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Wildlife Camera » Pets and Aviary

Archive for 'Pets and Aviary'

Classic gamebirds from backyard pens

22 November 2009
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Bobwhite quail

Two birds which have been trying to find their way on to the British shooting list for many years without success, are now finding a place in the niche market for exotic game. The Bobwhite quail and the Chukar partridge are easy to keep and breed, and they are famously good on the table.

The Bobwhite, when considered as exotic table game, fits into a gap between the Coturnix quail – the usual supermarket quail – and the partridge. It weighs about half a pound, say 200-250gm. And the Chukar and its hybrids, weighing about three-quarters of a pound (350gm), have found a market as the supply of wild Grey partridges from the shooting field has faded away. (more…)

Easier bird photos in the aviary

14 November 2009
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Barn owls

Birdkeeping is much the same as ever it was, but taking photographs of aviary birds has changed dramatically. Today’s digital cameras make it wonderfully easy.

I was thinking about this when comparing the price of a couple of pairs of canaries I had been offered with the price of a new camera. The birds – sight unseen, no pedigree, no guarantees – were £30 each, plus £65 for the courier, a total of £185. The latest zoom camera would cost about the same, and it’s guaranteed to arrive alive! (more…)

The Tale of the Red Canary

13 November 2009
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Red canary

“Darwin and sex” was the title which caught my eye. It was the subject of a recent lecture to an animal behaviour conference in Oxford and the lecturer was Professor Tim Birkhead.

This is the same Tim Birkhead who used to turn up at cage-bird club meetings in the North of England and explain canary genetics. Over a pie and a pint he could open fanciers’ eyes to the possibilities of breeding a better canary. And he is one of the few people who understands both serious ornithology and also the motivations of bird keepers. His 2004 paperback, The Red Canary,  is my favourite cage bird book – a masterpiece of popular science. (more…)

Smart finch is getting bigger

13 February 2009
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zebra finch in nestbox
I sold some zebra finches to an experienced fancier the other day, a man who has kept birds all his life. He cast an eye over the two dozen finches in the flight cage and said: “They look very old-fashioned.”

“What does that mean exactly?” I asked.

“They’re small,” he said. (more…)

Going home to Socorro

27 November 2008
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socorro dove

The dove in front of my lens at Edinburgh Zoo looked like one of the New World’s common birds, the Mourning dove. There are reckoned to be nearly 500 million Mourning doves in North America and up to 70 million are shot by hunters each season.

It also looked rather like the Eared dove, which is numbered in millions in South America – about 23 million in one district of northern Argentina alone.

But the Socorro dove is different. (more…)

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