Birdkeepers often discuss the state of our hobby, but not all do anything to improve things.
Thankfully our traditions often die hard, but that is only because of the few dedicated fancier’s who continually put themselves out for the benefit of others. It is time we ALL stood up to be counted and played our part in the hobby.
Lend a hand
Very few of us cannot lend a hand in some way or another. We can all attend our local club meetings at the very least. Birdkeeping is as much about friendship as it is about birds, so helping out the local birdkeeping community is the right way to go, especially if you are an experienced fancier. How else are newcomers into birdkeeping expected to learn the finer points, than by listening to the wisdom of experienced breeders and exhibitors?
Many people keep pet birds or have garden aviaries, and never involve themselves in the local cage birds society. Often that is because we operate in isolation, so talking about our birds with others, and publicising our activities is certainly the way forward – and there is no better place to start, than right on our own doorsteps! You never know – you may find a future champion, given the right encouragement.
There are many different roles within cage bird societies, which must always be shared out between all members, if the club is to succeed. Clubs which pile all the workload onto one or two individuals will always fail in the long run – ever heard about the straw breaking the camel’s back? Not everyone is cut out to be a club secretary, treasurer or show manager, but most can carry and erect staging, act as a steward, or spend time on door or raffle duties! Not everyone can be expected to deliver a lecture lasting a couple of hours at a club meeting, but most can bring along a few birds and talk about them for a few minutes. And nearly everyone can make a pot of tea!
Why is it that some members will pick holes in club activities, but will never volunteer to take responsibility for anything themselves? Put up or shut up is a great maxim. If you have a new idea, you should always be prepared to run with it yourself – you may even enjoy it!
Openness, not secrecy
Moving on to breeding activities, I believe we are far more open nowadays than the fancy was in the past, which is helping dedicated breeders to successfully produce top quality stock each year. Newcomers need to be accepted into our circle at every opportunity, and we can all play our part in this, to the benefit of birdkeeping generally. Never ignore a newcomer – go up and introduce yourself if you see a strange face at a club meeting or exhibition – because if ignored, we may have lost the opportunity of encouraging a new birdkeeper into our midst.
Specialisation itself is not killing our hobby – but too many specialised societies are! EVERY birdkeeper has a duty to support our hobby at grass roots levels as well as at the top, because that is the only way our hobby will thrive. Too many fanciers simply moan and groan, exhibit only on the specialist show scene, and do nothing to promote newcomers into the hobby of birdkeeping. By so doing, they are neglecting their duties and ultimately damaging the hobby which has made them household names. Don’t become one of them – play your part to the full!