This is my second year of chairing the Parrot Society and it has been just as busy as the first one. Bird Show of the Year in only its second year was the busiest show for many years. The thirteen clubs that took part exhibiting all enjoyed the day and thanked the Parrot Society for allowing them the opportunity to display their birds to such a large audience. The display aviaries with the tame birds have now become a firm favourite with the families that attend.
Stafford again this year was kindly sponsored by both The Birdcare Company and Johnston and Jeff, we also really appreciate the support given by The Cage and Aviary Birds magazine to publicise our event. The summer Show at Stafford has now been firmly established. But unfortunately it seems impossible to organise shows in other parts of the country.
The year 2007-08 financially has been another successful year for our Society and shows a small profit; however with the country’s economy in a downturn we must ensure that we as a society remain positive and do all we can to keep our running costs down and our membership strong. Unfortunately the bank where we have the bulk of our reserves, Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander has been put into Administration. So along with another two hundred charities our invested money is frozen. We are confident that it will be released as we are told by the Financial Services Authority that as the Parrot Society is an unincorporated association with a turn over of less than £1.4 million our fund is guaranteed by the British government. Fortunately we have more than sufficient funds invested in other areas to continue to run without any concerns financially. Our monthly magazine, the life blood, of the Parrot Society allows all members to keep up to date with all the activities and news and remains of the highest quality, with articles covering all our interests. We appreciate the help from our members that contribute. We know by the feed back we receive, it is the member articles that are of the most interest. Please continue to send in your stories and photographs. On the political front we have had a very busy year. You will remember back in March the Parrot Society in partnership with the NCA organised a public meeting to form a committee to write the strategy for bird keeping. The first part has now been completed and will be released for public consultation in the very near future. And we are about to embark on the second stage writing the best Practise.
I would like to thank all the Parrot Society members that helped at our Stafford Show making it the great day out that it proved to be, and also our members who visited to make this years’ Stafford Show the best attended for somee time. The exhibition side of the event was a great success and the thirteen bird clubs that exhibited with us were very happy with the day. Those clubs that attended for the first time could not believe that we had such large crowds of enthusiastic bird keepers wishing to view their birds. This year we tried out a new layout for the show. Over the years the show had become fragmented as some of the traders that used to attend are no longer operating. We have had a considerable amount of feed back, half of the letters we have received liked the new layout and thought it much improved and the other half thought it was not as good as the previous design. Our show now comprises three sections. The first is our member’s sale tables, the second is the Traders stands and the third part is the general public that come along just to see the birds. All three are interconnected, to have a really successful event all three must be taken into consideration. We have placed the Stafford Show and the new design on the agenda for the open Council Meeting, details are on the next page, so please come along to hear the debate and put your points across.I will be writing to all the trade that attended our show to obtain their views. We will take all these comments on board and will plan next years show accordingly.
The English Implementation Document for the Strategy of Birds in respect of the Animal Welfare Act has now been completed and has been sent to the EIG for approval before it is released for public consultation. Therefore we are now about to start on the next section of the Strategy which is Pet Birds. This is a huge topic and probably the most complex of all too actually document. ‘Best practice Guidelines’ need to be written in such a way that they take full consideration for the welfare of the bird which is also achievable by the keeper.
This topic has also been placed on the agenda of the open Council Meeting. The reason I started the idea of an open Council Meeting is to allow members to see how your Society is run. It is so important for Council Members to know what members’ views are. Equally for a member of the Parrot Society it is essential that your views and ideas are listened to and that you are aware how the Society operates and achieves its aims and objectives set out in our Constitution.
‘Bird Show of the Year’ has become the flagship event for The Parrot Society UK. Our showpiece to the bird world; and now only a few days away, it is difficult to believe that ‘Bird Show of the Year’ in its second year has generated so much enthusiasm throughout the bird world.
For those that take Cage & Aviary Birds you will now have seen the Show catalogue. We have had some wonderful feedback. The two smiling faces on the cover have caught everyone’s imagination, portraying a happy day out. For members that have not seen this catalogue, we will have a supply on our stand at the show.We had an enquiry from the International Canary Association based in France about BSOTY after seeing the catalogue and now they are advertising our event on their website, so starting to give us international recognition. With the fall of the value of the Pound against the Euro our birds in the UK will be much more affordable to our overseas visitors.
Making tables available to non members has gone very well, selling more than 100 tables. So to make it easier for buyers to see the birds they are interested in, we have placed these tables, offering Finches, Canaries, and Budgies on the balcony in the area near to the bar and café. As we have no formal proposals on the agenda (please see page 451) to discuss at the AGM on November 16th the AGM of the Parrot Society UK will start at 15:30pm. This will allow more time for the open Council Meeting that was such asuccess last year. We have items on the agenda for which the council would like to hear member’s views. If you have an item you would like to have discussed please let me or the office have details.The agenda for the open Council meeting will be published in next months Magazine.
You will have seen in last months magazine I was in Australia and our guide as always was Ray Ackroyd. Ray is responsible for tinning the trees for the Parrot Society in which the Major Mitchell’s nest. He told me just before our visit he had been to inspect the area where we have the memorial plaque in remembrance of John Mollidinia and the pair of Mitchell’s were back at John’s tree and a young pair of Mitchell’s were using a hole in a tree nearby. It is nice to think that the Parrot Society in some small way can have a real impact on increasing the number of Cockatoos that fledge in that area simply by placing a tin band around the trunk of the nest tree to stop the guana’s from climbing the tree and robbing the nests.
This months Chairman’s page is written under different circumstances than usual. I am sitting outside our tent in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territories, watching the Corellas play in the water spray of the parks irrigation system. We have counted 43 birds all having fun in a temperature of 35 degrees C and as it has not rained for over six months the Cockatoos are taking full advantage of the opportunity. Speaking with the park gardeners they tell us they water the park in sections at a time and the Cockatoos follow the sprayers. We have also had this morning a pair of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos feeding their baby in the tree above our tent.
Now on to news and matters affecting our Society I apologise to any member that wished to advertise hand reared birds through our magazine that are not weaned. We have suspended the advertising of hand reared birds that are advertised before they are ready for sale. We are dealing with a situation where a bird was advertised as ready at a date in the future but was sold before that date resulting in the purchaser having problems. This whole issue of advertising hand reared birds in the Parrot Society magazine will be fully discussed at our next Council meeting to be held on the 28th September and a code of conduct will be introduced. If any member would like to contact me or our office regarding this issue and wish tomake a suggestion; please do so and this will be taken into account when discussed.
In last months Chairman’s page I told how this year the October Show would be set out differently. We havevisited the Stafford County Show Ground to make sure these changes will be possible and the new plan has now been completed. All the traders are situated in the main Hallmaking access to traders much easier for members and visitors.Once again we are producing a large 24 page A4 coloured insertion for Bird Show of the Year to be distributed in Cage and Aviary Birds magazine on 11th September. This will advertise our show and give full details of the clubs that are exhibiting at Bird Show of the Year and how to enter birds for exhibition.
As mentioned in last month’s magazine we have had requests from some of our members who wish to exhibit some of their birds in the Bird Show of the Year. If you would like to take part in this section of the event, pleasecontact the office for a show schedule of the parrot section. Any member interested in exhibitingwho does nottake Cage and Aviary Birds can contact the office and we will be pleased to send you a copy.
We will again be holding an open Council Meeting on the morning before our Annual General Meeting on 16th November at Coventry . This proved to be a great success last year giving those members that attended a greater insight into the day to day workings of The Parrot Society. We will have on the agenda for discussion; the topic of advertising hand reared birds as well as The England Implementation bird strategy group. If you have a topic that you would like to have debated please send it to the office?
Must sign off now, we are just about to leave to hopefully photograph Black Cockatoos having their last drink of the day.
Once again the last month has been very busy in the life of the Parrot Society. The summer show was a total success with nearly two thousand people attending. The traders that supported us for this show were well rewarded many selling out of some products by the middle of the day. All the members that I spoke with thought that allowing non members to sell finches, canaries and budgies was a good idea and from the organising point it also worked well, so the Council have decided to allow non members to sell birds other than members of the parrot family at the October Bird Show of the Year. At Stafford in October we are trying a new style layout for our show. We hope this will benefit members and the trade. We are grouping together all the trade in the main hall and making much more space for breeders tables in the other areas. Full details will be published in the October magazine.
I would like to welcome the Charnwood Parrot Club as one of our official Area meetings. I had great pleasure talking to them at their meeting a couple of weeks ago. It is the first bird club I have visited where there were almost as many parrots as people with over thirty people and over twenty pet parrots. It was a very interesting evening and we discussed the issues of hand rearing and wing clipping and also that of re-homing. At the end of the meeting you could almost imagine the parrots saying to each other “see you next month”.
Part one of The Bird Strategy document is almost finished and the Group hope to have it ready for public consultation by late September. As bird re-homing and bird sanctuaries are something the Strategy group will look at as we start to work on the specific areas, Steve Nichols invited me to have a look at the work he is doing at his parrot zoo near Boston . I have never seen so many large parrots in one place. This is an establishment that must be a wakeup call to those that produce parrots for the pet trade. In the time that we were being entertained by Steve seven birds were handed in. Steve explained that birds roughly could be split into three areas 25% were birds of less than 2 years old bought on impulse, the next 50% were birds that were becoming sexually mature so changing from the cuddly baby into an independent bird, and the last 25% were from homes where their owners could no longer care for them or from families splitting up. Steve did stress these figures were only rough guides. I would like to thank Steve for the time he spent with us explaining this world of unwanted parrots.
Looking at these figures with the maturing bird appearing to be the main cause of re-homing, this would be an area that could be looked at in depth. If in some way we could make the sellers of baby pet birds give this information before purchase and the Parrot Society could write a booklet on this subject that our members could give a perspective owner, then maybe the owner would be prepared for this change or not take on the bird in the first place.
We have had requests from members to exhibit birds at Bird Show of the Year so this October we have laid on showing classes for members. If you would like to exhibit your birds and are not sure quite how to go about it, our Treasurer Cliff Wright would give you any advice you may need his phone number is inside the front cover of the magazine.
And finally the Parrot Society has donated £250.00 to the IOA to help with the cost of taking the British entry to the World Show in , this donation will be taken from the proceeds of BSOTY as some of the birds that will go to the World Show will be first exhibited at Stafford .
I have been amazed at the response I have received regarding the article that I wrote for last months chairman’s page. The subject of pet parrots is a most difficult and emotional area to document, as we write the Strategy for Birds. From all the many emails and telephone conversations I have had, all without exception, agree that the issues I raised in last months magazine need to be addressed and discussed openly. For those of you who read Cage and Aviary Birds magazine you will have seen that they have also taken the subject of pet parrots onboard and are helping us bring this topic to a wider audience. The documenting of pet parrots must be written in such a way that it gives a prospective owner an insight into what is expected of them when keeping a pet bird, and in a way that is achievable. In other words; fair both to the parrot and keeper. Parrot Rescue homes and Sanctuaries are another area we are required to look at. Do these need to be licensed? If so, how would the standards be set and by whom, would the Local Authority be reasonable? It could be said documenting the needs in a form of Codes of Practice may be relatively straight forward. The real problem is how do we reach the prospective keeper? People already associated with birds and bird breeders are well aware of what owning a Pet Parrot entails. The difficulty is getting this information out to prospective owners, enabling them to make the correct choice when choosing their pet. Moving on to another subject; I attended a meeting at Westminster organised by Bill Wiggin MP to discuss the Animal Welfare Act and its implications to us as bird keepers. The Conservative party are flagging up the importance of companion animals and hobbyist livestock in their new manifesto, I believe this is a real move forward and an opportunity that bird keepers must not miss. The arrangements for Bird Show of the Year are going very well we have twelve clubs signed up to exhibit with us and this will double the number of birds that were benched last October. We have just started work on our show magazine which will be distributed mid September. A few weeks ago I gave a report to the Cage and Aviary Birds on the fact that we have two hundred more members than we had at this time last year. After the disappointment of having to cancel Detling and Pickering sale days how delighted we were that all the signs were that our Summer Show at Stafford was set to be bigger than last year. Unfortunately some members in the Kent Area read this as if we had cancelled their local table sale, of course this is not so. Their Area Sale Day takes place on September 21st at Ditton and further details can be obtained from Phil Thomas on 01304 37576.