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Staff Blog 2nd July 2014

URPRISINGLY, BEING TUCKED away on pretty farmland hidden somewhere in glorious Kent does have its downsides. The office is quite far off the beaten track, which means the Cage & Aviary Birds team rarely receive visitors. However, this week our luck changed and we were treated to two special guests, funnily enough, not of the human variety.


Staff Blog 25th June 2014

THE THEME THIS week seems to be whether it’s easier or harder to be a bird fancier in Britain compared to, say, 50 years ago. While Brian Keenan reveals some surprising demographics on the current state of birdkeeping in the UK compared to other EU countries, Rosemary Low delves into the past and asks “were the good old days really so good?”


Not a curtain ending

This week Malcolm Plumb, co-organiser of the All Variety Canary Show, called the Cage & Aviary Birds office to pass on the sad news that the January 2013 event has been cancelled. It seemed that this was a reluctant decision, but the organisers had no choice. As possible news headlines floated around my head, I couldn’t work out why it had come to this.


Mourning a great

I never had the chance to meet canary legend John Scott before he died, but hearing past stories of him from officials at the Lizard Canary Association, the Canary Council and close friends made it clear that this man really did inspire the canary fancy. Mr Scott passed away last week at the age of 91. In this week’s issue you can read how he encouraged generations of lizard fanciers, find out why his clear cap lizard cock that won at the National Exhibition in 1994 is still talked about today and read a full obituary on this canary “great”.


Voice your opinion

Taking a look at the finalised pages of next week’s news, one question comes to mind... where shall I begin? It’s been such an enjoyable week for birdy news and we’ve tracked down some cracking pictures – I’ll try not to give too much away in this blog!

Looking through the Waxbill Finch Society breeding results from 2011, it was great to see that three members have bred African quailfinch and five-coloured mannikins for the first time. Publicity officer Dave Clarke was thrilled to add these new breedings to the WFS list and told C&AB this gives hope that more species may become established in members’ aviaries and birdrooms.

Another breaking story came from officials at the IOA-COM-UK, who have created a new webpage for interested birdkeepers to have their say on the proposed changes to ringing and sales of British birds before DEFRA holds the official public consultation. Check out page four in August 1 to read comments already posted on the site, of which topics include the changing of ring size for greenfinches and whether documentation is really needed.

Back in June we printed some fascinating pictures of a range of British birds made entirely out of LEGO. Designer Tom Poulsom, a keen gardener from Bristol, asked the Cage & Aviary Birds team to list some other birds to could be added to his collection. To challenge Tom, I suggested a Gouldian finch. Nearly two months later I received an email from Tom saying he had made the Gouldian finch and dedicated it to me. This new creation is one of six designs for a new tropical birds series. If Tom reaches 10,000 votes, his designs could be made into an official LEGO kit. Check out: www.flickr.com/photos/detomaso/

A story which will warm your hearts is the 100-mile journey a lost golden eagle made to be reunited with his owner. The C&AB team watched amazing footage posted on YouTube of Sampson’s surprise return during a live bird show. To read more on this story, take a look at page five.  

My colleague Georgina and I have thoroughly enjoyed filling the news pages this week, so enjoy! Issue on sale Wednesday, August 1.



Drenched birds – and fanciers!

In the July 25 issue of Cage & Aviary Birds we’ve covered stories ranging from bird dealer and campaigner Des Prior giving DEFRA two test cases, to a DNA revelation about the evolution of beak and feather disease. And on the club front – a revival of a forgotten CBS shield. There’s been a mixture of stories floating around the office, but one of my favourites this week has to be the touching story of Clay.

Clay is a male tawny owl that was rescued by staff at Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre in Staffordshire after he was found covered in mud in a nearby quarry. It took seven baths from staff at the centre to wash him clear of the muck, which inevitably saved his life. Jenny Morgan, director at the centre, told Cage & Aviary Birds that Clay is just one of 14 waterlogged casualties that has come through the centre’s doors in the past few weeks due to the heavy rain. You can see the before and after shots of Clay on page five when the magazine goes on sale on Wednesday, July 25.

We’ve covered a story on why the RSPCA is calling for the ban of rodent glue traps, we find out how European storm petrels use smell to recognise their relatives and speak to three ladies at the Birdcare Company who were very excited to tell the C&AB team about their recent win of an innovation award for their animal supplement product. Congratulations to the Birdcare Company, who are no doubt still on a high from this good news.

And on the Fife front, the first UK Fife stam class has been accepted at the East of England Border & Fife Club’s 20th anniversary show. I spoke to a number of officials at the club, who are pleasantly surprised with the positive outlook on this new class. It’s the first time a Fife club has introduced a stam class, however they are easing exhibitors in by asking for three similar birds, instead of the Continental tradition of four. The only other club to have done this was back in 2011 when the Lizard Canary Association incorporated a class for a stam of three lizards at its Classic show. Pick up a copy of the issue to find out more on what the anniversary show has to offer.



Learn something new every day

This week, a top Dutch fancier told me exactly why he bans charcoal from his birdroom. Jos Van Himbergen, the man behind the well-known Himbergen seed mixture and son of the founder of CeDe bird food company, said charcoal absorbs the important vitamins in a bird’s digestive system and is not necessary for healthy birds. This was news to me and I’m sure other birdkeepers too.

I was assured by Waxbill Finch Society (WFS) publicity officer David Clarke that Mr Himbergen’s talk to WFS members at a recent event went down well, and there’s no doubt many people present returned home that day and chucked out the charcoal. To read the full story be sure to pick up a copy of the issue on sale Wednesday, July 4.

The Budgerigar Society (BS) is now the first birdkeeping organisation to join the tweeting community. Twitter, a social networking site where a post is known as a tweet, will be a brilliant place for the BS to get important information directly to its members. Cage & Aviary Birds welcomes the BS on board and hopes this will be the start of other organisations jumping on the bandwagon. If you want to send a tweet to the Cage & Aviary Birds team or say a warm welcome to the BS, register at: www.twitter.com and search for @CageAviaryBirds or @BudgieSociety.

Also this week, two follow up stories on two children’s charities highlights that donations of more than £2,000 by Swindon BS members has helped the Just for James charity purchase three important and expensive pieces of equipment for AirMed, a specialist ambulance organisation which transports sick babies to hospital. And the Exhibition Budgerigar Forum hosted an auction with a twist when a second bird was thrown in to the lot at the last minute. The money raised from the auction will go towards the charity Jonny’s Journey.

Also, we’ve got a cruel story with a happy ending about a dunnock chick, which was rescued from teenagers who were using it as a football, we see BirdLife International celebrate its 90th birthday and find out why male blue tits prefer prettier females. All in the July 4 issue... don’t miss it.


Cage and Aviary Birds is Published by

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Cudham, Kent. TN16 3AG

Tel: +(044) 195 954 1444