ALL OF A sudden, people are talking about this year’s breeding season in the past tense. Regular contributor Donald Skinner-Reid, for one, compares his 2018-bred canaries with the 2017 vintage on page 11. True, a cold-eyed comparison, honestly weighing up the merits and blemishes of your current crop, has to be part of the breeder’s routine every year – no argument there. It’s just that it only seems a week or two ago that we saw the back of winter!
Breeding-season challenges feature elsewhere in this week’s issue, too. Former Gloster canary champion Austin Middlemiss, for example, seems to delight in setting himself multiple complex breeding challenges: nowadays he’s tackling thrush mutations and finch mutations, and trying finch hybrids, as well as raising broods of colour and Norwich canaries. Austin’s “Thrushes Bulletin” on page 18 is breaking out of its restriction to thrushes! So much the better, if that reflects the way his interests are developing. It’s a free country, and everyone in the hobby is at liberty to try something new and different – to follow where their “fancy” leads.
“New and different” certainly describes the actions taken by Canada’s Peter Mostert to succeed with a bold undertaking: to breed (and keep happy) a collection of Alexandrine parakeets taken on from a previous owner (page 19). Having tried one approach (see June 13 issue), Mr and Mrs Mostert had to rethink drastically when it ended badly. A brave and pioneering example of bird breeding.
■ A variety of small, colourful softbills feature in this week’s Cage & Aviary Birds, none more vivid than the firecrest and goldcrest profiled by Bill Naylor on page 10. “Kinglet”, the American term, with its suggestion of pint-sized royalty, is such an apt name for these bossy little stars: tiny birds which pose a disproportionately big challenge to the birdkeeper. I’d love to hear from anyone who has tackled either species.
■ Finally, we’re still at that lovely time of year when there’s relatively lots of space for club news, so if you’re lining up, or have held, an outing, show or other event, don’t neglect to write it up and include a photo or two if you’ve got them. Your key Club News contact is, of course, firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the summer this week.