Chairman’s November message 2009

What a wonderful day we all had at Stafford, the show can clearly be classed as one of the best events the Parrot Society has ever staged. A big ‘Thank you’ to all those members that helped us to set up the show on Saturday, then worked so hard keeping the show running so smoothly on Sunday. We have received so many kind words this year into the office. The rearranged layout was a hit, and we will look again at how this successful layout can still be further improved. While the show is in full progress it is much more obvious for us to spot the areas that are not used by visitors. Under the balcony when the hall is empty looks good, but somehow when the show is in progress this area seems to get cut off so we will think how this can be improved. See page opposite inviting all members to come along to the OPEN COUNCIL MEETING this has become an important day in the PS calendar. This meeting is run in an informal way which allows members to meet the Council and have a direct say into the decisions that are made on the items under discussion. With our Area Meetings declining this is the one day when members are able to feel a part of the Parrot Society, please try to attend. So we can make sure we have enough seating available please either give the office a call or telephone me on 01787 277248.

In the coming months everyone is now aware that the Royal Mail is very likely to be disrupted, this unfortunately will affect the distribution of our magazines. We are now posting by another means, bypassing some of the sorting offices in dispute so we are hoping that this will help our members receive the magazine without too much delay.

On December 13th in the Prestwood Hall at Stafford, we are holding a HELP BIRDKEEPING SALE DAY. Advanced tickets and table booking can be completed at the PSUK shop on our website or via our office by cheque or postal order. As I explained before, it is very difficult for birdkeepers to transport birds by courier, this small bird sale will allow breeders to meet up and exchange birds, we are delighted that many of the Trade who support the Parrot Society will also be in attendance, these sell all the needs of birdkeepers i.e. seed, nest boxes, softfood, plastic etc.


With modern technology and satellites it is possible for me to keep in touch with the Parrot Society Office no matter how remote the area is wherever I happen to travel. This Chairman’s page I am writing from central Queensland while I am on a bird watching trip photographing the Golden Shouldered Parakeet.

This month I have a few things to explain and also to few requests. Firstly the July Magazine that announced the opening of bookings for members tables for our October show, due to postal strikes and working to rule at sorting offices some of the magazine were delayed for members receiving them; my own included, it would seem that East Anglia was the most affected area. And also your requests into our office for tables were also affected; therefore some members feel that although they applied for tables as early as possible they missed out on having a place in the Main hall. Our secretary Les Rance has arranged a trial for a few months with business post in an effort to get our magazines delivered as you would wish. We do need feed back to find if this is working. You should receive your magazine by the Friday of the first full week of each month please let us know if yours arrives later than this.

A request: We have once again redesigned the show hall, placing member tables back in the centre of the main hall where the light is good, we have joined annex one and two together and we will also be using the Prestwood hall for member tables. Please let us know if you like the redesign. Our show is the premier event in the bird keeping year, please if you are bringing birds for sale use the correct size cages, and only two birds per

Last year our table supplier for Stafford let us down ten days before the show and we had to work hard to find a new supplier, in view of this we have purchased 900 tables in conjunction with the Stafford County Showground and we will use these for our shows giving us certainty that tables are available and the Stafford showground will hire them to the organisers of other events at the Stafford Showground giving us an income for our part of the expenditure.

November 16th is our AGM and as in previous years we are making the council meeting in the morning an open meeting. Please come along to express your views on the running of our Society among the topics on the agenda will be the debrief of the Stafford show and any changes that may be required for the 2010 show, also an account of how our new show at Stafford to be held in December is shaping up. Members are able to book a sale table for this show while you are at the October show. 


All our thoughts are now focused on Stafford . Arrangements are well in hand and booking for Tables and advanced tickets is going very well indeed. Now that it is possible to book via the internet pre-entry of tickets at the reduced price it has brought the Parrot Society into the twenty first century. If you are considering having a table and obtaining reduced price tickets time is now getting short, please see details on pages 408 to 410.

The layout of the show will once again be slightly different in so much that the trade are still in the Main Hall but this year placed around the edges and member sale tables in the centre, Annex one and two and the Prestwood Hall, the Balcony being used for none member tables selling birds not of the parrot family, so if you are looking for that odd Canary, Finch or British bird the balcony is where you will find them. Now that the roof lights have been renewed for the balcony, the light in this area is now excellent.

There is still plenty of time to look at the cages you are going to use at Stafford so please help your Society present a good image with bright clean painted cages of the correct size and only two birds per cage. Also remember Parakeets, Lovebirds and Conures cannot be displayed in an all wire cages, only parrots can be displayed in these.

Our office is continually being told about unweaned birds being offered on the internet. It is unlawful to sell or to buy unweaned birds. This is clearly stated in the Pet Act. Also again on the internet birds mainly Cockatoos are being offered at cheap prices. The seller offers government papers which are false and asks for half the cash via Western Union up front. The address used is in Harlow which does not exist, this like any other cheap offers is a scam.

I finish with two requests. The first is that our Areas Meetings that used to be so popular are having difficulty in continuing because of lack of attendance, these gathering are run in a very informal manner and just gives like minded people the chance to get together and have a chat about their bird, so please give the meeting in your area a visit. Dates are always published in the back of our magazine.

The other request is please would you write something for our magazine, this is the lifeblood of our Society and we know from the comments we receive in the office the favourite articles are the ones written by members about their own birds. Our editor will help you in any way he can to get your experiences into print.


I am delighted to be able to announce that Mr Hamish Dawson Publishing director of Cage and Aviary Birds magazine has given the Parrot Society permission to now call our Bird Show of the Year, ‘The National’.  This name had been associated with England’s premier Bird Show for generations. Sadly when Cage & Aviary Birds were no longer able to stage this Show bird keeping as a whole suffered a great loss. Over the last two years I have done all that is possible to revive this event with Bird Show of the Year and this has developed more rapidly than I could have ever hoped, when I arranged the first meeting of Clubs wishing to be part of that new idea. This; the third show is all set to be even bigger than the event last year, with extra clubs taking part. It is with some personal pride that our show will now officially be called THE NATIONAL BIRD SHOW. 

Remembering to pay the subscription each year to rejoin our Society is sometimes overlooked, so our office has set up a Direct Debit scheme, once registered you can rest assured that your membership will not lapse, also there is a cash benefit to you as a member if you pay by this method because it cuts the cost of administration the Direct Debit subscription for 2010 remains at £20, making a £2 saving over the Standard subscription of £22 for 2010.

The Summer show was a terrific hit with attendance up by almost 1,000 , the Parrot Party gave a lot of interest to the families with young children especially the ‘Build a parrot corner’ run so successfully by Emma and Brian Freeman, the photos in the Show Report depict the fun this activity provided the youngsters. With experts of Pet Parrots on hand from Charnwood Parrot Club, our Area meeting at Leicester, we had this section well covered. My sincere thanks to all those members that helped make this event such a wonderful day.

In last months Chairman’s page I reminded members of the annual elections and the closing date for nominations also if you have any item that you wish to have formally discussed at the AGM in Coventry on November 15th. Please send them to the office for inclusion onto the agenda.

Finally please remember that we are organising a ‘Help Bird Keepers Show’ on Sunday 13th December in the Prestwood Hall at Stafford County Showground which opens at 9.00 am. We have traders already agreeing to attend so whatever you may require in terms of bird supplies these will be available on the day, as well as sales tables for members and non members.

Chairman’s July Message 2009

It is amazing just how quickly a year of our Society passes and elections of Council and Officers are coming around once again. If any member would like to apply to become a Council member and Trustee the only requirement is that you have been a continuous member for three years; the post is for a period of three years. The position of Chairman and Treasurer is a one year post and to apply for this you must be a passed or serving Council member. The closing date for nomination is August 31st. In the passed many new Council members have joined after running a Parrot Society Area, however, I would welcome a nomination from a member with new ideas and prepared to work for the good of our very successful Society.

On June 3rd I chaired the Pet Bird meeting at the DEFRA headquarters in London. The meeting was organised to make a start on the documentation of pet parrots. We received five excellent presentations to set the task going. First, Peter Scott spoke on behalf of DEFRA laying out what government expects bird keepers to document in respect of pet bird breeding and pet bird keeping. The second presentation was given by Greg Glendell posing the question of the best way forward to document this area. Jim Collins then spoke on how the documentation of pet birds could affect the Pet Care Trust and its members, also giving us an account of legislation as it stands. Steve Nichols of the Parrot Zoo followed presenting on how he runs his Parrot Zoo (Sanctuary) and what he considered the future holds for these establishments. Finally Martin Potter of the England Implementation Group (EIG) spoke on the necessity of the Bird Strategy Group.

All subjects associated with pet birds were discussed by the seventeen present and it was agreed that to make a start on the project John Catchpole of Parrots Magazine would write a leaflet outlining the responsibilities of owing a pet bird and how to select the most suitable breed of bird to suit ones lifestyle.

Last but not least an important announcement. Les Rance and I will be arranging a Sale Day in the Prestwood Hall at Stafford County Show Ground on Sunday December 13th. This is a new date for members and also for non members, to exchange birds and sell their surplus. We both feel that now it is difficult and expensive to move birds around the country by courier, it is a good idea to offer the facility of this extra day. Details of this new event will be published in the October and November magazines, bookings will not be accepted until after 11th October.


I can start Chairman’s Page with some really good news. You will remember that in last Decembers magazine I told you how our funds deposited in the Icelandic Bank had been frozen and although we were sure that it would be returned we did not know when. I am pleased to say that the largest account has been returned to us and the other smaller account will be reimbursed very soon. We did employ specialist accountants to help us through the mountain of complicated form filling and this has lead to the early return of our funds. The big problem is now how to invest this nest egg, making sure it is safe and with the best interest of the Parrot Society and our membership in mind.

What looks to be another big success for us is the Summer Stafford Show with the new extra feature of the Pet Parrot Party, please read opposite page for more details. Booking for tables from members and non members is going really well and we have good interest from the trade. I now feel this Stafford Summer show has  taken its place in the bird event calendar as each year it becomes bigger and bigger along with the enthusiasm.

It was excellent to see Cage and Aviary Birds Magazine flag up one of our conservation programs, having won an award internationally. This educational project informing children of their heritage and to stop the use of sling shot catapults, the full report was printed in our March magazine. The Parrot Society has a number of conservation projects some are on going like the tinning of the trees in Australia and the Scarlet Macaw project in Costa Rica others are just one off projects. All this work is funded by our conservation fund.

Another project that I am heavily involved with on behalf of the Parrot Society is the Strategy for birds. This is a very worthwhile project as it involves working with all the other bird keepers of all branches of Hobbyist birds. On May 20th we held a meeting where we finalised the first section of the Bird Strategy document; taking into account all the comments we had received. I am now starting work on documenting Pet birds with a first meeting early June at the DEFRA offices in Page Street, London to discuss ways that a committee can be set up to start to write this document which initially will be put forward for public consultation.


The first delivery of the Colour Mutations for Beginners booklets was well received by members, thank you for the comments. It is nice to receive thanks for our work, although only a booklet, I am sure you appreciate how many hours go into its production. Those of you who have not yet received a copy will do so in due course, as I explained last month it is posted this way to make the best use of postal charges. The Pet Parrot Party that I have spoken about the last two months is now to be held in conjunction with our Summer Show at Stafford on 28th June. On reflection it is the obvious venue, we have more than sufficient space to host this extra feature and during the summer the original idea of a marquee could have been very hot for the birds. We offer free entry for anyone bringing a pet bird, please contact the office for your free ticket (details appear on the opposite page).

We have both Barrett Watson and Chris Mason attending with their birds, this is always a great favourite of the families, as it gives the chance to experience these beautiful birds first hand and close up. Bird Show of the Year arrangements are going very well. This years exhibition will be double the size; we are expecting to stage 3,000 exhibition birds, in addition to all those that showed with us last year, a Budgerigar section, Fife canaries, Colour canaries, and Borders has been added.

The feedback we have received from members regarding the addition of non member tables offering birds other then that of the parrot family is appreciated as so many people that attend do keep a variety of other kinds of birds. Comments on the Bird Strategy Document are very positive and at the next meeting of the Strategy committee on May 20th all those comments received will be discussed and amendments made as necessary and we will finalise the main document.

We are now about to start the next section; which for the Parrot Society is to document Pet Birds, Sanctuaries and Rescue homes. As I have said on many occasions this is the most difficult area to document because of the emotion it generates. While on the Bird Strategy subject I have just returned from Denmark. I was invited to speak at the Danish Annual Bird Conference on the subject ‘Ethics and Strategy in British Bird Keeping’. Denmark is about to start the process of writing its own Bird Strategy document, it would seem that the whole of the EU are in this process.


This summer will be a busy time for Parrot Society members with the events we have on offer, Flamingo Park April 19th offering a 50% admission discount to members. Our Summer Show on June 28th this event not to be missed; We have seen it double in size each year it has been held and signs are that it will be a very successful show again this year; we will be offering sale tables to non members for the sale of birds not of the parrot family. This facility has been very well received both from our members and non members alike.

A lot of our members do breed a variety of species as well as parrots and parakeets’ so having all types of birds on offer makes for a more interesting day. Please see pages 156 to 158 for details of the event. Last month I wrote about the exciting new idea to be tried at Beale Park this summer of a ‘Parrot Party’ for our pet bird keeping members. Unfortunately due to the zoo licensing restrictions at Beale Park this event will have to be at a different venue. I repeat, however, what I said last month. When the Society started over forty years ago all our membership were breeders of the parrot family, now a large section of our members keep a pet parrot and with the Bird Strategy on Pet Parrots about to be written we feel it is a good time to get Pet Parrot owners together to discuss and hear their views on pet parrot ownership. Plans for the event are, however continuing and we hope to have attending Jan Hooimeier a veterinarian from the Netherlands who runs Parrot Parties in his country.

It is hoped that Jan will give a short presentation and spend the rest of the day speaking to those attending. More details will follow next month when we will hopefully have arranged a replacement venue, please pass the word around it should be a great day!

Bird Show of the year preparations are well in hand and this year it looks like we will be joined in the show hall by more varieties of canaries. New Colour canaries and Stafford canaries are definitely showing and almost certainly the Fifesand for the first time we are hoping that Budgerigars will be represented. Les Rance our secretary is always looking for material to print in our magazine and will gladly help you with writing your story. Members do like to read of other breeder’s success as they contain practical information that is often not available from books. We have a number of very experienced breeders and would be very happy to receive their experiences; some pictures to compliment the article are always appreciated.


February proved to us that we still can have bad weather in the UK; I hope that the cold snap with all the snow didn’t make looking after your birds too difficult. Speaking with some of our Ringneck breeders in spite of the weather their season has started well. March for me is the best month of the year, as a Neophema breeder this is the time of the year, the start of another years breeding season, with the fun of making the final selection on pairings, fitting nest boxes and such,doing all the little things that hopefully will give the perfect breeding season and this early in the season things have not had too much chance of going wrong.

Again this year the Parrot Society has produced another booklet the subject ‘Colour Mutations – some guidelines for beginners’. It has been written by Les Rance and myself with input from Gary Clayton on mutation Conures and Mark Jones on Ringneck mutations. It has been written to give basic information on the different forms of mutations and how these colour changes can be passed and combined together. The Parrot Society office uses a complex posting system in order to make best use of our resources, so it will be posted out free to all members over the next three months taking sections of different post codes per month. An exciting new idea is to be tried at Beale Park this summer on July 5th. We are holding a ‘Parrot Party’ it is being especially held for our pet bird keeping members. When the Society started over forty years ago all our membership were breeders of the parrot family, now a large section of our members keep a pet parrot and with the Bird Strategy on Pet Parrots about to be written we feel it is a good time to get Pet Parrot owners together to discuss and hear your views on pet parrot ownership. The event is not yet fully planned, however we are fortunate to have attending as a special guest Jan Hooimeier a veterinarian from the Netherlands who specialises in pet parrots and runs Parrot Parties in his country. We will have a marquee and Jan will give a short presentation and I have been told that this is something not to be missed. Please make a note of the date and you are invited to bring along your pet bird.


I have always been interested in, to use the modern term, ‘feedback’. I am only too willing to hear what members have to say on the way that I and fellow Council Members are steering the Parrot Society. Iintroduced two years ago an Open Council Meeting before the AGM, placing a reminder in the magazine asking members to send in anything that they would like to have debated openly by P. S. members and Council. Therefore I am bitterly disappointed when a member’s sees fit to write to the independent press complaining and to add insult, some of the comments, are factually wrong. If you do have concerns please contact me direct and after hearing the explanation maybe you will understand the reason better. Please read my January Chairman’s message. In view of the facts just mentioned,I would just like to remind members of the way that Bird Show of the Year is financed.

First and foremost the show catalogue that we have produced to promote our event for the last two years has been paid for by very generous sponsorship from Johnston and Jeff and the Birdcare Company and the commercial advertising that it contains. The cage subsidy paid to the exhibiting clubs is paid for by the entry tickets that the showing enthusiasts buy to enter our show. I have always made it quite clear that this is first and foremost a Parrot Society event, and the exhibition side is not being subsidised from Parrot Society funds. Holding an all varieties bird event has many advantages. Since starting BSOTY we have seen an increase in the number of traders attending.

In order to make all the work and expense for a trader to attend a show, a large attendance of bird keepers is necessary, and the greater the number of people attending our show the better chance our members have of selling birds from their tables. In my view it is very important to get as many bird keepers under one roof at one time to revive the fun and camaraderie that used to surround the National, a place to meet and chat. Over the last few months I have written several times on the Chairman’s pageabout producing the document ‘strategy of bird keeping’. This has now been completed and we have also set up an independent website which will be used for comments and observations during the consultation period you can also access this document from the Parrot Society website or obtain a hard copy by contacting the office.


Another year has passed, and it was another successful one for our Society, ‘Bird Show of the Year’ being a real hit amongst our members as well as other branches of the bird keeping world. Without a doubt, 2009 will be a difficult year for many, with all the problems that the current economic climate has brought. One advantage with the drop in the value of the pound is that it makes the birds we breed very attractive to bird keepers in Europe so almost certainly we will see a larger number of overseas visitors at our events.

The Open Council meeting before the AGM gave members the opportunity to voice their thoughts on current issues; the main area of discussion was the new layout that we tried at Stafford in October. I had sent a letter to all the trade that attended asking for their observations of the new layout, and the feed back received showed clearly that they liked it however the area under the balcony will not be used again for member tables. When the hall is empty this area is bright and airy but when filled with sale tables and bird keepers it became congested and did not show the birds off to their best advantage. Thank you to the members that came along and took part in discussing the various items.

The main document of the Bird keeping Strategy has now been completed and is out for public consultation, I would welcome your comments. This document is best described as the road map laying out and categorising the sections of our hobby in a way that has never been done before and lists the tasks to be undertaken. A written version is available from our office, please send an A5 s.a.e. or alternatively the document can be found on our website. You can let me know your comments either by writing to the office or emailing me at Please help us to mould this document to ‘Good Bird Welfare’ which is also fair and achievable to the keepers.

The next section that we are about to begin is ‘Good Practice Guidelines’ this will give the basic requirement that is expected from keepers of birds it will be general for all birds. For those bird keepers that keep their birds well nothing will change. Throughout the whole process of documenting hobbyist bird keeping we have always been mindful that we must promote good bird welfare but this must also be achievable by the keepers.

To conclude the January Chairman’s page, all that remains is for me to wish you on behalf of The Parrot Society Council and our Office Staff, a good new year and for our members that breed birds, a successful breeding season.