WHEN HE FIRST met his wife, he somehow managed to build an indoor aviary in the home of his future mother-in-law before the couple married.” Way to go, Roger Denyer! (See profile, page 8.) That’s how a true fancier approaches this marriage business, I reckon. Seriously, I hope that Mr Denyer’s in-laws and other family quickly came to enjoy his birds. Just take a look at the photos of his beautiful garden aviaries: who, even if they weren’t already a bird fanatic, wouldn’t enjoy a leisurely session watching, listening and chilling out in that garden?

Those chill-out sessions become all the more valuable as we approach the most hectic weeks of the exhibition fancier’s calendar. Amid the tensions, triumphs and disappointments of the show season, it’s good to be reminded of birdkeeping’s “other” pleasures: the ones that aren’t bound up with competing. Even a simple mixed aviary can serve to “ground” us and readjust our mindset. Consider the wonderful collections amassed by Bernard Sayers (see page 14): not only living birds, but taxonomy and eggs – legally and properly collected, every single one. Eggs are simply so beautiful that when we get the chance to admire a well-presented and legally acquired collection, we should take it.

 No-no of the Year: Right, back to the shows. “As a steward, the golden rule is to never talk to the judge during judging! This is a major no-no.” Ahem. Maybe I should pass on Jon Ashby’s admirable counsel (offered on page 11) to the steward whom I once video’d offering strenuous advice to his judge as they stood contemplating the potential majors. Excellent soundtrack. Yours for a tenner. (Just kidding with the last sentence.)

Having it both ways: “The natural colour of my greens was quite bright and I received several leg-pulls about reinventing Liverpool greens, as well as numerous requests for birds – often from the same people!” Brian Keenan argues the case for the “minority” colours of Yorkshire canaries on page 10. Hear, hear, say I, and while we’re at it – how about reinventing the Liverpool green?

Averted Typo of the Week: Lution.
(In an advert.) Not all that obvious, was it? Hint: swap the last two letters round.

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