event, especially from our sponsor Johnston & Jeff Ltd the leading UK seed supplier. This year the exhibition in the Argyle and Sandylands Centres will again be organised with the assistance of the 19 clubs that support this event and it continues to receive plenty of entries, may this be the case for many years to come. These enthusiasts work so hard to construct the staging from mid-day on the Saturday and take in many entries in the late afternoon and

Again, Neil Randle our magazine designer took over a 1,000 images on the day so that we have plenty of images for the next twelve months. Please do enjoy the pictures on the following pages. In 2022, the Show will be held on Sunday 2nd October and will follow similar lines to the 2021 event but more use will be made of the Prestwood Centre to house the stands of such supporters as The Australian Finch Society, The Bengalese Fanciers Association, The Waxbill Finch Society and Java Sparrow Society. Within the two exhibition halls, there is always a great buzz of chatter and excitement, it is always a pleasure just to stand there and absorb the environment and listen to people enjoying themselves and promoting their hobby. BIRD SCENE


Why do owners of single parrots suddenly decide that the bird needs a mate?





MATE? From Sweden came this request: “Can you help me find a mate for my darling Massena’s Lorikeet?” He is eight years old and “extremely tame and social”. His owner wrote: “Now I feel he needs a woman in his life?” Right? No, wrong. Why do owners of single parrots suddenly decide that the bird needs a mate? It could be that it is showing signs of sexual maturity and guilt sets in because the bird is being “deprived”. Or perhaps it is becoming nippy and hard to handle. This is the human view. Now look at it from the bird’s viewpoint. This cherished “darling” lorikeet has been a companion for eight years, receiving the undivided attention of its adoring owner. Suddenly, another bird arrives - a competitor for attention. There is no doubt at all that



most companion parrots feel jealousy in this situation -- at least initially, if not permanently. The owner has encouraged the original bird to bond with him or her, even to regard the human carer as a mate -- often to be preened and even to be the subject of courtship behaviour. The newcomer is therefore often attacked as a rival. Whether it is actually attacked or just treated with suspicion or indifference depends partly on the species. For example, the Grey Parrot is not an aggressive species but a social one



When a friend with a Grey rescued another bird of the same species that urgently needed rehoming, the original Grey ignored the newcomer completely. Two years down the line, it just pretends it does not exist.

that lives in large flocks. When a friend with a Grey rescued another bird of the same species that urgently needed rehoming, the original Grey ignored the newcomer completely. Two years down the line, it just pretends it does not exist. No potential mate there! Lorikeet behaviour is very different. Even though this is another social species, occurring in flocks outside

FEATURE the breeding season, all lories and lorikeets have an aggressive trait that is especially apparent in hand-reared birds. If the owner of the hand-reared male Massena’s Lorikeet had acquired a female, the chances are that it would have been quickly attacked or even killed. Lorikeets have very fast reflexes and the deed could be done before the owner has a chance to intervene. I can recall the case of someone who kept a female Black-capped Lory as a pet, a tame and sweet bird. She decided to give her a mate and acquired a male that had also been a pet. The male killed the female within minutes. Given the nature of this species (all Lorius lories are aggressive), that sad event was 99% predictable. The owner was heartbroken. Perhaps an owner has decided that the parrot should have a companion, rather than a mate. The same considerations apply. Jealousy and suspicion are most likely to be the initial reaction from a bird with a close bond with its owner. Or perhaps it is not a decision that triggers the purchase of another parrot but an impulse buy. As demonstrated by a recent happening, this can be even worse. The owner of a Grey Parrot was tempted

by a tame and adorable Black-headed Caique in a pet shop. He was not prepared for a second bird. The shop owner generously offered to lend him a cage. This offer was unwisely declined. What did the purchaser do? He took the caique home and put it in his Grey’s cage. I found it shocking that a parrot owner could have so little understanding of a basic need of a parrot -- its own space or territory. And shocking that

Jealousy and suspicion are most likely to be the initial reaction from a bird with a close bond with its owner.



he was unable to see the possible fatal consequences of his actions. Next day the caique was taken back to the shop. The Grey had attacked it and ripped out its tail feathers. The caique was lucky not to suffer serious injury. So can the introduction of a second bird ever be successful? The answer is yes, it can, in certain circumstances. The attempt is most likely to fail if • As already mentioned, the original bird is closely bonded to its carer. • The original bird is hand-reared and has never been socialised with its own species. Those that have been kept exclusively with humans might be confused about their identity. They identify more with humans than with other parrots.



The attempt is most likely to succeed with: • Parent-reared and wild-caught birds that remember living with their own species. • Birds such as Cockatiels, conures, parrotlets and lovebirds that can quickly lose their tameness when given the opportunity to be with their own species. • Birds that are removed from their original home and are no longer in contact with the person to whom they were bonded. In these circumstances the jealously element has been removed. What happens in the unfortunate circumstances in which someone is forced to part with their pet and has


So can the introduction of a second bird ever be successful? The answer is yes, it can, in certain circumstances.

an offer from a breeder who wants to pair up the bird? If it was very tame, bonded to its owner and has lived all its life within a home, this would be a huge upheaval in its life. Separated from everything it has ever known, it is likely to be very stressed. This lack of confidence would make it extremely vulnerable to attack from another bird. Some breeders take a rather casual attitude to introducing new birds - yet this is something that should be carried out with the utmost caution and care. The very worst action that someone can take is to introduce a new bird to an aviary where the other one has long been an occupant. It will be attacked as an intruder into established territory. The best way is always to place the two birds in adjoining aviaries or cages without a visual barrier. When they show an interest in each other, the

bird of the dominant sex (usually the male, except in Eclectus and Psittacula species) should be introduced into the other bird’s aviary. In this way, the more subservient bird will have the psychological advantage, because it is in its own territory. Remember: you hold their lives in your hands. Caution is better than remorse.




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