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Wildlife Camera » Smart finch is getting bigger

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The Tale of the Red Canary »

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.

“Not really a criticism,” he said. “It’s just that most of the show birds I’ve been seeing lately are much bigger than they used to be.”

British cagebird breeders have always been the same — they go for size. They called the Border canary the “Wee Gem”, but added: “A good big ‘un will always beat a good little ‘un,” and bred them bigger and bigger. Fanciers who wanted something less chunky had to create the Fife Fancy, which rapidly became a success story.

Long ago, the Crest canary became huge. The Gloster stepped in as a neat replacement. The show budgerigar got bigger too – some recent photographs of trophy winners look almost like the “feather duster” mutants which turn up from time to time. All fluff and not much charisma.  Is there a place for a wild-type budgie again? They are still around in the pet trade, but their neat smoothness went from the showbench long ago.

As far as my zebra finches are concerned, one of their main charms is their miniature perfection. They are tiny birds with superstar personalities. Making them as large as canaries is not a worthwhile aim, I should have thought, but that’s the way they are going.

They’re nice,” my buyer said. “But they’re never going to win anything.”

Copyrights Willy Newlands (this article first appeared in Cage & Aviary Birds) Photo: WN


 


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