Folk lore has it that a mans best friend is a dog. I reckon a man’s best friend is an artist. I sent Russell Kingston some diagrams that looked more like Bradshaw aboriginal rock paintings or a complex modern art design than they did birds. I think he just read the writing and then produced his own concept of faults. Whatever, he has captured exactly what I wanted to portray – thanks Russ.
I don’t think I can add any more content than what the diagrams portray, however, let me stress, few birds in the wild look like show birds.
Wild Gouldians vary tremendously; I remember showing David Myers his first Gouldian. It was a washed out female at the end of a stressful breeding season, which had very little colour and very tatty feathers. He did not believe that it was a Gouldian to begin with until I told him to look at the shape.
Fair does, that one was a bit extreme, but there is large variance both within a population and also variation across regions.The birds around Timber Creek are less colourful on average than those around Wyndham. I once even saw a blue Gouldian in the wild!
When developing a show standard of any kind therefore, it is important to appreciate that what we are doing is producing something artificial which does not exist as standard in the wild.
I personally would prefer if we created standards which were ‘idealised’ wild birds, or in other words, if we took what we perceive as the best features of a range of individual birds and roll them into one standard bird, I would be happy with that.
The Gouldian is such a pretty bird it would be a shame if we produced a bull dog from a wolf. I personally dislike the show budgie, but absolutely love the wild ‘bush budgie’. They are cute, real characters and are naturally confiding, I just love sitting up close in the bush watching their antics.
In some ways I feel the same about mutations. I am not against them, I can well understand the challenges of breeding mutations and many years ago, kept some myself. However, the challenge Iforesee is making sure we maintain good numbers of normal Gouldians which are not tainted with any kind of mutation. There are some species of birds in aviculture where it is almost impossible to get hold of pure wild type normals.
Wouldn’t it be a shame if this happened to one of the worlds prettiest birds?