WELCOME TO 2019! I’m not sure how we got here so soon, but then it still comes as a surprise to me that Greenidge and Haynes aren’t still opening for the West Indies, or that the crisis over Europe isn’t between John Major and his cabinet of dastards.

There’s a part of most of us that yearns for things to remain as they are. And when I consider my wishlist for 2019, what’s uppermost is a desire, not for anything new, but that devotees of this historic and vibrant hobby can continue to enjoy it without a stack of fresh hassle. I hesitate to mention Brexit, since people are fed up with the topic, but if there’s no deal then it sounds as though imports could be thrown into chaos, at least in the short term. And how many months of seed shortages and price hikes would it take to damage the average fancier’s hobby? That’s why I hope there’s a negotiated process and not a clifftop plunge, so that fanciers can plan for and enjoy a normal year.

Likewise with the new licensing laws, which are already shoving up costs and spawning bureaucracy for livestock breeders other than birdkeepers. So I wish, to put it bluntly, that the scope of the new laws will remain narrow enough to leave the fancy unaffected, so that we can continue to refresh captive genepools via the unhampered sale of surplus stock, as we’ve always done, to enhance the welfare of the millions of cage and aviary birds in this country.

“Be careful what you wish for,” they say. Were those wishes of mine careful enough, or over-cautious? I think 2019 will provide the answer in at least one case. But I also wish something else: that every reader of Cage & Aviary Birds will be enriched today and every day by the God-given pleasure of having birds in their life. Consider what Rosemary Low writes about the Malabar parakeet this week (page 14): “The longer you look, the more the beauty of the plumage reveals itself.” That applies not only to such acknowledged stunners as the parakeet, but potentially also to every canary, finch, budgie or softbill in the humblest bird shed. And it’s not just the beauty of the plumage, is it? Our birds have beauty of form and type, too. They show endless variety of behaviour, have their own unique personality and make independent decisions, not always the ones we want! That’s because they are not simply “ours”, they are living creatures whose lives we’re privileged to share.

Enjoy them today, this week and this year.