DTI001 15_11_17

Bengalese Finches
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(Fife Fancy) Upwardly Mobile

Dave Brown profiles LUKE MARTIN, a young canary man who’s already got the winning habit

Luke with one of his winning birdsWith his tweed cap and down-to-earth attitude, Luke Martin portrays himself as much wiser than his 15 years. His maturity shines through even further when he talks about his new interest in canary breeding and exhibiting. The attention-to-detail and the thoroughness of his answers, teamed with his show success all suggest he is a real “old hand”.

In reality, canaries only arrived at Luke’s family home 18 months ago, after he viewed a relative’s aviary, which contained a mixed collection of canaries and British birds. After a bit of persuasion, his mum’s prize pergola was converted into a large outside flight and small attached birdroom – although it did not take Luke long to decide the proposed birdroom was too dark. This led to his mum’s garden tools being relegated from the light and airy lean-to along the side of the house to make way for Luke’s new breeding cages! Read more...

(Fife Fancy) Fifes in the family

Nick West meets SHARON KENDALL, a Fife canary fancier with a difference – she’s young, she’s female, she knows her birds and she has more than 10 years’ experience with them

Sharon comes from a long line of birdkeepersSHARON Kendall is a 22-year-old who comes from a long line of dedicated birdkeepers. Consequently her family know where their priorities lie. She explains: “We have a little vegetable patch in our garden and it’s just for the birds. They have cabbage and everything, lettuce, spinach. We never have it for our dinner table. It’s just for the birds.”

Since the age of 10, Sharon has been keeping birds. Her father and grandfather always kept British birds. She says: “My dad has kept birds since he was eight and my granddad had linnets and bullfinches. He was keeping birds when you were allowed to trap them. They both won quite a lot of competitions and both showed at Crystal Palace. My uncle, Alan Kendall, also keeps Norwich canaries. He and my dad, Kevin, are in partnership.” Read more...

(Fife Fancy) Fascinated by Fifes

Terry Kelly specialised late in Fifes, but it didn’t take him long to reach the top. Ron Toft hears his story

Spacious and spotless: inside Terry’s birdroomTHE fact that Terry Kelly became a lifelong breeder of birds – first of British, then prize-winning Fifes – was due, in no small part, to his Border-keeping grandfather.

“Every house but one in my grandfather’s street kept canaries,” he recalls with a smile, “because that’s the way it was in those days. My grandfather had clear yellow Borders and used to roll hemp seed with a rolling pin. I helped him out whenever I could and also fed his hens.”

Terry, born in Batley, Yorkshire, continues: “I was brought up with birds. As a child, I assumed that everybody kept canaries and hens. I thought it was normal. It was only when I grew up that I realised it wasn’t normal!” Terry’s grandfather kept clear Borders, but didn’t show them. “He just appreciated the birds for what they were. My father kept ducks, but not cage birds.”

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(Coloured Canaries) A Very Scaly Tale

Wallace Dean tells the story of coloured lizards over the past 60 years and more

A rose brown lizard canaryTHE oldest variety of canary is the lizard, which was brought to this country by the Huguenots during the late 1600s. It is believed that they gave rise to the now-extinct London fancy.

The lizard canary has a modified form of pencilling known as spangle. The pigment falls short of the feather end, which is clear, giving rise to the spangling. This is most obvious in the back and the sides of the breast.

The most noticeable feature is the area of the head, which ideally should be void of pigment, although birds with pigment in the head are allowed on the show bench. Those owning full pigment are known as “non-cap”, whereas those with lesser amounts are known as “broken cap”.

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(Coloured Canaries) Breeding Red Canaries

WALLACE DEAN explains how to achieve a perfect red canary and warns fanciers not to overlook birds that are not of perfect colouring, since they may become useful when breeding

Red mosaic: formally known as dimorphicTHE most popular coloured canary is the red ground. At the Canary Colour Breeders Association (CCBA) All Colour Canary Show, where nearly 1,000 birds are exhibited – including the red ground self section – about three-quarters of all exhibits are red and red ivory ground.

The idea of producing a red canary began during the early 1920s in Germany. It was known that the hybrid between the South American black-hooded red siskin and the canary had limited fertility – results had been obtained in Central America for a number of years. Claims of results between a firefinch and the canary have never been confirmed. Read more...

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