REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR JARROD cotter must, I feel, enjoy compiling his monthly “Feather by Feather” article for Cage & Aviary Birds. It is quite a challenge to depict those intricate individual feathers on the page to show clearly how they constitute jigsaw pieces in a bird’s overall pattern. Sometimes I find myself just sitting and admiring the photos in extra-large size on my computer screen. That certainly happened this week with Jarrod’s stunning original photo of a pair of exquisite “tippet” feathers from the ornamental cape of a cock golden pheasant. (See article on page 8  of March 7 issue.) It’s the shapes and how they all fit together, as much as the colour combinations, that I find so seductive.

And you can invite this beauty into your life for so little outlay. Twenty quid for a golden pheasant seems about average, or about three times that for one of the colour mutations, such as the richly beautiful dark variety. I’ve commented before on how little it costs to buy stock of some of the world’s most spectacular birds. I’m surprised they are not far more commonly kept.

■ Don’t Try This At Home, Children: “Supplements were not so prevalent in those days, but Jim managed to obtain a female fertility tablet from his local hospital, which he crushed and fed to his hen [canary] over the course of a few  days. She repaid him with two nests of healthy chicks.” Brian Keenan recalls an unorthodox aid to line-breeding, on page 14.

■ Averted Typo of the Week: Spotted and zapped in text submitted for an advert: “BBC runt pairs, nice healthy birds.” Imagine if the BBC had special ring sizes for runts… but we won’t go there, I’d suggest.

■ Spot-on wording of the week: “[Song thrushes] have really beautiful markings, a fantastic melodious song and a lovely soft presence in the aviary.” Don Turner (page 13) – it’s the “soft presence” that I thought was so right, especially in direct comparison with the redwing, which to my eye always looks so fierce and warrior-like.

■ We were sorry to miss a catch-up with friends old and new at Stafford at the weekend. It wasn’t Arctic weather that kept us away this year, but straightforward pressure of work, and we hope to rectify that next time. Enjoy life with your birds this week.