Our "Mayor of the Avenue" award is presented to a member who exhibits the qualities that distinguish them to be an upstanding credit to the Avenue, a loving, informed, conscientious and caring bird parront and an all around good neighbor.
I am happy to announce that Linden is March's Mayor of the Month.
I enjoyed reading your interview, and am sure that everyone else will as well!
1. What kind of birds do you have (age, species and names )?
I have 6 budgies, all paired up and living together as a flock. These were all rescues so I don't actually have hatch dates, but I do know their Gotcha dates (all were juveniles when they came home).
Angel (female) - November 30th 2019
Silva (male) - January 25th 2020
Goldie (male) - February 7th 2020
Pepper (female) - April 15th 2020
Chalkie (male) - November 17th 2020
Dusty (female) - December 11th 2020
2. What got you interested in birds?
I can remember budgies being in my family right through my childhood. The earliest memory I was 5 and I'd squeal with joy when my mum's pair (Jack & Jill) would land on my head. During my teen years my father got interested in breeding, and naturally I'd help him. When my career started I kinda lost interest, my head was that busy I never had time to think about it.
Now, I'm semi-retired and while considering a cockatoo I came to realise I don't have the space and my thoughts went to budgies again. But not just any budgies, I wanted to help the unfortunate so I bought a couple of runts at a local pet shop. One lasted 4 years but the other less than half that. At least I gave them as good a life as I could.
I'm going to skip some history, but I worked alongside the police, rspca and a vet and started my journey into housing birds that we rescued, mainly from hoarding situations. That was hard. We lost so many birds but we know we gave them a better life. Birds have left me to go to nursing homes, my mother and my sister.
But now I have my own flock. We're not at capacity but we are a flock, a forever flock. These will be my last budgies.
3. What have your birds brought to your life?
What haven't they brought to my life?
I have a reason to get up in the morning, someone to say 'good morning' to me, someone to welcome me home from work. I have a reason to do the housework (trust me, if it wasn't for my flock......). At the end of the day they're keeping me from becoming bitter, sad and lonely. And they have so much to give, so much to teach.
4. What have you learned from sharing your life with your birds?
If I had to pick just one thing it'd be that budgies are just so empathic. They will reflect everything they see in me. No matter how grumpy or stressed I am when I enter the room forcing myself to lose all that and be happy actually does make me feel a whole lot better.
5. What's one birdie memory that will stay with you forever?
That would have to be Buddy, a GCC who spent some time with me. From the moment she came home with me she was just so great. One hour after getting home I let her out of the cage and she came straight to me, kissed my cheek and snuggled under my chin for a nap. I'd honestly never experienced anything like that before - she showed full trust straight off the bat, and we never had a bad day together.
6. Where is your birds main living area?
We share the lounge. For a long time they've stayed to their own area, only recently coming out of that area to visit me. Co-habiting with budgies just seems the easiest way to live with them.
7. Did you change things in your home to accommodate your birds and if so what kinds of things did you change?
I had to be regularly assessed for suitability when I started fostering. The main things I had to concentrate on were food storage, electrical cables, areas where they could get trapped and possible nest sites. It was a great opportunity to go through all my stuff and get rid of the clutter I didn't need. When I registered for adopting I was further assessed by my vet. I didn't have to do much other than get a huge cage so my vet could set a limit on numbers. I should be reassessed yearly now but the vet comes more often than that and just does it by eye.
8. Are you involved in any kind of bird related group or activities?
The only group I'm a member of is Avian Avenue. I've looked at other sites and forums and even some Facebook groups. It wasn't until Google pointed me here that I realised this was the only place I needed or wanted to stay.
9. What is the one luxury item you would love to have for your bird(s)?
I would love to have a larger home with a private garden. That would give me the opportunity to either build them an outdoor aviary for the warmer months, or a spare bedroom just for them. Or both.
10. Is there any bird that you dream of owning and if so why?
I've had to let go of my dream bird. I don't have the guaranteed time left to share the full life of a cockatoo, nor the space to give one a good life.
11. Describe a typical day with you at home with your birds.
My lights are on timers so the day starts with the dawn chorus (reveille). I'll make a coffee then prep their salad for breakfast. I'll remove all feeders and water for cleaning and fresh water but I'll leave the seed for an hour so they don't kick off. About 30 minutes after I get up I let them out, they do laps while I put the fresh pellets and water in and remove the seed. Salad served on top of the cage then silence while they eat and I get dressed. I'll put their radio on, make my second coffee then join them in the lounge. I'll put the TV on with the headphones to catch the news bulletin, and have a quick scan of AA to see if I'm needed.
Chop gets served around 11am and I'll stand amongst the branches sharing a little with them, watching them and just being in the flock. Leftover chop gets removed at 12 and the water refreshed, then it's just pellets until 3pm. Fresh salad served at 3 for 2hrs then removed. Again it's just pellets and maybe a few fresh herbs or dandelion, a piece of apple (Royal Gala preferred) and a little crushed nut (usually walnut, sometimes with almond flakes).
Seed goes back in the cage along with fresh water around 6:30 followed closely by the flock. Lights out at 7:30.
All this time they are also playing, bickering, visiting me and bathing. It's an easy day for all of us.
12. What have you learned about owning birds that you would like to share?
I never set out to train or tame my flock. Just being among them as an equal, as a flock member, can give you the opportunity to see their natural behaviours and their reasoning. It's working for all of us.
It's all about keeping them happy. Angel is just as important as Chalkie, and is just as important as me.
13. If you knew then what you know now about birds, what would you do differently?
Honestly? The one thing I would change is my home. I would have chosen a much larger place than the bachelor pad I have now. I'd give them a dedicated room twice the size of our current lounge and/or an aviary.
14. What other hobbies do you have?
Seriously? Who has time for other hobbies?
No, I've actually been picking up a few of my old hobbies. I used to be a keen gardener but I'm limited to the kitchen windowsill now. My current thing is growing chillis. I'm also getting involved with a bike project where we'll be stripping old bikes for spares as well as teaching children how to build and repair their own bike. I'm qualified to teach and to assess for qualifications so you never know, that may become my next business.
15. Anything else you would like to share?
I'm not seen to post much about problems with my flock but that doesn't mean we don't have any problems. I'll just use the search function on the forums for any question I may have and up until now 100% of the answers were already here. AA is a wonderful resource and it's here to be used so use it, but most of all enjoy your birds.