Sunday, 20 February 2011

Society show last week

 Last weekend the cage bird society I belong to, Severn Counties Foreign and British Bird Society, held its annual members Show. The club has two shows a year, with the autumn one open to non-members which results in a higher number of entries from hobbyists from all over, especially the west of England and Wales. Unfortunately, owing to the sad loss of a couple of enthusiastic exhibitors this year, the number of entries was down, but there was still an impressive range of species kept and bred by club members on show.


Severn Counties was founded in 1972 and has for many years had a stand down at the Bath & West show each year. The club has a monthly meeting , usually a slide show and talk, and also does charitable events and helps at the annual Winterbourne carnival over the May Day weekend. There are also various club outings to various walks, zoos etc.

I joined the club a few years ago and am currently the librarian – the club has a quite impressive collection of literature on various natural history topics, though the main function of the library is to act as a reference source for knowledge about various species.

Severn Counties is actually a fairly recently founded club – some of the oldest in the UK were founded as part of the Victorian explosion of leisure-centred clubs and societies. The oldest tended to focus on the breeding of various varieties of canaries, with later budgerigars, zebra finches, and other species having dedicated nationwide societies being set up.

The history of the various species now kept is a complicated one, involving among other things exploitation of wildlife, the process of domestication, social history, and attempts at genetic engineering by both amateur hobbyists and professional scientists. It is far too complicated to go into in a single post, but later in the year I hope to blog about some of this.


In the meantime, here are some species kept, bred, and shown by club members - how many species can you identify?

Next week, some new arrivals at Bristol.





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