Gerald Binks

Gerald BinksGerald Binks began breeding budgerigars when he was 12 years old and is now arguably the most knowledgeable budgerigar fancier in the world.

He has bred his fair share of Best in Show birds, judged in no less than 20 countries, founded the World Budgerigar Association, and has published two of the three classic books on the hobby.

His stud in the UK attracts fanciers from near and far and is always high on the list for those wishing to purchase BA23 quality budgerigars.

Quicklinks: Biography , Publications , Judging & Lecturing , World Shows , The Aviary at Tanglewood , Colours Kept , BA23 Budgerigars , Aviary Visits , Purchasing , Importing

  • Biographical Introduction by Fred Sherman, George, South Africa

  • Tanglewood aviary 2008

    Gerald Binks has been breeding Budgerigars for the past 70 years having started when he was 12 years old. Whilst there is no doubt that there are other fanciers who have achieved this, or even bettered it, I seriously doubt that anybody can match the intensity and devotion that he has applied to his chosen hobby for such a sustained period of time.

    Today, Gerald is arguably the most knowledgeable Budgerigar fancier in the World and the fancy is indeed indebted to him for sharing with them his experiences gathered during those years. Perhaps it was the years he spent heading up the administration of the British Petroleum Exploration and Production Department that fine tuned his inquisitive mind and hunger for knowledge in all matters relating to Budgerigars.

    Gerald and his wife Joyce have lived in Virginia Water, in England, since 1968. Here he established a well-designed bird room charmingly set in the garden. The stud is large by average standards and has produced more than a fair share of winners, including Best in Show at the Budgerigar World Championship Show and the Best Breeder at the prestigious Budgerigar Society World Championship on two occasions.

    For most successful Budgerigar fanciers, becoming a judge is a natural progression and Gerald qualified as a judge when very young and has since judged in no less than twenty different countries. The knowledge gained during these judging assignments has proven most useful in covering the international aspects of his books.

    During the early 1980s it became apparent that the fancy press was not catering adequately to the needs of budgerigar fanciers throughout the world. Recognising this, Gerald launched a monthly magazine entitled “Budgerigar World” during 1982. The magazine, despite early teething problems was a huge success adorned with superb pictures, never before featured in colour, of award winning budgerigars. At last fanciers throughout the world were able to see in glorious colour, what quality birds were being produced internationally on a regular basis. The world had suddenly become a smaller place for the budgerigar fraternity. Budgerigar World magazine is still being produced on a monthly basis and now has readers in thirty-four countries. Gerald relinquished the editorship after an eight year spell. However he is still a contributor and shareholder.

    As a result of the magazine’s success and persuasion both domestically and internationally, he started the World Budgerigar Association. This created an uproar in the establishment and never quite achieved its objectives. No doubt this was because of the fact that the thinking was way ahead of its time. Looking at that original manifesto produced in 1985, it is clear that the aims and objectives set out in the document would serve The World Budgerigar Organisation admirably. Between the launch of the magazine and the World Association, Gerald was instrumental in staging three Budgerigar World Championship shows between 1983 and 1985. These shows set new standards of quality and presentation for the fancy and the concept has since been adopted by most major shows in the world.

    Tanglewood garden aviary 2008 “The Challenge” is without doubt the most comprehensive and detailed book ever written about the modern exhibition budgerigar and should appeal to all fanciers from the raw beginner to the seasoned champion. One would be hard pressed to find a subject relating to our great hobby that is not covered in the most detailed and thorough manner.

    The 49 chapters are interspersed with magnificent colour photographs, mostly taken by the author, showing some of the world’s top birds. Updated in late 2006, the fancy now regard “The Challenge” as the “Bible” for this specialist subject.

    Prior to “The Challenge”, there were two classic books on the subject of the Exhibition Budgerigar, the first published in 1936 and entitled “The Cult of the Budgerigar” by the late Bill Watmough and the other “Best in Show” by the author and published in 1974. I predict that “The Challenge” will be the standard bearer for the next sixty years.

    Fred Sherman
    George, South Africa

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  • Publications:  Best In Show – Budgerigar World Magazine – The Challenge

  • The Challenge - second edition, front cover

    I have written two books in my budgerigar career.

    In 1974 I wrote “Best In Show” which sold many thousands over a number of years. Published by Ebury Press and Pelham Books, it was unfortunate that much information was dropped to have a cover price which suited the publishers. For this reason I decided to self publish a new book which was complete in every way.

    It is called “The Challenge – Breeding Championship Budgerigars” and published by my company and printed in Madrid. This large volume with it’s full colour and super presentation was launched at the Budgerigar Society World Championship in November 1999, when 437 copies were sold in 8 hours.

    Since then some 3000 copies were in circulation by 2002. In October 2006, an enlarged edition (2nd edition) was published and brought up to 2006 standards with the ever changing qualities that the modern budgerigar should possess.

    It is now a really super book in every sense and one that should serve the readers with all aspects of the hobby that can arise on a daily basis. Beginners will certainly be thrilled to have this introduction on the shelf and certainly I am very proud to have contributed this volume to the hobby worldwide.

    To order your signed copy of “The Challenge“, either click on the image (above right) or go to “The Challenge” page on this web site.

    Budgerigar World Magazine

    In 1982, I was approached by a printer to consider a gap in the market for a quality budgerigar magazine in colour.

    I left my job as Head of Administration for Exploration Division at British Petroleum (BP) to found and start “Budgerigar World” which is distributed in 32 countries.

    This was followed by the German version which is currently published as Wellensittich Magazine, edited and now owned by Dieter Keller.

    I write in both magazines still, although I gave up full editorship to Budgerigar World after the first 100 editions.

    Budgerigar World MagazineBest in Show - front cover

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  • Judging & Lecturing

  • The International Ideal budgerigar

    I have been involved in the hobby for 70 years to date, but I am as keen as ever. Since then, I believe I am one of those few fanciers who can see quality ahead of the quality currently being bred. This certainly applies to various depictions of The Ideal Budgerigar seen in most countries.

    An International Ideal exists in my book,”The Challenge”, but after only a few years since publication, I see a new feature that is highly desirable to possess. I have given it a name and I think it will be a name that catches on as budgerigars continue to improve. It will establish itself in the mind’s of fanciers worldwide very soon. I call it “The Buffalo Look“.

    The Buffalo LookImagine the horns of a buffalo. They are wide, but from the horn tips they sweep downwards, well below the eye level before sweeping upward to where they join the head.

    There are a very few fanciers who have this feature well established in their budgerigars. Many have super width, but not the Buffalo Effect as illustrated in these photographs of BA23 birds and others.

    So to recap. Your birds need superb width to start with which will be straight across above the cere. Add the “buffalo” and from the cere, the feathering will drop down immediately (in frontal view) before it sweeps upward and outwards to the normal width of face. I now look for it when visiting aviaries and shows, but they are rare and were you to buy it in – perhaps expensive.

    Today I do not Judge in the UK, but The Budgerigar Society allows me to judge overseas, if I am invited when on holiday. This I am pleased to do. I also no longer lecture having done this for some 45 years and been hosted in 22 countries with their wonderful hospitality.

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  • World Shows

  • Budgerigar World Open Championship November 1983

    In the late 1970’s and early 80’s, The Budgerigar Society of Great Britain continued to host it’s Budgerigar Society Club Show every November. This was the so called “Mecca” of the hobby to which the rest of the world attended to see the best budgerigars in the world at that time.

    Frankly it was embarrassing with awful halls with leaking roofs and on one occasion the complete collapse of the staging holding the Champion Adults – the cream of the show. I was present and I felt it was time that we could do better although there was really nothing to beat.

    In 1982, I launched Budgerigar World Magazine which has been extensively copied worldwide. By 1983 therefore, we started our first show at Sandown Racecourse in Surrey, in the massive tote hall. Very modern and a super setting. From advance publicity some 4500 entries were staged and the budgerigar visitors simply gawped at the presentation.

    There has been nothing to equal that first show. The success came from my colleague at that time, John Blance and myself as the driving forces, but this was only successful because of the team that we drew around us for which I shall ever be grateful. The show was opened by The Director of Zoos at London and Whipsnade Zoos, David Jones, MRCVS.

    When visitors arrived they were greeted with a large garden setting with flamingos in a central pool, the area being decked out with all the international flags to which the magazine was posted. A special presentation stand was constructed with cups from all the countries who had presented them, as well as the Special Gold Trophies from Budgerigar World. Judges were introduced to the assembly (never done before but common sense behaviour).

    All around the hall were aviaries with other species displayed which I had seen in Switzerland, as well as 40 other stands with other livestock and products. In the paddock I had arranged a falconry display which caught the imagination and to top this there were lectures from the world’s best known fanciers to relay their expertise to the hobby. These lectures were very well attended.

    Why did it stop after several shows? The reason was simple. A mixture of finance, apathy by part of the hobby and some awful politics by just a few Budgerigar Society members who today are nowhere to be seen. On the plus side, the Budgerigar Society Club Show realised it had to change. Many Budgerigar World ideas were copied which was annoying after the criticism levelled at us, but the hobby was transformed at top level and the Budgerigar Society Club Show, with it’s fresh management is more credible and welcoming now than it’s ever been.

    All power to it.

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  • The Aviary at Tanglewood

  • In 1968, my young family, my wife Joyce and I moved to Virginia Water in Surrey, not far from London Airport. The house was named Tanglewood and when first seen it lived up to its name. Years of work were to follow, but the aviary, made of cedar wood, had to take priority. One of the first visitors was Joachim Schwartsberg, the famous German fancier.

    The aviary at Tanglewood (inside flights)

    Originally 40 feet [12.2m] by 10 feet [3.05m], it was subsequently increased to double that length some years later. Housing 66 breeding cages constructed by Reinhard Molkentin, these cages are the last word in cage presentation. The Jo Mannes aviary is also fitted out with the same cages, as well as the UK Quarantine at London Airport for the UK budgerigar exports to Australia.

    In 1980, a normal grey BA23 cock won Best Breeder at the Budgerigar Society Club Show. In 1984, a skyblue was awarded Best Adult and Best Opposite Sex-in-Show, at the same event. 1987 saw what other fanciers are pleased to recall as one of the five best birds ever bred up to that time. This was a grey green cock BA23 – 43 -83 given Best Breeder in Show, but remarkably, in the opinion of the fancy, not Best in Show. The following year at the Budgerigar World Open Championship at Blackpool, the same bird finally proved it’s quality where it took the supreme award.

    The aviary at Tanglewood (front aspect)

    Good grey greens have always had a special place at Tanglewood, but as is common in Budgerigars, you also need some luck. In 1986, a modest looking pair in cage number 16, bred a total of 12 chicks, each of outstanding quality. The following year they bred another seven. For many years this has been referred to as the “16” Line and birds sold from this line have in turn bred show winners. Jim Laurie from Scotland is a classic case, his outstanding wins at the Budgerigar Society World Championship in the 90’s being credited, by him, to this same line.

    In 1997 I lost two great friends, Jim Moffat and Mick Wheeler, both of whom had very fine studs, with the Moffat Stud of light greens being perhaps the best in the world. On Jim’s death the stud was gifted to me by Margie Moffat for which I will always be grateful. The Moffat birds with their superb width of face, depth of mask and frontal lift were crossed with the 16 line grey greens, but gradually the stud became all light greens and skyblues.

    In recent times other colour outcrosses became necessary and trips to South Africa to buy from Reinhard Molkentin and to Europe to purchase from Daniel Lutolf, two of the world’s most experienced fanciers, have paid great dividends. Today the aviary can be found with all the normal series plus superb spangles all of the highest quality and in great demand worldwide.

    “The Challenge” is always there and that is why my enthusiasm for breeding exhibition quality budgerigars has never waned.

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  • Colours Kept at Tanglewood

  • The aviary at Tanglewood (breeding room)

    Depending on the variety of colours that are here at any one time, which are subject to what has been bred, as a generalisation I usually have the following at “Tanglewood”.

    • Light Greens in Normals
    • Opaline Green Hens
    • Skyblues in Normals
    • Opaline Skyblue Hens
    • Grey Green in Normals
    • Opaline Grey Green Hens
    • Grey Normals
    • Cobalts
    • Cinnamons
    • Opaline Cinnamons
    • Spangles (based on Reinhard Molkentin bloodlines)

    Colours are important of course, but quality is uppermost, as with anything. When ordering from abroad, I ask that you do not tie me to specific colours, but by all means emphasise what you would like and leave it to myself to choose birds with your preferences in mind. These will be to breed what you want even if I haven`t got exactly every desirable colour to hand at any one time.

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  • BA23 Budgerigars at Tanglewood

  • To view my BA23 budgerigars, please visit the Gallery section on this website.

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  • Aviary Visits at Tanglewood

  • Aviary visits at Tanglewood

    From June to September in any year, I encourage society groups of fanciers to visit by written appointment. There is one request. By reason of the narrowness of our road we cannot allow coaches. However cars, people carriers and such, are no problem at all, so please organise accordingly.

    It is recommended that societies wishing to visit, book the previous year when organising their annual programme for the following year. I can then confirm with your secretary and provide maps for use from the main highways and particularly locally.

    Please send your request along with some suggested dates to:

    • G.S.Binks
      Tanglewood
      Knowle Grove
      Virginia Water
      Surrey
      GU25 4JB
      United Kingdom
       

    I’m also happy to take requests for visits via email or telephone. Please see the Contact section on this website for full details.

    Subject to availability there may be birds for sale, if time allows for you to select. I also offer a short talk while you are here and the opportunity for you to pose any questions you may have. Certainly you will enjoy your visit and you will see some very good birds. Why not mention this to your top table at the next meeting?

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  • Purchasing Birds at Tanglewood

  • Purchasing birds at Tanglewood

    Should you come to Tanglewood in Virginia Water, you will eventually be asked, if you wish to see some birds that are available, roughly what price range you wish me to put birds up in front of you, in show cages. This is only to save time and get to the rough area more quickly.

    I will also ask you how many birds you are thinking of and what quality you have at home and just which points you feel you need to concentrate on, where your birds need changes. Hopefully I can help.

    When a selection is in front of us, all will be priced on their visual quality for your assessment and choice. You may well be pleased, but you may wish to select a bit higher, so we move on if I have them. You will always receive a great deal of help and advice and it extends after you have returned home, if you need it. My object is to help you as much as I can within my own limits, so that you feel you will return regularly in future years, as many do.

    If you are living outside UK, then I establish the quality / price level you want, obtain the transport costs and veterinary charges etc. and advise you of this total overhead. This is at cost to me. I only charge for the birds. Birds are chosen on the basis of UK prices and I choose birds for the price level you have stated until I am pleased with the bird(s) involved, were I the buyer. This is the only way to select for fanciers who are putting their trust in me. Buyers abroad should be aware that pet birds from shops here are around £18 – £20 a bird with the usual very poor quality you would expect.

    Full details of the procedures you need to know about importing can be found in the section below.

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  • Importing Birds from Tanglewood

  • IATA Crate

    Fanciers from continental Europe frequently come by car using Harwich, Dover and Folkestone arrival ports from which it is easy to travel the short distance to Virginia Water. (Please see the Contact section on this website for directions and maps etc.)

    For those in countries far away there is a set procedure to follow remembering that you are relying on my experience and credibility to select which birds you would like me to choose for you.

    IMPORTANT: I choose birds in such cases on the basis that it is you standing next to me choosing for yourself. Given the price parameters to work with by you, I keep looking at birds until I find the birds that Gerald Binks would choose for whatever the price level involved. If I am pleased, I always find the buyer is very pleased. There is no other fair way.

    Prior to selection, I will establish the fault features you wish me to counteract in your birds. It may be depth of mask, width of face, backskull or other problems, but I always do my best to please. Alternatively you may request pairs.

    Importing by Ship/Ferry

    If you are visiting by car and you may be visiting other UK fanciers as well, it is essential you notify me so that an appointment can be made via my local veterinary surgeon for a document certifying the birds are healthy and fit to be exported.

    You may also require an import licence from your own country to carry with you for your return. This will eliminate any Customs & Excise legitimate queries as to why you are carrying livestock. Your import licence obtained from your immediate Ministry of Agriculture (usually) will also have to be countersigned and stamped by the UK veterinary surgeon.

    Importing via Plane

    This is more complex, but easy with the information below.

    There are overhead costs which are exactly as charged to me. I only charge for the birds themselves. This is the sequence to follow:

    1. Contact me and discuss what you require
    2. I research and confirm the birds selected, the number and sexes
    3. You obtain an Import Licence (if necessary) from your Ministry and post it to me
    4. I establish the total costs of the overheads separately and advise you. These are:
      • International Air Traffic Association (I.A.T.A.) crate
      • Veterinary costs including application to the UK Ministry
      • Flight costs
      • Agency fees incl telephone calls

    Note: You can import up to 10 birds for the same price as one in one crate. Larger numbers are pro-rata slightly more expensive. Please also note the birds travel perfectly safely with seed and grit, plus millet sprays inside the crate and they are watered appropriately.

    When 4500 budgerigars were exported from the UK to Australia in the 90’s there were no losses during transit. The airlines are excellent with properly crated birds and their holds are temperature controlled when livestock is on board.

    The total bird costs and overheads established to your satisfaction then allow you to send a STERLING cheque payable to myself along with your approved Import Licence. Once received, I advise you of the arrival date, time, flight number and airway bill number (AWB #), which you will need. It is your responsibility for insurance cover for the birds, but to date I have never experienced a loss of any description.

    Birds are always despatched between Mondays and Wednesdays so that a weekend, with airline staff shortages, is not involved.

    Whatever route the birds take and by whatever mode of transport, do accept that on arrival and for a few days at least, the new stock will look nothing like the stock selected by the seller. Such birds will be tight feathered. They will have lost some weight because of not eating fully and they will be tired just as we are tired after a journey. They need rest, extra care with everything available for them and to be given time to relax.

    In 3 days you should be able to get some idea of whether you like your new birds or otherwise. In three weeks you will see perfectly the quality sent to you. Birds held in quarantine conditions, from other countries, need extra long periods prior to final assessment. Often they have been on a course of tetracyclines, as in the case of birds sent from UK to Australia.

    See also: For a general guide to importing / exporting budgerigars into / from the UK, please see the Importing & Exporting Budgerigars article.

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