THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN budgerigar breeder Don Burke is always worth listening to, and this week he espouses some of his key ideas and enthusiasms in conversation with Fred Wright on page 10.
Mr Burke occupies a unique position in the Australian hobby: he is both a media figure and a vastly accomplished breeder, who nonetheless stands outside the mainstream exhibition fancy, being chiefly an apologist for “historic” Australian breeds; yet he also breeds a mean modern showbird. So when he criticises the modern exhibition scene, he can’t be accused of being motivated by envy: the Achilles heel of many a dissenter. Despite his love of “retro” breeds, he’s more of a budgerigar Pre-Raphaelite than a Luddite. Most of all, he strikes me as a fluent spokesman for the whole budgerigar fancy, right down to the humblest pet keeper. In political parlance, he’s the unity candidate.
At a time when some fanciers worry that the exhibition hobby in Britain and Europe is leaving itself with nowhere to go, we could do with one or two like him over here. Our own Budgerigar Society is taking steps to broaden the appeal of skilled budgie breeding, but a strong independent voice wouldn’t go amiss. So if you know a UK Don Burke equivalent, or even believe you are one – get in touch!
■ Speaking of undoubted experts, it’s good to see a new and authoritative reference work appear from the formidable “Agapornis Man” himself, Dirk van den Abeele (see news, page 2). It’s all too seldom that new avicultural references appear, so this one is welcome, and will be snapped up, I’m sure, by all admirers of this wonderful genus.
■ “There is a lot of fun and interest in breeding Bengalese and you can set your own challenges. Why not join us? There are plenty of birds readily available.” So says Tony Edwards on page 8, after explaining the four absorbing and satisfying challenges that he has set himself this breeding season. After 25 or so years of refining away at the Bengalese, Tony’s knowledge, skill and competitiveness are as strong as ever. And indeed there’s so much still to be achieved with the Bengalese – without emptying your bank account or worrying about the health of the birds you’re breeding. So, why not?
In the July 27, 2016, issue of Cage & Aviary Birds, although the spring may seem ages ago, it left Bob Baggs with enduring memories of the wealth of birds it brought to his Wiltshire garden, which he's hoping will visit again next year.
In news, we report on a generous €6,000 sponsorship deal for Éire BS, and find out why North Yorkshire Police admitted they were in the wrong during a recent wild bird trapping incident.
It's never a dull moment in Tony Edwards's Bengalese finch birdroom! He explains how he's foraging ahead on various fronts, including two new projects.
Why do canaries feather-pluck? Dave Brown proposes some causes and solutions for this age-old challenge, while Brian Keenan looks at what canary breeders, fanciers and exhibitiors should be focusing on from October to December.
In Don Burke's budgerigar club, the show standard is fixed in 1962, and he is known as an eloquent critic of the modern show scene. Yet no fancier could be less stuck in the past, as Fred Wright found when he spoke to Don.
Plus lots more, including Stafford Summer Show review, Old Bird, Midadventure of a Birdkeeper, plus lots more.