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A bird's eye view at show

SIMON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 23/05/2012
budgie
SIMON SMITH
REWARDING HOBBY: Ray Webber with one of his 22 budgies. He encourages young families to give bird-keeping a go.

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A vast variety of birds will be on display at the Auckland Metro Bird Club's 103rd annual show this weekend.

Club president Dave Nicholson says there will be more than 500 birds of every colour on display at Ormiston Senior College, including budgies, canaries, parrots, parakeets and finches.

"Most of them will be budgies, just brilliant colours, all colours of the rainbow including some that would not have been seen in Auckland before – they are called Texas clearbodies."

The next largest section will be canaries, and Mr Nicholson likes the German roller canary, which is the bird that miners used to warn of gas.

"Most birds are judged on such things as feather quality, shape, their stance, but the roller canary is unique – it's the only bird that is judged on its song.

"It could have one eye, one leg and be bald and it wouldn't matter as long as it sung."

Botany Downs bird-keeper Ray Webber has 22 budgies, five zebra finches and three quails in an aviary next to his deck.

"My preference is a rainbow effect – you know, as many colours as you can get."

Mr Webber says he has only had his aviary for three years after having had a few budgies as a child.

"But I've always liked birds. If ever I go to a zoo or a strange town I'll see if they've got an aviary somewhere."

He encourages young families to try an avian pet, as it is rewarding, cheap and low risk.

"It's not an end-of-the-world thing where you got a cat or a kitten or a puppy that's grown up and the kids are sick of it. With birds you can give them away to someone else."

Mr Nicholson says bird keeping is often seen as an old man's hobby but the club is trying to attract young blood.

He encourages the local community to support the show.

"It's different entertainment, and of course birds don't bite you or chase the postie."

This year's show is dedicated to the late vice-president of the club, Bill Bates, who died earlier this month at the age of 53.

The show is at Ormiston Senior College this weekend from noon to 5pm on Saturday, and 9am to 1pm on Sunday.

Entry is $5 for adults, $2 for children and $12 for a family.

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- Eastern Courier

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