Tag: redpolls

BKA bird sale

When we found out that the BKA (Bird Keepers Association) were having a bird sale on February 14th, we knew our Valentines Day plans were made. Luckily we both enjoy a good bird sale or this could have been awkward!

bka1
I wore my owl finch necklace to the show
bka2
It’s all in the details!

On the day we left at around 9.30. The sale was to start an hour later but, knowing that these things can be busy (and hard to find) we wanted to get there early.

This sale was held at a much larger venue than the last; The Mill Hall, Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh, Essex – so we were quite excited at the prospect of what we might find. We had decided between us that we really wanted a pair of goldfinches but would settle for a cock goldfinch and hen canary if needs be. (So we could still breed them.) We also decided on a budget.

Getting there was easy enough, and the bird sale itself was sign-posted well. When we got there a few people were milling around reception, also similarly eager to find a bargain – but it wasn’t what you’d call busy so after buying our wristbands, we decided to head to the cafe for hot chocolate and orange juice. Rookie mistake. By the time we’d actually got our drinks, a huge queue had formed through the reception and out of the door! We hurriedly joined it to shiver outside in the cold and chat to other attendees about birds (because, well, that’s what bird people do.)

When we finally entered it was manic. Previous to this sale we had attended two others and both had been really busy but this was something else. Everyone came prepared with boxes and cages and it seemed like everyone had something in mind. It was hard to get down each aisle because of how bustling it was but, on display were some beautiful birds.

bka15

One thing I did notice about this event, was a slight lack of British birds. Most seemed to be foreign and there was a great selection of parrot finches, gouldians, etc etc as well as zebra finches, budgies and even some quail. We came across just two goldfinches in the whole place – and before we could buy them, they were snapped up for a bargainous £65 each by someone else! This was a shame for us, however we still had a lot of fun peeking in at all of the other birds and becoming gooey-eyed at the tiny timor zebra finch.

One highlight of the event was a stall set up by a company called Owls R Us who have static bird displays. I, like the rest of the modern world, am obsessed with owls and it was nice to see so many of them perched there. I paid a small donation and even got to hold a gorgeous tawny owl which was very exciting for me! Prior to this I’d held and flown a  few different owls/birds of prey but never a tawny. It had such a sweet little face and feathers as soft as a cloud, holding a beautiful bird is always a wonderful experience.

bka3

bka7

bka8

bka4

bka9

bka11

bka6

bka5

bka10

bka12
Holding a tawny owl was a real highlight for me.

bka13

We didn’t stay for long after that. We picked up some british bird seed from the Essex bird centre stall (an essential if you find yourself at a BKA event.) And then headed off. It was a little too busy to just stand around.

bka14

Instead we decided to head out to some specialist shops in search of our wanted goldfinches. After a short search (and discovering beautiful European bullfinches) we did eventually come across two that had very natural colours. I know this is best for the bird as it means it hasn’t been fed dye, but to me they weren’t the most beautiful. These birds were also quite skittish which is something we’ve heard before.

After some consideration we decided to go for two redpolls instead! We already have redpolls and they are such lovely birds, so it was nice to get some more and extend the family. I really hope to breed these in the summer. We have named them Buttercup (hen) and Parsley (cock.) They are such friendly and interesting characters and Muffin and Chestnut our other redpolls are obsessed with them.

bka17
Not the best picture but our new redpolls are beautiful.

bka16

We will be looking out for the next BKA show – but hopefully we can show some restraint as I don’t know how many more birds we can house! I don’t think I will be looking for goldfinches in the future because I think they may be difficult to look after. Perhaps this is something to consider again when we have an outdoor aviary.

 

In the bird room

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in every post ever, we moved recently. Our new flat has two bedrooms which was a major pull for us. Being in a steady loving relationship we felt that two rooms would be appropriate. One for us and one for the babies. And when I say babies, what I actually mean is the birds. All of the birds.

So at this point we have about 20 finches (a whole charm!) They recently moved in to the bird room and although they still remain caged, it’s a lot more spacious and they can be let out to fly around without the fear of them smacking in to anything or falling behind cabinets. They are rather small birds and this can be a problem. The bird room is great though, and currently houses a very large aviary- type flight cage and three other large cages. I often get asked if the birds all have their own names. Of course they do. With the exception of the six chicks we recently hatched (and can’t bear to part with) every bird is named.

And here they are – a kinda whose who of the bird room.

This is Pepper. She is a hen zebra finch and one of the first finches I ever owned. She is the friendliest of the bunch and very inquisitive.

DSC_0529.jpg

This is Biscuit who is also a hen. We got Biscuit and Pepper together at the same time and believe they are probably sisters. Both Biscuit and Pepper recently had chicks (three each.)

DSC_0530.jpg

This is Freckles a cock zebra finch. He is paired with Pepper and they had three chicks together (all hens.) Freckles was an amazing dad doing almost all of the feeding.

DSC_0528.jpg

This is Cheeks, a cock zebra finch. Here he is seen with the bird he is paired with – Biscuit. Together they had three chicks two of which were hens and one cock.

DSC_0573.jpg

These are our penguin zebra finches. At the front is Pumpkin (a cock) next to him is Mabel (a hen) – Biscuit is pictured once again. Pumpkin is very sweet and likes cuddling up to the other birds. Mabel is a bit tougher and likes to sing loudly and defiantly.

DSC_0574.jpg

And now on to the chicks. I don’t think I’ve captured them all but we have five hens and one cock. At the moment they are going through that cute stage where they are growing feathers in. Below is our little boy – note his adorable patchy little cheeks.

birdroom1.jpgDSC_0522.jpgDSC_0523.jpg

All of the above live in the largest aviary although should be separated soon when we find another large cage to house the chicks who will soon be troublesome adults.

In this photo you can see Sweetpea a hen zebra finch. Behind (the brown and white) is Bramble who is a bengalese finch and Button who is a cock bengalese finch. These guys are always singing.

DSC_0540.jpg

This is Raisin who is a black-cheeked cock zebra finch. He lives with Button, Bramble and Sweetpea. He used to live in the larger aviary but he was a terrible bully. He’s pretty cute though.

DSC_0542.jpg

The third cage houses our owl finches and orange cheeked waxbills. These are tiny birds and passive so they live happily together without squabble. The zebra finches can be prone to fighting and being mean to each other but these have never had any problems.

Below is Clementine and Wotsit – our orange cheeks, and our cock owl finch Pipkin.

DSC_0473.jpgDSC_0555.jpgDSC_0561.jpg

Pickle, Pipkin, Clementine and Wotsit. I will come clean here and tell you that I can’t identify which orange cheek is which as they are virtually the same to look at. Nevermind- they are both very skittish and sweet!

DSC_0569.jpg

And finally our fourth cage houses our redpolls. Unlike the other finches these are not foreign. These are actually the only British finches we own (although I’d love to own more so watch this space!)

Below is our cock Muffin – he loves destroying seed bells and has a lot of character.

DSC_0548.jpg

And this is our hen Chestnut. She has very beautiful markings. I particularly like the yellow accents around her face, when she is annoyed with something or wants the zebra finches to stop squawking she makes a very angry sound that is not too dissimilar to a telephone ringing.

Redpolls are wild birds and in the UK you can only sell them if they have been ringed. Ours both bear ring bands and were purchased at a bird fair in Brightlingsea.

DSC_0552.jpg

And thus concludes the tour of the bird room (for now!) I next want to purchase some quails but we’ll see. Bird seed and upkeep is quite costly when you have 20 beaks to feed!

I think birds are wonderful to watch and very rewarding to keep. Do you own any special birds?