CHAIRMAN - retired November 2022
Chairman’s Page May 2022
Preparations for our first ever Pet Parrot Gathering at Stafford County Showground on Saturday 9th July, as well as those for our regular Summer Show on Sunday 10th July at the same venue, continue apace. A few days after you read this, we will be having our next Council meeting, at which further details will be discussed. This new event is aimed at keepers of pet parrots, rather than the hobbyist breeders and dealers of our regular shows, and we know that there are plenty of you out there! So come along and meet like-minded parrot enthusiasts, as well as seeing plenty of trade stands with toys, accessories and treats for your birds.
There will be professional flying displays, as well as various bird collections on display in special aviaries, plus competitions with prizes. Hopefully, we have a number of interesting speakers lined up tp present short talks on a variety of topics linked to parrot keeping. You are welcome to bring along your own pet parrots, safely managed in a pet carrier, backpack, or in a harness. Concern has been raised about potential transmission of diseases, especially in the light of Avian ‘Flu. Judging by previous such epidemics, the disease will burn itself out by late spring/early summer, so we do not expect that to be a problem. However, we are keeping a close eye on Defra guidelines on the subject. We do not request any specific certification that birds are tested for such diseases as PBFD or Psittacosis, as potential for the spread of such infections is minimal, with the casual, distant contact involved in large, open, well-ventilated show halls. Thanks to the generosity of one of our trade benefactors – Meadows Animal Healthcare – ample opportunities will be provided for hand disinfection before handling birds or products with plenty of F10 disinfectant products available. We will also have our own ‘Track and Trace’ system in place, to fulfil APHA requirements, whereby all visitors bringing a pet parrot will need to fill in a form with name and contact details, and species of birds involved.
If, in spite of all this, you still have concerns, then leave your bird(s) at home, and just bring yourselves to enjoy everything else that is on offer. Advance wristbands are available from the office, or via our website shop, but may also be purchased on the door on the day. For the first time, we should be able to accept card payments at the pay kiosk, as well as traditional cash. Further information will be posted in next month’s magazine, as well as on our website.
The Summer Show the following day will see the return of our Aviary Competition. This involves displaying birds in planted or decorated aviaries, to create an attractive setting or tableau. The top three judged to be the best will be awarded a certificate and a cash prize! For further details, see The Summer Show
We are indebted as always to our many colleagues in the trade for supporting us in these ventures, not only by their physical presence in most cases, but also by financial sponsorship and the donations of items for prizes and awards.
We look forward to seeing you there for a busy weekend!
Alan K Jones April 18, 2022
Chairman’s Page April 2022
Well as I write this page, Spring has definitely sprung, with temperatures in the south-east of the country set to hit 18-20 degrees. We also have an exciting innovation to announce, as detailed elsewhere in this issue, and that is our first ever Pet Parrot Gathering. This will be focused on keepers of pet parrots, and will provide the opportunity to meet other like-minded parrot people, with trade stands geared to pet parrot diets, toys, accessories and welfare. Hopefully there will be the opportunity for some free-flying, in a safe, controlled area, for those whose birds are trained to do this, as well as demonstrations and possible talks on avian subjects. We hope to have representatives from parrot rescue groups, avian veterinary practices, and possibly bird parks. All this will be held in the Prestwood Hall at Stafford County Showground on Saturday 9th July. This will be an entirely separate event from our usual Summer Show on the following day, July 10th. We will let you know more as the year progresses, but this promises to be an interesting venture with a different slant on parrot-keeping.
Another new venture was the first part of the story of ‘Marty’, published in last month’s magazine, with a second chapter in this issue. Some of you may have been a little confused or bemused by its apparent veracity and technical detail, but it is in fact a highly imaginative work of fiction written by journalist and PSUK member Lillian Bird. As the story develops, you will see how ‘Marty’ becomes an important character in the exposure of the illegal trade in African grey parrots, and conservation of parrots in general. Think of the highly successful films ‘Rio’ and ‘Rio 2’, and you will get the idea. Lillian has kindly allowed us the use of her manuscript, and whilst printing the whole story in our magazine would take up too much time, we hope that the opening pages will whet your appetite. Copies of the full book will soon be available via our website shop, and also on our stand at forthcoming shows, with all proceeds going to The Parrot Society Conservation Fund. We supported several worthwhile conservation projects last year, and hopefully these sales from an inspiring story will help top up the fund for future good causes.
Other than that, I can only wish you all well for the coming spring and summer, and hope that the various ongoing pressures of Covid, Avian ‘flu, the cost of living, and the conflict in eastern European, are all resolved favourably and quickly!
Alan K Jones March 21, 2022
Chairman's Page March 2022
At this time two years ago, we were heading for the first major lockdown in response to what became a worldwide Covid pandemic. We all know what an effect that had on family life, working patterns, schooling and travel, as well as the forced closure of our events, meetings and shows for a very long time. We now seem to be breaking free of such restrictions at long last, although some are still adopting an over-cautious approach. We are expecting to go ahead with our full season of shows this year: the Summer Show on July 10th, the National Exhibition on October 2nd, and the winter Help the Birdkeepers Show on December 4th, all held at our regular venue of Stafford County Showground. Further details will be announced, and booking will become available, as the year progresses. We have decided that our Days Out events at various bird parks will be better served by a change to discounted entry for PSUK members, at a time convenient to them. Gathering on a specific day was always affected by inclement weather, and people’s other plans, so this alternative is more flexible. To this end, we have contacted Paradise Park (Cornwall), Birdworld (Surrey), Flamingoland (North Yorkshire), Tropical Bird Gardens (Leicestershire), and Harewood House (West Yorkshire) to confirm such arrangements. We will let you know more, again, as the year progresses. Fortunately, both the Parrot Society and these enterprises have survived the pandemic lockdowns.
Non-Parrot Society events such as the Stafford Spring Show and the EMBBA sale day at Newark are both going ahead in March, but the Think Parrots event for June at Kempton Park has been cancelled. However, the prestigious 10th International Parrot Congress at Loro Parque, Tenerife, will go ahead in September, and no doubt will be well attended by parrot enthusiasts from all over the world.
All this assuming, of course, that the Russia/Ukraine conflict has not escalated into a more serious global situation! What else can possibly be thrown at us next?
On a lighter note, although we may yet be in for some cold weather before Spring properly starts, we now have more daylight hours, while plant and bird life are both visibly stirring. All of which confirms that, whatever mankind may bring to the table, Nature continues her inevitable cycle, and that life goes on. Hopefully, this will include those of you breeding parrots, and may you have a successful season!
Alan K Jones February 14, 2022
Chairman’s Page February 2022
As I write this column, the cloudless sky is bright blue, and there is a thick frost on the grass. Garden birds are increasingly active around the feeding stations, including local feral ring-necked parakeets, and the consumption of mealworms has increased. In the woods where I walk the dogs, parakeets are squabbling over nest sites and woodpeckers are drumming. There are plenty of fresh green shoots in the garden and hanging baskets. And Covid appears to be waning. All of which boosts my natural optimism that we are heading for a better year in 2022. Provided politicians can stop squabbling over drinks parties, and get on with Governing the country, and addressing more serious issues, we should be OK.
No doubt those of you who keep breeding collections of parrots or parakeets are finding the same increase in their activity in readiness for breeding – if they have not gone to nest already. Having a hobby such as parrot keeping has enabled many to get through the misery of the last two years. Being responsible for the care and management of other lives makes us think more about them and their needs, rather than dwelling on our own misfortunes. A worthwhile hobby gives a purpose in life. I hope all goes well with your breeding season, and that opportunities to meet with fellow enthusiasts to share your experiences and exchange birds will be much greater in the coming year. We have repeatedly said that there is a wealth of knowledge and experience amongst private bird keepers – often greater than that existing in ‘professional’ fields like zoos and conservation projects. Do not be afraid to share that knowledge, or even just interesting anecdotes about your birds and your life with them. We will be pleased to publish them in our magazine.
Trustees have just held our first Council Meeting of the year – albeit still virtually – but hopefully all meetings for the rest of year will be live. Dates for this year’s shows have been set, and decisions have been taken to continue the business of the Society, and our service to members. Support for a new conservation project within the UK has been agreed, hopefully answering the criticism of ‘sending money abroad’. To be fair, most parrots naturally live in sub-tropical and tropical areas, and this is where the financial need is highest, but homegrown projects do exist, and more information will be given in subsequent weeks. Avian ‘flu is still around at present, but – following the pattern of usual outbreaks – as the days get longer and temperatures rise, this should burn itself out.
I look forward to serving another year as Chairman of the Parrot Society UK, and continuing to be involved with these fascinating birds.
Alan K Jones January 17, 2022
Chairman’s Report PSUK 54th AGM Dec 2021 (January 2022 magazine)
Another year dominated by the worldwide pandemic of Covid-19, but with improved treatment regimes and a massively successful vaccination campaign, we appear gradually to be returning to some form of normality. We have held one face-to-face Council meeting, and our October National Exhibition went ahead with fair success. This AGM held at our final show of the year – the Help the Birdkeepers Show – represents the last gathering of a trying year, and hopefully we can look forward to a continued return to normal life next year. This should include all shows, as well as our social Days Out at various avicultural venues around the country.
The National Exhibition fortunately produced a much-needed boost to our finances, while previous years of prudent financial management have allowed the Society to survive, while many other charities and societies have not been in such an enviable position, and have gone under.
Unfortunately, we lost our very capable treasurer in the summer, and we have not been able as yet to find a replacement. Our secretary Les Rance has successfully continued to run the office, partly working from home, and continued to produce the monthly magazine on time, as well as the on-line BirdScene. Lynda Kleinhans continues to cover one morning in the office, while Anne Wellington has proved a useful and efficient addition to the office staff in busy periods leading up to our shows. The permanent role of treasurer is to be taken over by a part-time book-keeper, with Secretary and Chairman maintaining over-all control of the accounts, and acting as joint signatories.
I continue to spend some time on most days working on Parrot Society affairs, including maintenance of our website; answering queries with a veterinary or scientific slant from PS members or the public; dealing with political/legislative matters; and writing articles. Personally, it has been a busy year, with several deaths and chronic illnesses occurring among family and close friends, as well as a move from Buckinghamshire to Kent. Anyone who has been through both issues will know how time-consuming they can be!
We will be sorry to see the retirement of Garry Steptowe from Council this year. He has been a long-term trustee on Council, and served as Treasurer from 2002-2004, as well as performing the taxing – but financially worthwhile - task of Gift Aid claims for several years. He is a tireless worker at our shows, assembling and dismantling aviaries, as well as supervising and assisting in the pay kiosks for much of the morning on show days. His encyclopaedic memory for Parrot Society history and psittaculture in general have proved invaluable on many occasions, and his practical and common-sense approach to Council meetings will be sorely missed. Retiring from his primary career in banking several years ago, he has had several more successful years with a complete change as a contract gardener. We wish him and his family and new grandchildren well in his full retirement.
I am pleased and honoured to have served, and continue to serve, as Chairman of The Parrot Society UK. It has been a challenging year once again, but so far, we have weathered the storm, and together I feel that we can continue to move forward next year. I am now feeling undoubted effects of the advancing years, but as long as I am able, I shall continue to be involved in The Parrot Society UK to the best of my ability.
Finally, it remains for me to wish all members and your families a happy and stress-free Christmas, as far as you can. Stay well and healthy, and we look forward to a brighter and better year in 2022. Thank you for your time, interest, hard work, and support!
Alan Jones, 5 December 2021
Chairman’s Page December 2021
Having got through a moderately successful National Exhibition at Stafford County Showground, following the waning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the relaxation of restrictions, we are now hoping that our final show of the year – the Help the Birdkeepers Show, on 5th December, will go ahead in the face of the current outbreak of Avian Influenza around the country! At the time of writing, there are no restrictions on such events in place, but we are keeping an eye on Defra rulings, and will notify any sudden changes on our website. Obviously, there are restrictions on the movement of poultry and waterfowl, and definitely any Galliforme or Anseriforme species will not be allowed at the show. These include: chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, guinea fowl, partridge, as well as ducks, geese and swans. Meanwhile, advance booking of tables and wristbands is now available via our office or the Shop on our website. One welcome addition will be the presence of a representative from Defra, who will be able to advise on the changed movement restrictions for birds between Europe and the UK following Brexit.
Once again, a reminder that our AGM will not now be held on November 21st as previously advertised, but will instead take place during the December show at 2 pm. Come along to the Parrot Society stand at that time, if you wish to participate.
As we head towards the end of this year, with its miserable succession of disastrous events and restrictions, our thoughts turn to what hopefully will be a better 2022. We are thinking about a return to all our usual shows and Days Out, with the general possibilities of bird enthusiasts being able to meet up more freely to talk and exchange birds. Our Council meetings at the end of this month and in January will discuss various things in this vein. Again, watch out for notification in the magazine or on the website.
As I write these words, I am enjoying a late holiday in the middle of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, having had my third Covid vaccination just last week. Moody and atmospheric, but very quiet! Enjoying walking with the dogs, and the company of brother and sister-in-law, log fires and comfortable accommodation. Great for re-charging the batteries and coming back refreshed to think again about those plans for the forthcoming months!
Alan K Jones Nov 14, 2021
Chairman’s Page November 2021
Sadly, I was unable to make our long-awaited National Exhibition at Stafford County Showground as I fell victim to the severe cough and cold that has been doing the rounds. Fortunately, I tested negative for Covid-19, but still felt rough for a few days, and did not want to pass on my germs to others. A big disappointment for me, but feedback on the show has been largely positive, with a good number of visitors attending, in spite of the fuel crisis. A handful of bad apples had over-crowded cages, but were dealt with by stewards and our Animal Health inspector Lynda. There were also the usual escapees flying up into the roof of the show halls. PLEASE use our handover aviaries when moving birds from one cage or carrier to another – there are several dotted around the halls. But otherwise, a successful event, and we are now preparing and looking forward to our final show of the year – the Help the Birdkeepers Show, on 5th December, at the same venue. Advance booking of tables and wristbands is now available via our office or the Shop on our website.
Once again, a reminder that our AGM on November 21st will not now be held at the Quality Hotel, Allesley, Coventry, as we were notified at short notice that the hotel has been taken over, and will be closed for refurbishment. It will instead be back at a previously used venue - The Old Palace Lodge Hotel, Church Street, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU5 4RT, from 2 pm. You are welcoming to join us in the afternoon – this is your Society – and the first few to sign up will be entitled to a free lunch in the hotel restaurant!
To use Her Majesty the Queen’s oft repeated quote, hopefully this annus horribilis of drought, gales and floods, Covid-19 and prolonged hospital waiting lists, shortages of fuel and other deliveries, stabbings and other attacks, loss of confidence in our police, and now the threat of reduced supplies for Christmas - is drawing to a close, and we can look forward to an improved year next year. Who knows, but I am eternally optimistic!
Those who keep and breed parrots will be settling down their birds at the end of the season, and looking forward to next year, with a final shuffle of stock, and perhaps some sales and exchanges lined up for the show in December. Why not tell us about your experiences with your collection? We are always looking out for interesting articles about different psittacine species for our monthly magazine, and what you may consider as simple, everyday information may be new and useful to other enthusiasts, and well worth sharing! The same applies to tales of your pet parrots, with all their individual quirks and characters. Either way, I do hope that you enjoy this issue of your magazine.
Alan K Jones Oct 18, 2021
Chairman’s Page October 2021
Just in the last few days of my morning dog walks, there has been a noticeable chill in the air, even though we have had some hot sunshine in the middle of the day. The footpaths are covered with fallen leaves and sweet chestnuts, the Autumn Equinox is upon us, and Strictly Come Dancing has started. Autumn has arrived, and Christmas and winter are just around the corner! Before all that, though, our long-awaited National Exhibition on Sunday 3rd October, at Stafford County Showground is nearly upon us, and we anxiously await our first major event in too long. I can’t pretend that this has been an easy ride, as active planning was delayed by waiting for Government decisions on lockdown and the opening up of public events. Then there was the possibility that covid vaccination passports would be required for entry – fortunately now not the case. However, some special precautions will need to be in place to reduce any covid risk, but hopefully these will be minimal and manageable, and will not detract from the anticipated success of the show. Understandably, some people are still worried about the risk, and will not attend, and some traders have experienced serious loss of income because of the pandemic, and will not be present. Nevertheless, our office team of Les, Lynda and Anne have worked tirelessly to plan the event and distribute wristbands and table bookings. Chris Smith will be the good hands in charge of the Exhibition side of things this year, and hopefully things will run smoothly there as well. Of course, on the weekend itself, we will have our army of security staff, Parrot Society officials, and other volunteers to set up beforehand, tidy up afterwards, and ensure smooth running of the event in between. See you there!
I will remind you that our AGM on November 21st will not now be held at the Quality Hotel, Allesley, Coventry, as we were notified at short notice that the hotel has been taken over, and will be closed for refurbishment. It will instead be back at a previously used venue - The Old Palace Lodge Hotel, Church Street, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU5 4RT, from 2 pm.
Finally, some news about the minutes of Council meetings. These are published after approval by trustees at the following meeting, and are available to be read by every member. Historically, these have been printed in the next available magazine, but when reproduced in full, they can run to four pages, thereby taking space away from more interesting articles. Therefore, we shall now print just a précis of the minutes in the magazine, with the full version available by email or post upon request to the office, or on-line in a new ‘Council Minutes’ box on the Members Only section of our website.
Alan K Jones Sept 20, 2021
Chairman’s Page September 2021
Arrangements for our long-awaited National Exhibition on Sunday 3rd October, at Stafford County Showground continue apace, with many bookings already made and enquiries coming in. Traders are booking space, and specialist clubs are booking for the Exhibition side. Bookings may be made via the office, or our website, going via the Shop - https://theparrotsocietyuk.org/site/index.php/shop/
Some special precautions will need to be in place to reduce any Covid risk, but hopefully these will be minimal and manageable, and will not detract from the anticipated success of the show.
Once again we hope to have attractive display aviaries, with various species set up by PSUK trustees and helpers. On this occasion, there will be no judged competition, just an exhibit to show people what can be done with a number of different species.
The National Exhibition will be followed by our AGM in November (21st). All nominations for trustees and officers to be elected should by now have been received in the Parrot Society office. The venue announced in last month’s magazine of the Quality Hotel, Allesley, Coventry, will not now be correct, as we were notified at short notice that the hotel has been taken over, and will be closed for refurbishment. We are looking out for an alternative venue at a central location, and this will be announced in the October magazine and on our website.
We have come through over eighteen months of dramatic lifestyle changes owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, and now faced with renewed turmoil in the Middle East, and also undeniable signs of global warming, who knows what the long-term future has for us all? Meanwhile, rest assured that your Council is working hard to sustain the Parrot Society UK during difficulty times, and we will do our very best to put on a successful National Exhibition at Stafford next month.
Alan K Jones Aug 16, 2021
Chairman’s Page August 2021
At long last it would appear that we will be able to go ahead with our major event of the year, The National Exhibition on Sunday 3rd October, at Stafford County Showground, as well as our Help the Birdkeepers Show on Sunday 5th December, at the same venue. Nothing is absolutely set in stone in these volatile times – look at what has happened repeatedly to people planning holidays abroad – but much discussion took place at our first live face-to-face Council meeting for sixteen months, about how we would manage and organise these events. I am pleased to say that bookings are now available for entry wristbands and sales tables – further details are given elsewhere in this magazine. Bookings may be made via the office, or our website, going via the Shop - PSUK Shop
Already interest is growing fast, both for the sale and show side, and the Exhibition from a variety of different breed societies. I am sure you will enjoy the unique atmosphere of this event, as well as the opportunity to meet up again with fellow-parrot enthusiasts. However, I am sure that as mature parrot people, we can be far better behaved than some English so-called football fans!
Once again, we apologise for the long delay on reaching a decision about our shows, but clearly, we had to be guided by Government decisions and regulations, and the ongoing unfolding of this prolonged, nightmare coronavirus saga. Let us hope that this is genuinely light at the end of a very long tunnel.
This is also the time of year that we start to prepare for the AGM in November. To that end, may I remind you that all nominations for trustees and officers to be elected at the AGM must be received in writing in the Parrot Society office by 31st August. We particularly need a new treasurer, if anyone has the interest and ability! Any potential suggested amendments to our Constitution would also need to be received in writing by this date, and possible changes will then be published in our September magazine for your scrutiny.
So now enjoy your birds, enjoy the summer, and look forward to a gradual return to normality – get booking!
Alan K Jones July 18, 2021
Chairman’s Page July 2021
I write this column on what was supposed to be ‘Freedom Day’, with the releasing of all Covid-related restrictions. In the event, it is not to be, with probably at least another month to go before such restrictions are eased. This in spite of the fact that a large percentage of vulnerable adults are now fully vaccinated, while hospital admissions and deaths due to Covid remain low. Thank goodness we did not attempt to go ahead with our July Summer Show. This month’s issue of the magazine normally would contain booking details and prices for our October National Exhibition. This time last year, I was writing to confirm that the 2020 Exhibition had been cancelled, but we are still as yet hopeful that both the National Exhibition in October and The December ‘Help the Birdkeepers’ show will go ahead. Our secretary Les Rance has more to say on the subject elsewhere in this magazine, but unfortunately, although hopeful, we still cannot give a definitive answer. At Stafford County Showground, two smaller events were scheduled for June, and showground staff are hopeful that by mid-July the social distancing restrictions will be removed and then their County Show on 25/26thAugust can take place. We have our first live face-to-face Council meeting on 4th July, so hopefully we will be able to make positive decisions then. The results will obviously be printed in next month’s magazine, but look out for earlier updates on our website or Facebook page.
Talking of the website: it is an ongoing and vexatious issue to many members who live in more distant or rural parts of the country, that the vagaries of our postal service mean that they receive their magazines some days later than the bulk of our UK subscribers. This puts them at a disadvantage if they are anxious to check out the adverts for new birds. A tiered postal rate, or staggered posting schedule, would be logistical and financial nightmares, and would inevitably lead to a substantial rise in annual subscription. Trustees have decided that the simplest practical solution will be to post the advertisements in the Members Only section of our website, two days after the mailing date, which is the day that most magazines arrive through your letterboxes. Whilst we realise that not all our members are computer-savvy, the majority now are, and this will be the most equitable way of reaching most of you in timely fashion. If you are not already signed up to the Members Only section, then follow the link from the Home Page of the website and register, then you will find a page within the Members Only entitled ‘Monthly Adverts’.
I can only apologise for the lack of information and decision about our shows in October and December, but we have to be guided by Government decisions and regulations, and the ongoing unfolding of this prolonged, nightmare coronavirus saga. We will do our best to keep you informed as quickly as possible.
Alan K Jones June 21, 2021
Chairman’s Page June 2021
I thought that last month’s (May) magazine had a good mixture of practical articles for all branches of parrot-keeping from pet parrots and children, through the diet of wild Military macaws, with considerable scientific support, to the breeding of ever-popular grass parakeets in captivity, and a single-species in-depth description of the Meyer’s parrot. Well done to all involved! I am quite sure that many of our members have built up a wealth of experience in keeping their chosen species of parrot – whether it be in a breeding collection or as a family pet. Why not share those experiences and write an article for this magazine? Other readers will enjoy reading it, and you will pass on some valuable tips and ideas, as well as having pride in seeing your name in print!
As Adam Mogg wrote in his article about the Rare & Normal Parakeet Special Interest Group, the breeding of these birds is very much subject to the vagaries of British weather. 2020 had a hot, dry spring, while this year saw a very dry March and April, followed now by a very wet, cold May. This affects not only the breeding or otherwise of our birds, but also the native birds and plants. Tree peonies in our garden are flowering a full month later than they did last year. On my morning woodland dog walk, the delicate perfume of bluebells has now been overwhelmed by the brash, poundland scent of cow parsley. Similarly, the native bird song is drowned out by the raucous cacophony of the dozens of feral ring-necked parakeets that nest in these trees. It is still a wonderful experience to see parrots flying free in England, though.
There are two questions uppermost in members’ minds when they approach our office or individual trustees for answers. The first is – will we be holding a show at Stafford County Showground in July or October? Regrettably, we have agreed that staging an event in July is too soon to be wise, with restrictions likely still to be in place, and logistics too complex. However, we are still hopeful that both the National Exhibition in October and The December ‘Help the Birdkeepers’ show will go ahead. Trial events are taking place at Stafford this month, as well as several national gatherings. Feedback from these will allow us to confirm the next step. This is all, of course, subject to what happens with the current concern over the highly contagious Indian variant of the Covid virus. It is undoubtedly a dynamic, fluid situation.
The second big issue is the difficulty of importing or exporting birds between the United Kingdom and the European Union since Brexit. Just like the fishing fraternity on both sides of the English Channel have found, the procedure is now much more complex, with more paperwork, certification, licensed premises, and probable quarantine all involved. Even the movement of a handful of pet birds is affected. This undoubtedly means buying, selling or exchanging birds with fellow breeders on the continent will be far more difficult than it has been in the past. Organisations like the PSUK, CASC, SUN are all involved in lobbying Defra in an attempt to facilitate improvements for hobbyist keepers of not only birds, but reptiles, amphibians and fish. It is an uphill battle, since there is a strongly-voiced lobby against the keeping of ‘exotic’ species in general, which has also affected major zoological collections.
Meanwhile, the effect will be to increase the value of UK-bred birds, and hopefully raise the quality of their care: people will always make more effort over something that hits their wallet!
Alan K Jones May 15, 2021
Chairman’s Page May 2021
As always, I look back at what I wrote this time last year, and, indeed, the year before that. In 2019 I had just come back from puffin-watching on Skomer Island; there was a veterinary conference to attend imminently as well as a Council meeting; and then two spring Members’ Days Out events to look forward to. None of those are yet possible still, except that we have a Council meeting scheduled. At the time of writing, we are not sure whether or not we will be able to get back to a live face-to-face gathering for the first time in a year, or whether we will need to stay with the virtual format for one more time.
In 2020, I was writing about an anticipated ‘quiet Easter’, but of course this year that weekend has already gone. We have watched the funeral of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, with that event influenced as much as anybody’s life has been by the coronavirus pandemic. There is no doubt that life as we once knew it will not be the same again for a very long time yet. However, on the plus side, by the time you read this magazine, I shall have had my second Covid vaccination, and renovations to the garden in our new home are taking place successfully!
So, what of the future? We are in ongoing discussions with Stafford County Showground about the possibility of re-instating our shows. Some trial events are taking place there just now, with recommendations and results expected imminently. It is likely that social distancing and mask-wearing will still be requirements at such gatherings, but we are hopeful that we will be able to stage some sort of event for October. The December ‘Help the Birdkeepers’ show should equally be a strong possibility. However, these comments are not gospel – a lot will depend still on our discussions at the next Council meeting, the outcome from SCSG, and the national situation with regard to coronavirus restrictions.
We are still involved in various discussion groups with Defra, SUN, CASC, etc., over longer-term animal welfare and husbandry issues (with particular reference to parrots), as well as the added complications over bird-movements brought about by our departure from the European Union.
Then there are discussions to be had about a couple of UK-based parrot conservation projects that have requested funding, as well the routine search for articles for the monthly magazine, in addition to the on-line Bird-scene. Rest assured that, even though you may not be seeing us in person (some may consider that an advantage!), your trustees and officers are still working hard to keep the Parrot Society going, and supporting parrots and their welfare wherever we can.
Stay well, and – as ever - enjoy your birds.
Alan K Jones April 18, 2021
Chairman’s Page April 2021
Well, we are still not sure what the situation is with regard to coronavirus – at the time of writing, half of the UK adult population has been vaccinated, and infection and death rates are falling fast. But now there is the worry of an interruption in the supply of vaccines, if EU threats go ahead! Nevertheless, we still have to plan ahead, in the hope that shows and events will take place later this year. Watch this space!
Our recent Council meeting proceeded successfully, once again conducted on-line via email. The format and arrangements for potential shows later in the year were discussed, as well as ideas for conservation projects in the UK. These clearly will depend again upon the Covid situation, but the situation is being monitored closely. Hopefully we will be able to carry out our next meeting in May in a live, face-to-face manner. It will be good to have those direct discussions again.
On a brighter note, spring is definitely on its way. Plants are budding and sprouting. In the local Lesnes Abbey Woods where I now live, there are carpets of wild daffodils and wood anemones to brighten the dog walk. Daffodils are undoubtedly my favourite flower. In a month or so, the yellow and white will be replaced by a mass of native bluebells. The ubiquitous feral ring-necked parakeets are loudly proclaiming their presence in the trees above, while green and great-spotted woodpeckers may be heard – the distinctive laughing call of the former, and the staccato drumming of the latter. We have warm spring sunshine today, and in the garden as I write, a robin is singing loudly, and a pair of blue tits is inspecting the nest box on the summer house. Favourite plants transported from the old home seem to be settling in comfortably, and enjoying the south-facing garden - as am I and the dogs!
I hope that all your birds are doing just as well in these difficult times – whether they are pet indoor parrots or breeding aviary birds, they should now all be in peak condition at this time of year. Don’t forget to tell us about your experiences with your birds – even if you are not the world’s best writer, we are happy to edit your thoughts so that they can be shared with others, in our magazine or on the website. Hopefully I shall soon be able to get back to reviewing the site and adding some fresh articles to it, or revamping some good oldies from our archives. With clocks going forward this weekend, we have lighter evenings to look forward to - spring and summer are coming!
Stay well, and enjoy your parrots.
Alan K Jones March 23, 2021