Every week, we invite an influential figure in the cage bird fancy to tell us
about themselves and their view of the hobby. This week: MICHAEL BALDRY
Q Which clubs have you been most involved with? Any official roles?
Michael Baldry: I am involved with Norfolk & Suffolk Australian Finch Society which meets at Needham Market, Suffolk. I am officially the secretary/publicity officer (also caterer with my wife Margo). Another role I hold is publicity officer at the Australian Finch Society where all meetings are held at Solihull.
Q Briefly summarise your career in birdkeeping.
MB: Birdkeeping was the hobby of my wife and her family, breeding canaries and foreign finches. After our children left home, my wife’s interest in birdkeeping returned and I offered to build her a birdroom and aviaries. This became my initiation into birdkeeping in 1990. We started with just waxbills until we joined the Norfolk & Suffolk AFS. Eventually we only bred Australian finches.
We have, with other members of the AFS, visited Australia on bird counts, which were most enjoyable. On another occasion, I looked after an Australian breeder’s birds and two cows while they went on a much-needed holiday. As it was a business set-up, our first chores started at 7am and the last job at about 8pm, but it was very interesting.
Q Which clubs and societies have done the most good for the hobby and why?
MB: It has to be the AFS because it has always been in the forefront of promoting the welfare and breeding of Australian finches from very knowledgeable breeders.
Q Who has been your strongest influence in the hobby and why?
MB: The strongest influence has to be my wife, as birdkeeping was not my chosen choice, but I have embraced this hobby with enthusiasm. Through being a member of the Australian Finch Societies I have gained advice, knowledge and friendship.
Q What do you consider your most significant achievements in the hobby?
MB: Achievements in trophies very few, but it has for me been a wonderful journey, through friendships, shows and bird sales both here and on the Continent, and our time in Australia on bird counts/aviary visits. I have many fond memories, could I ask for more?
Q What one thing would you like to achieve in birdkeeping that you haven’t already?
MB: Due to my wife’s loss of mobility we don’t breed birds any more, but I am more than happy with past achievements. It’s been very interesting and enjoyable.
Q What changes to the hobby would best guarantee its future?
MB: Times change and nothing stays the same. Some people will always keep birds in their own way, but for me it’s been a gradual change since bird imports were banned. I am not suggesting that this should not have happened, it’s just my thoughts. People change, many are quite happy to do their own thing and do not wish to join a society, and most of those who do join a society are prepared to help but are not prepared to commit themselves for committee positions.
This is not just a bird problem, as I am on several other committees non-bird-related. It is the same problems: general lack of enthusiasm for committee positions. Without this commitment, all types of clubs will unfortunately fail.
As for the AFS; it currently has a very robust committee which includes our chairman Dave Harris. He works tirelessly on providing a quarterly magazine and always pleading for articles from the membership. I would like to thank C&AB for its support in the past and present. This has always been appreciated.