A REALLY GHASTLY DAY down here in the Kentish countryside, wet, windy and dark. It seems all the more unusual since we’ve had so little rain this year: in general, it’s been cold, windy and dry. Has it affected breeding adversely? The answer for many readers seems to be yes, especially canary fanciers. Budgerigar breeders appear, on the whole, to be a bit happier, though in that quarter it’s clear that even some of the most experienced are struggling to control the old enemy, mite. No wonder breeders are willing to try so many different treatments for this menace.
I hope your birdroom is clean of the blood-sucking little varmints. One budgie man who is definitely enjoying his year, and whose stock in the hobby is riding high, is Barry Lowe, profiled on page 10.
It’s particularly gratifying to read of Mr Lowe’s recent success because he is one of that welcome band of returnee fanciers: those who have started early in the hobby, left it for a while, and then re-embraced birdkeeping in their mature years. Again and again I’m struck by the way that fanciers who acquired a basis of competence in their youth are able to pick up the threads again decades later, and in many cases surpass their early achievements. There’s no doubt about it, we should all look out for opportunities to encourage relapsed fanciers to the fold, as well as giving outright beginners the help they need.
■ Thanks to Mr and Mrs Benites for their letter from America (see left), and it’s good to have it reconfirmed that a fine English canary is flourishing on the sunny Pacific coast. Mr Benites tells me that, among other official roles, he is the official COM judge for the country of Peru! He and his wife say they welcome discussion of canary genetics with readers who share their interest. Contact Cage & Aviary Birds if you’d like to get in touch with them.
■ Bonkers Press Release of the Week: “A few days ago, several dozen baby cuttlefish were born at the French National Sea Centre in Boulogne. Staff looked after a clutch of eggs that were given to them by a fisherman. Their special care has been rewarded by the birth of these baby cuttlefish.” Is this supposed to be news? Why do people send these things