THIS WEEK WE introduce one of the most dazzling characters ever featured in Cage & Aviary Birds: the cock Brazilian tanager, which is a recent addition to Gary Bralsford’s birdroom (see page 16). The Ramphocelus tanagers of Central and South America are a blazingly colourful bunch, and include such “eye candy” as the crimson-collared, the masked crimson and the flame-rumped (honest!)

You know what, though? Most of them are ABUNDANT where they live. Not shy beauties, either, but brassy in-your-face backyard rowdies. After your first hundred, you do find your eye straying past them to something more subtle. And that’s where birdkeeping scores, for when you have just a pair of such a species in an aviary, you’re not overwhelmed. Their uniqueness and rarity value are restored, and you naturally pay them the attention their beauty deserves. It’s a reminder that any bird, properly kept, properly looked at, is a work of art.

Remember I said last week that had temporarily stopped accepting entry of Bargain Box and Classified Adverts? That’s all sorted out now, so you can fire in those For Sale or Wanted adverts as and when you like. Thanks!

And talking of Bargain Box, I shouldn’t say this, but among the foreign seedeaters we had a first-draft advert that offered GRASS QUILTS for sale. Spotted and zapped, but you know grass quilts sound quite a cool summertime accessory… maybe made to order with a giant pic of your favourite fancier on the cover… or least favourite…

Still among the free ads, I notice page 24’s crop this week offers red grouse and blue ground-doves (Claravis pretiosa) for sale. Two splendid birds, all too unfamiliar (to me) in aviculture: the one loud and proud, and the other so elegant and unruffled. Tempted?

I very much enjoyed the article by native hardbill specialist Mark Jones on page 15, with Mark’s personal selection of the shakers and movers, past and present, in the greenfinch hobby. If you’d like to nominate a Greenfinch Great of your own, do get in touch.

Thanks to those readers who’ve been complimentary about the new – if slightly more expensive – paper that C&AB is now printed on. I hope and believe that it will help to make your stories clearer to read and your birds better to look at. I must say at the office we all thought it had made an immediate improvement. Enjoy your birds this week!

Rob Innes