May I first wish you all a very happy Christmas holiday. 2013 has been a challenging year for hobbyist bird breeders but the Society has experienced an excellent financial year as was reported by our Treasurer at the Annual General Meeting held in Berkhamsted on 24th November. The addition of The National Exhibition to our October  Show has significantly increased the numbers attending this event which is much appreciated by our Council and the Traders who support the show with so much enthusiasm and hard work. The Society is in an excellent position to continue to support all our members for many years to come, we have good financial reserves, a great deal of expertise on our governing Council and there is strong and continued enthusiasm for bird keeping both breeding and keeping of pets in the UK.

There are a great many people who assist the Society, either by working at our shows, writing articles, giving us books to sell and many other areas; you know who you are and I would like to personally thank you all for unstinting help and assistance. Nowadays ‘self help’ seems all the rage, the Society has been practising this for 46 years it is not something new to us and we seem quite good at it!!

I do hope that all our hobbyist breeder members continue to enjoy their hobby it is a great pastime and gives you an enjoyable way to relax away from the constant pressures of work and business. Just look after your breeding stock as well as you can through the coming winter and I hope you produce a bumper crop of beautiful youngsters in 2014. On pages 23 to 26 you will find the 2014 Ring Order Form from Avian ID by ringing your youngsters it is much easier to complete your breeding records and any DNA sexing you carry out looks much more professional if the sexing certificates have the ring number present.

Our next main Society event is the ‘Help Bird Keepers Show’ at Stafford on Sunday 1st December, it is unfortunately too late now to obtain tickets from our office but you can still pay on the door where tickets will be £5.00 each, entry with these tickets will be at 9.15 a.m. those of you who have purchased tickets in advance will be able to enter at 8.00 a.m. Not quite to the standard of Morley Aviaries who do really get into the Christmas spirit with their costumes but I understand that P.S. officials will have Christmas scarves in addition to their very fetching elves hats and there will be a tin of Quality Street on our stand for our guests to have a chocolate!


I would like to thank all our members who supported the Society at The National Exhibition on Sunday 13th October I was really pleased with the excellent attendance and the lovely ‘buzz’ around all the halls, there was no doubt many people were having a very enjoyable day out. There is just so much going on at this, the largest show that we organise each year that it is quite easy to miss something be it a Trade or Club stand or some long term bird friends selling their surplus stock. As soon as I arrive at the Hall around 10.00 am on Saturday morning after a 120 mile drive from Luton my first task is to mark out all the pitches for the Trade stands using the dimensions that have been gained by doing this for 27 years! On the day of the Show as many people are ‘regulars’ there are always people who can direct new visitors around the buildings so that they can find the Prestwood Centre (through to canvas tunnel) and the Argyle and Sandylands Centres beyond that house the exhibition birds, we had over 4,000 exhibits this year and this area of our activity is growing at an excellent rate justifying the faith that The P.S. Council had in this venture.

They took some finding but I managed to secure five normal Bourke’s parakeets to add to my collection which pleased me greatly, they are such gentle inoffensive birds that I just love seeing them flying around my aviaries and finding normals does seem rather a challenge these days. There are many people who help to set up the Show and I would particularly like to thank Alan Smith and John Johnson who travel all the way from The Shetland Islands to help us and also Barry Cope who had a slightly shorter drive from Derbyshire, gentlemen I thank all three of you. Without the help of members it would be a difficult show to put on. It is also important to thank our two sponsors Richard Johnston of Johnston & Jeff Ltd and Malcolm Green of The Birdcare Company who make sizable donations in both cash and products to help the organisation of the event.

Please look at the details on pages 20 to 23 in this edition of ‘The Help Bird Keepers’ Show at Stafford on Sunday 1st December, although only a small Show compared with The National it is a very pleasant event and a Show that I hope will continue to attract visitors looking to obtain quality stock from our hobbyist breeder members at competitive prices, there will also be a large number of Trade stands at this show so it is well worth visiting, who knows it might be a dry day!



We have now reached the point in the year when hobbyist breeders can take stock of their achievements during the 2013 breeding season this has been both a challenging year and one where some breeders have rather surprisingly produced some excellent results. I think that the cold start especially in March which was a particularly unpleasant time has meant that breeding was nearly three weeks later than in the very wet summer of 2012. One thing that this will mean is that the moult will start later for those birds that have raised families and I hope that the weather will be kind to our birds over this difficult period. It is even more important to feed our birds well over the next couple of months so that they are in as high a condition as possible when they go into the winter. Continue to feed egg food if the birds will accept it and continue to feed soaked germinated seeds remembering that the aim is to feed this vitamin packed food just as the seed starts to chit (as soon as you see the tip of the sprout appearing out of the seed casing) also at this time of year in rural areas there are many berries and wild rose hips that can be gathered for free my birds thoroughly enjoy this bounty. Unless you feed your outdoor aviary birds well so that they can put on some fat they will find it difficult during the winter months to get through this cold time and not lose too much condition, remember it is only fit birds which will breed well in the spring of 2014.

We are now very close to The National Exhibition on 13th October, you will see a guide to the event on pages 42 to 47 I trust that you have a really enjoyable day at Stafford and that you manage to purchase all the items you require, if you do buy any birds my Top Tip is to remember to make a note of the table number and the name of the seller.

I always like to have a picture on my page and this month Les has sent me this one of some guests from Gloucestershire enjoying the August sun at his collection there is no doubt that one of the greatest joys of bird keeping is having a group of hobbyist bird breeders visit your collection and have time to chat to them about both their birds and also your own collection we can all learn something fresh about our fascinating hobby when we gather like this; it is a very good way to spend a few hours.



Since last month’s message we have had a very busy time with a visit to Beale Park to dedicate a bench in memory to Cliff Wright on 23rd June and then our very enjoyable Summer Show at Stafford on 7th July and a Council meeting in Berkhamsted on 14th July.

I was very pleased that Pat Wright could come from Lancashire with our Council member Kevin Pickup and his family.  It was good to see her sitting on the bench accompanied by her grand children who had travelled the relatively short distance from London. Although it did not rain it was a blustery day and our normal picnic activities meant that we had to hang on to our cardboard plates in a determined manner! Many thanks to everyone who brought along savouries and cakes it was much appreciated.

Our Summer Show seems to go from strength to strength which is a great delight to all our Council as it means that the decision to develop a Show at what some thought was not a typical date for such an event was the correct one. This year we were blessed with a particularly warm day that I am sure delighted the breeders with small finches that fare best in these conditions, I am sure the traders who work outside also enjoyed the conditions. A number of pleasing emails were received

Hi David, I just wanted to drop you a quick email to say how well the show went, we sold 95% of stock we had taken and had a really great response. Thank you for all your help!! We were told we need to do the show in October do you have any info on this yet? Thank you again kindest regards Lisa Osborne Marriages Specialist Foods.

Hi David....what a great day the show was, I think I enjoyed this one more than I have for a long time. Not so much to get round and not as crowded as the October show, I seemed to bump into more people I don't see very often than I do in October! Sue Fernley

I understand that many members visited the P.S. stand and paid for their entry wrist bands and tables for The National Exhibition, it already looks as though this is going to be the best supported event ever. Table numbers and entry wrist bands will be despatched as soon as we receive the bands from the printers.

John Hayward continues to report African Grey parrots escaping as they seem to like the warm weather but fortunately they do not go too far from home and are frequently found in the largest tree in sight.



The second half of the year starts with our July magazine and my July message and this is the time of the year when the ‘Show Season’ commences. On Sunday the 7th July we are holding the first of the three shows organised at the Stafford County Showground each year, this is our Summer Show and allows members to catch up with all their ‘bird keeping’ friends from around the country and in some instances those from further afield. It is a time when we are able to discuss the difficulties and the successes that we have been experiencing with what was a very late spring in the UK. Les took the picture below of one of his aviaries on 23rd March. Generally first rounds have seen many clear eggs but I understand that things are picking up with second round fertility returning to more normal levels, that is if your birds ‘go for a second round’. However, I am sure there will be a good supply of 2013 UK bred stock awaiting new owners at The National Exhibition on Sunday 13th October, you will see booking details on pages 24 to 27 inside this magazine, on-line booking via the PSUK Shop on our website will be available from 9th July once we have completed the Summer Show.

Following this page I am pleased to include an article by Johnpaul Houston who is the Head of Birds at Blackpool Zoo with details of the Western Galahs (Eolophus rosiecapillus assimilis) dating back to 1974 which supports an appeal to exchange blood with members who keep this sub species, if you can help then please do contact Johnpaul.

John Hayward tells me that he has been extremely busy trying to assist people who have lost their African Greys, many after being put outside in the sun and then escaping from their cage or others who have just walked out into the garden with the bird on their shoulder and the bird just flew away. People seem to think that once a bird has been wing clipped that stops it from flying off, that is true for a period of time but as experienced keepers know parrots do moult and the clipped flight feathers are replaced with full length new feathers allowing the Grey to be able to fly!! African Greys are great at escaping the ‘Houdini Bird’ would be a very appropriate nickname.

Also for our pet bird owners John Hayward has produced an excellent Pet Parrot Passport to record your entire pet’s personal details; it also contains some important contact details and sensible advice. I would like to thank John for his hard work on this project and hope that the document that is in the centre 8 pages of this edition is removed and completed by you and saved somewhere safely.



I would like to thank Alan Jones for his work on our new photographic competition which is described on pages XXX and XXX and also for the generous donation of two copies of his excellent book ‘Keeping Parrots – Understanding their Care and Breeding’ that has received high acclaim in avicultural circles as prizes for the competition.

Please remember that the Summer Show takes place on the 7th July at Stafford County Showground, this is the first of our three shows at this venue in 2013. I am receiving some more encouraging reports about breeding results than were common only a month ago even though weather conditions are still far from encouraging for my birds. It appears that the number of infertile eggs seems to be less of a problem than last month but those youngsters do need to be reared so we are going to have to supply plenty of soft food, fruit, vegetables, germinated seed and green food to give the youngsters the best possible chance of surviving the cold weather. What we must not forget is that when the weather does start to warm up nest boxes with four or more youngsters inside can become very hot and babies can die of heat exhaustion which is rather surprising because all boxes have an entrance hole. However the heat does not escape out of the hole it just circulates around the nest. That is why it is important to use nest boxes where you can raise the lid or even replace it with a piece of heavy gauge wire mesh to stop the youngsters escaping too soon, obviously each evening the wooden top will need to be replaced at around 7.00 pm as the temperature drops. Whilst talking about breeding I would be very pleased if you could complete the Breeding Return that was located in the centre of the May publication, it is so important to record our member’s achievements and really there is no better way of doing this than recording your successes last year and sending them in to the office, the deadline for return to the office is 12th June.

I will be attending the Beale Park Day on Sunday 23rd June so if members would like to attend I would be delighted to meet you and have a nice chat about birds, details of the day can be found on page 27. We have a long association with Beale Park and if the weather is bright it is an excellent location to sit out on the lawn and have a few drinks and snacks with fellow members, it is such a different event to our Sale Days and one that allows us to think about our former Council members such as John Mollindinia and Cliff Wright who we intend to dedicate a bench in his memory on this visit.

Try to allow your pet birds to have direct access to natural light (not through glass) for at least 20 minutes each day the benefits of which are very important to your pet. Please make sure that your treasured pet is safe when moved outside, an aviary with a safety door to place your bird in might be a good option. Even better would be to place their cage in the aviary that would certainly improve the security aspects of the operation.

Whatever area of bird keeping you are interested in please do enjoy this wonderful hobby it is a pastime that brings immense enjoyment to so many.   



I am delighted to report that bookings for the 7th July Summer Show at Stafford are arriving in good numbers at the office. With both on-line bookings via our website and the more traditional letter in the post members (and non members) have two options to book their entry wrist bands and tables and with the high cost of postage I can well understand why more and more are using the on-line option. My birds are now settling into their breeding routine but I hear that infertile eggs seem to be more common this year than last so I would encourage members to check the status of their eggs by shining a torch on the to see if there are those all important blood veins developing. If the eggs are infertile then the sooner they are removed the quicker the second round can be commenced and hopefully fertility will return, certainly the very cold March did little to help the start to the 2013 season. Whilst talking about breeding results I would be very pleased if you could complete the Breeding Return that is located in the centre of this publication, it is so important to record our member’s achievements and really there is no better way of doing this than recording your successes last year and sending them in to the office.

On pages 8 to 13 there is an interesting article on The Natural History Museum Bird Group that is based at Tring museum only 5 miles west of our office at Berkhamsted, there is also an appeal for dead parrot species, all you need to do is to follow the instructions in the article. The museum has an interesting history as it has links to the Rothschild family famous for their banking skills, as entry is free of charge it makes a very good day out with something for everyone on display, certainly worth a visit if you are anywhere near west Hertfordshire.  For all those with an interest in pet birds I am sure that you will be pleased to read the article by Dot Schwarz entitled ‘Training Parrots at Natural Encounters Ranch’ which I am sure you will find very informative. At the Luton Area meeting on Sunday 21st April we had a ‘Fun with Parrots’ afternoon and very good fun it was indeed as quite a few of our audience have an interest in this area of bird keeping, Vicki Hammond brought along Max the Blue & Gold macaw that is famous for his appearances in the James Bond films, Max was well supported by Buddy a full winged African Grey and Coco a more static but equally entrancing Umbrella Cockatoo who is only three. Two very well behaved African Greys owned by Anneline Howitt named Melvin and Jeana which have lived in South Africa gave us an insight into the movement of pets from one country to another. It was indeed a very entertaining meeting we must do it again sometime!!



Our breeder members are now starting to see the fruits of their labours over the autumn and winter months with some, the earlier breeders, starting to lay clutches. One member with four pairs of Indian Ring-necked parakeets has three pairs on eggs and although there have been night temperatures as low as -7C he is confident that the eggs will hatch, he told me that experienced hens seem to know that they can only leave the eggs for a few minutes when it is cold. I also hope that our pet parrot owners are preparing to allow their birds a spell outside to obtain the benefit of natural light to assist with calcium absorption as little as 20 minutes per day seems to be of great assistance but be very careful that your bird does not escape!

Our stand at the Spring Stafford Show was very well supported and some very nice books were donated by generous members which will be available at the 7th July Summer Show so do make sure you visit our stand to see what is available. Details of the show appear on pages 20 to 23 and wristbands for entry and tables are available from the PSUK Shop on our website or you can apply in writing via our office.

We had a very good Council meeting at a new venue in Berkhamsted on 17th March, as Chairman it is always pleasing when these meetings produce good outcomes and that the members of Council are happy with progress within the Society on all the areas that we cover. I feel that we have a stable and very hard working Council and to be the Chairman gives me considerable pleasure. If you feel that there are new areas where we could direct our attentions to the benefit of members then please do not hesitate to write to me via our office at 92A High Street, Berkhamsted, I would be very pleased to learn of your suggestion.     

In this magazine there are some very interesting articles on Avian Maleria by Alan Jones, Black-capped Lories by Jos Hubers and Keeping & Breeding Ruppell’s Parrots by Allan Manning. All three of these contributors have a wealth of experience in their fields and I recommend you to read all three articles.



We are all looking forward to an exciting year with our birds and although it is cold at present there is a hint that the evenings are starting to stay lighter longer always a good sign. Now is the time to feed our birds well to ensure that they reach the spring in as good condition as possible well fed birds are the best breeders. For those interested in pet birds Emma Freeman has written ‘Being Prepared’ with a wealth of helpful advice not only for pet owners but breeders as well please see pages 8 to 12. You will see the latest news on the Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo conservation project in Australia on pages 6 and 7, I correspond regularly with Ray Ackroyd so it is relatively easy to keep up to date with progress in Australia I just hope that the recent severe bush fires have not affected our area of operation.  

In the December magazine we printed an application form for our Ring Scheme in this publication besides another application form there are details of how the scheme works and the ring sizes for individual species that I am sure will be of assistance to our new members. 

We have been allowing members to enter all our shows early for a year now and hopefully everyone now knows of this arrangement you can now enter the sales halls at 7.30 or 8.00 am rather than having to wait outside until 9.30. Although we printed dates and costs of our three shows on page 18 of the January magazine but please do not book for these shows until you see the specific details printed in the magazine the July show will be announced in the April publication and will also appear on our website early in April.

As our Shows are now firmly established the year ahead looks very encouraging for the Society this is very relevant for The National Exhibition which will be held on 13th October this year each year this event grows and improves Les Rance and Keith Jones our Treasurer and the National Co-ordinator have arranged a meeting for 28th April in Coventry with the exhibiting clubs and I am pleased to announce that the Norwich canaries are joining us this year. The National is leading the avicultural scene by providing opportunities for clubs to exhibit their birds. This event is strongly supported by our joint sponsors Johnston & Jeff Ltd and The Birdcare Company their support is greatly appreciated.

During 2013 we will have our Society stand at both of the Newark Shows and also at the Stafford Spring Show so members will be able to raise any matters they have with our representatives on the day. At these events we have recently been selling second hand bird books that have kindly been donated by members and these have been quite popular and a great way to recycle publications you no longer require