JOHN MOSS’S LETTER (below, left) confirms what I’ve seen: the world of online bird sales can be murky territory. What Mr Moss is saying follows from the transition from the traditional local markets for exchange/purchase of birds, to nationwide or even global markets accessed online. With the former, time wasters or bad sellers would soon become known and, if necessary, shunned via the county club scene, so the system was to an extent self-rectifying. With “online”, much of the time, you literally don’t know who you’re dealing with. Some proper quality control is needed, though it’s tricky. Could breed-club websites lead the way here?

■ Dave Brown (page 11) shares a creative approach to the “showing bought birds” conundrum: focus on rewarding owner-bred exhibits, rather than banning bought ones. By coincidence, last year when I researched the National Exhibition of 1932, I noted that the supreme prize at that event (the Grand National Trophy) was reserved for the best unflighted canary. “Owner-bred” was not specified, but presumably that was the idea. I wonder when and why they changed the policy. I’ll aim to find out.

■ Brian Keenan (page 12) sets out his welcome thoughts on the impending Animal Activities Licence. This has been out of the headlines for a while, I know, but let me flag up the October 3 Cage & Aviary Birds, in which I aim to update readers on our and DEFRA’s activities.

■ Gloster ace Victor Scerri (see page 15) has enjoyed what in canary terms is a meteoric rise to competitive success in his native Malta. How pleasing to hear him credit British fanciers Ian and Rob Wright for critical help with the three-year plan that moved his stud on to a new level. An antidote to that online-vendor nonsense noted above.

■ Just before we went to press, reader David Buddle emailed. “My female Bourke died last Monday,” he wrote. “She’d not been well over the weekend. Problem is she left babies in the nest. We’ve watched closely and it does appear that the cock or other Bourke’s are feeding them. But if anyone could spare a hen Bourke two to three years old (dark blue/orange ringed), please could they contact [Mr Buddle] on 07747 848 745.”


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