WHAT A BREATH of fresh air to read Mr Cutter’s letter and the news story on page 2 (April 24 issue).
It’s very early days, of course, but if all goes well then we  might have a double dose of good news: a practical way back in to the hobby for Mr Cutter and also some timely and (key word) local support for the park aviary. And now that one volunteer has stepped up, might other local birdkeepers join in? There could be the basis for a very satisfying group collaboration – with real purpose. If you fancy finding out a bit more, the contact info is at the end of the story on page 2.

■ Although I have yet to see the hawk-headed parrot in captivity, a species that has interested me for many years. However, I didn’t know about its somewhat warlike character until I’d read Rosemary Low’s article on the species this week (see page 14). What I did know was that it was a naturally wary species, difficult to observe well. My closest encounter was my most recent, in Colombia, where a group frequented tall dead trees in flooded forest by a river. I remember them slinking about the branches, pausing to chat to one another and half-unfurling that incredible head-dress: totally unique parrots, not like any other. “Hawkhead” captures one aspect of their character and their alternative name, “red-fan parrot”, another. If I get the chance to see this bird more closely, in aviary conditions, I’ll be sure to grab it.

■ Editor’s Quote of the Week #1: “The colour combinations are mind-boggling, but all that counts is whether you like them.” That’s welcome reassurance from Austin Middlemiss (page 10),  I can’t claim to have followed the inheritance of all those snazzy siskin mutations with 100 per cent comprehension.Exciting times, though, for this delightful little northern finch (as Ialways think of it), and I look forward to seeing some intriguing examples next show season.

■ Editor’s Quote of the Week #2: “I was watching an absorbing TV thriller. Not until I went to brush my teeth at bedtime did I realise that he’d plucked out half of my left eyebrow.” What IS going on round at Dot Schwarz’s? Find out on page 18!

■ Hold it: so the Wailing Heath Chicken were stone-curlews all along? (Caption, News, page 3.) I went to a gig of theirs in about 1985 and to me they looked normal.

Have a music- (and bird-) filled week!

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