Above: Colin O’Hara’s book Simply Splendid has become an essential reference for breeders of Neophema parakeets


FOR THE third annual presentation of the prestigious Birdkeeper of the Year award, the Cage & Aviary Birds’ team has chosen Colin O’Hara as the 2018 winner.

Mr O’Hara, 73, from Sudbury in Suffolk, is one of Britain’s most accomplished parrot breeders and served as chairman of the Parrot Society (PS) for 10 years.

On winning the award, Mr O’Hara told C&AB: “When you think how many birdkeepers there are in the country, it’s an honour to find out that I’ve won this award. I will hang the certificate proudly on my wall alongside my wildlife photography.”

During his time as PS chairman, Mr O’Hara was key in bringing back the iconic National Exhibition. However, it is his recent outstanding work in representing the interest of the birdkeeping fancy to the Government that has earned Mr O’Hara our award.

He has been instrumental in speaking up for birdkeepers in the face of the proposed Animal Activities License (AAL) legislation, even taking these concerns to Downing Street in April with C&AB editor Rob Innes (see News, April 18 issue).

Mr O’Hara explained: “When I found out about the proposed AAL and that very little else was being done about it to protect birdkeepers, I wanted to get involved. Soon Rob realised the significance of it and gave it absolute publicity in this paper.

“When we came out of Number 10, we couldn’t believe where we had been. It was an amazing experience; I couldn’t have achieved all this without the support of Rob, for which I am very grateful.”

Mr Innes added: “Fanciers now owe Colin two debts of gratitude: one for devising the format that revived our National Exhibition, and another for obtaining access to the government over AAL when all else had failed. It is fitting that we remember this and say thank you to Colin at the year’s end.”

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