Encouraging the breeding of every parrot in New Zealand whether in the wild or captivity

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On Saturday 24th September 2016 we had yet another fantastic pop-up workshop. This time it was in the Waikato as members have requested locations other than Auckland and was on Avian Husbandry, so fairly general.

The first speaker was the lovely Angela Savage all the way from Melbourne. Her and her partner Paul have developed Exotica Aviaries over the past 15 years and have recently begun to specialise in eclectus and Amazon parrots. She guided the audience through many of the tricks and techniques they have learned to improve the health and increase the fertility of their flock. Her advice on the feeding and general care of the Exotica birds was invaluable to all those of us trying to emulate their success. Attention to detail and love of the job was clearly a key to achieving their flourishing, happy birds.

After a lovely shared lunch (thank you to all the people who brought a plate!), Angela continued to give us more insights into the complexities of running a large and productive aviary. Her talk was absolutely fascinating and very informative and we would like to thank her for taking the time to come and share her knowledge with us. It was hugely appreciated!

Our next speaker was someone familiar to many of us, Hayden van Hooff. Hayden spoke to us about his own history in bird and animal training and his work at Staglands Wildlife Reserve in Upper Hutt.

A thoroughly amusing and enjoyable jaunt through his life from small, annoying child buying lots of birds and driving his family nuts to larger and slightly less annoying adult still doing much the same. We were guided through the days of cat training and sheep training for various adverts and films and on to the triumph of rook recall from 200 metres. His work at Staglands is now his passion and that really came through in his talk, particularly in relation to the breeding and keeping of NZ native birds and allowing the public to actually get close to these birds. Staglands is a 'must see' if you are living in or visiting the Wellington region. Here is a link to their website: http://www.staglands.co.nz

Following a yummy afternoon tea (thanks again to who contributed food and the ladies who managed the kitchen duties so well!) we had the joy of hearing from Mark Robinson. Mark is another lovely home-grown fella and is a wonderful advocate for 'Free Flight' training for birds. He had brought his awesome pair of macaws. Ace is a blue and gold who has been free flying for a couple of years now and Quin is a greenwing who is a baby and is just learning the ropes. Mark's talk was fascinating and ranged over how he initially taught Ace to fly free – highly amusing anecdotes for a talk but must have required several changes of underwear at the time! – to helping others to free fly their birds and starting off Quin. All the time he was talking Mark had Ace and Quin flying to him from their travel cages and was returning them following their reward (which should ideally be eaten back on their cage). Fabulous to see them flying and interacting with Mark and each other.

Thank you so much to all our speakers. Your knowledge, humour and patience was amazing and we were all very glad to hear your stories and experiences. You are all stars!!
We finished with the usual raffle and auction and a great time was had by all! To all who came, it was wonderful to see you and thank you for your support. To those who missed out, we were sorry not to see you. Make sure to put the next one in your diary early. These workshops just get better and better and are truly not to be missed.

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