FULL MARKS TO Andy Early for asking the key question: “Are you going to tell us how you did it?” The interviewee (see page 12) is Dutch canary breeder Piet Renders, and “it” refers to the original choice of pairing that set him on the road to his extraordinary success in recreating the London fancy canary. And of course Piet laughs, as Andy knew he would: trade secrets aren’t divulged just like that. In any case, Piet points out, the key to developing the breed now and in future is to work with the best current birds; the original “breakthrough” breeding combination is in that sense irrelevant.

But we’d still like to know the answer, wouldn’t we? Piet, if you ever write that book, give us an advance exclusive and we’ll give you a big shiny free advertisement!

■Editor’s Quote of the Week: “My favourite type of Gloster has to be the short, cobby, true-to-type corona hen. However, these days, some fanciers seem to prefer a rougher-feathered, ‘Honey Monster’ type of bird.” – Sandy Hay, page 9. I confess that I couldn’t instantly picture the Honey Monster “type”, so I’ve found the helpful photo below. (Monster on left, or is it a canary?)

■ Two sections of the fancy that are, happily, flourishing these days are on the one hand the time-honoured native, mule & hybrids, and on the other, the relatively youthful Fife canary. And this week we introduce two new regular series penned by keen competitors in the respective fancies: British bird champion Mark Jones on page 15 and canary man Steve Dominey on page 16. Well known for decades on the Yorkie circuit, Steve is now firmly committed to the Fife fancy also, and is loving every minute. Welcome to both.

■ White-eyes! Even during my relatively brief time on Cage & Aviary Birds, these delightful softbills have declined from being fairly popular to pretty scarce in the hobby. When I see a pair in a sales or show cage, it’s something of a “wow!” moment – because of that unfamiliarity, but also because in good condition their clean lines and simple pattern are set off almost comically by that little “spectacle”, the white “eye”. It’s gratifying, courtesy of Bill Naylor’s article on page 14, to take a fresh look at this whole family: in global terms, one of the most complex and interesting groups of species around. So, there’s plenty to read – and then there’s your own birds to enjoy this week, too.