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Discovering the Hobby II
“Ms. Inspiration”

by Greer Sucke

I think our birds do better at shows when they have a good time getting there. Budgies that chirp away in the car cage or bill and coo with a friend in the airplane carrier seem to be the ones that go home with a box of ribbons and plaques.

Forget the individuals that stand like little bird statues, clutching the perch for dear life and keck-kecking when a big opaline comes too near.

I found out about the importance of carry cage compatability by accident. Here is that, plus some tips about traveling with birds and a budgie love story for those who like instruction mixed with romance!

Because our aviary is small, we only have two to four birds in good condition for any given show. During our first years as novices, we decided to attend the BRA show in CA. John had business meeflngs out there, and whenever we saw Bob Seane, he liked to talk about his good expenence at BRA the year before.

We had three opalines in good condition and, as I watched them in the flight, I noticed that each had a buddy, or a mate. The friends were also in reasonably good condition, so why not bring them along.

We rigged an underseat airline carrier with perches and festooned it with millet. The six birds were crowded, but everyone had a pal to sit next to or talk to. The only complaints I heard during the trip were when the plane hit a bump - bad flying, according to our winged experts!

We arrived at the hotel late Friday evening. The carry cage went right under the desk in our room for the night and not a peep out of anyone.

The next day, the three opalines did better than any first year exhibitor could have expected: 3rd, 4th, and 9th in novice. We even won $100 at the raffle table. It was a really good day!

Last year, as intermediates, the buddy system came into play again. We had and still do have a strong light green normal cock. We nicknamed him ‘Mr. Face’, or simply ‘Face’ for the reason that he is not bad news to the eyes. Face had everything you could want in good looks except size. If you could take him to a xerox machine and blow home up 33 1/3%, Langell would have something to worry about!

Face was the worst showman in the world, a real wacko behind bars. Judges would like him for the millisecond he perched, then it was bonkers budgie gone floor city.

Face had a hen friend, a hefty flecky green opaline. Offspring with his style and her power would be what breeding for exhibition would be all about.

The pair was in Love. OK, Bonded, if anthropomorphisms make you nuts!

The hen was no show bird, but we decided to show her when we showed Face. All the way from Norwalk to Western Mass, Face sang to his sweetie sitting next to him. Like most hens, she didn’t seem impressed, but she didn’t seem unimpressed either!

During judging, Face was more on the perch than ever before. He placed third in division and was awarded a plaque. The hen was judged best hen in division and got an even bigger plaque! John thought we should name her ‘Ms. Inspiration’. Ms Inspiration helped Face again at our own Tri-State show, when he was second in division.

After show season, Face and Ms. Inspiration were set up for breeding. The first round produced two chicks. While sitting on the eggs for round two, Ms. Inspiration became ill. On the last day of the year, I found her out of the nest box, Huddled in the corner of the breeding cage. Face was cuddled next to her. Out of deference to those who do not believe animals have emotions, or, if they do, the emotions have nothing of the range or depth of human feelings, I will not call Face’s action an expression of love.

Ms. Inspiration died two days later at South Wilton Veterinary Hospital.

Inspiration, of course, would be a wonderful thing to give our birds before or during a show if we were not so clueless about it. The best we can offer is a few amenities on the road. Millet spray tied to the bird cage bars would be good. In general, what Ron Rehban says works: Place seed in containers at perch level. Birds in an unfamiliar cage, in unfamiliar surroundings won’t jump to the floor to eat.

For a long car ride, or a night in a hotel, you may want to to bring along a tape of aviary chatter. This seems to get the birds out of statue mode.

After a show, the same rules apply, with the addition of electrolytes in the water, as recommended by the Lionettis.

Good luck, good transit during the show season. May you and your birds find good competition, good fellowship, and inspiration.

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