Thoughts From Tanglewood Part Two – Gerald Binks UK

Terry Tuxford continues his conversation with Gerald Binks

In the last edition of The Budgerigar, Gerald Binks told us about his years in the hobby since starting in budgerigars in 1945, and how he has sustained his enthusiasm over some 67 years. He makes the point that in this hobby you never stop learning and underpins this statement in this edition by telling us of the changes he has made in recent years and what he would do if he started again.

However, I began by asking Gerald about the development of the hobby and what he felt were the highs and lows for him.

The Highs and Lows

The high point was in the 1980’s when a certain pair 16 comprising two grey green normals just happened to breed an outstanding nest of awesome birds for their day. Suddenly everyone wanted to buy anything related to that nest and for years after. The top bird was a grey green cock, BA23-43-86, a bird which would still win today, but not at top level in 2013. I showed it at the Budgerigar Society Club Show and at the Budgerigar World Open Championship at Blackpool; both shows had in excess of 4000 benched exhibits.

This cock was the forerunner of birds with width of face without the inferior “keyhole” effect and narrowness either side of the cere eventually leading to “the buffalo effect”, but a very low point now emerged at the former show, which was disgraceful. Everyone knew that the Grey Green was the best in the country, but I was up against the fact that I was heading the Budgerigar World Magazine and had staged the Budgerigar World Open Championship at Sandown Park Racecourse which had set new standards and just a few officials were resentful of my efforts. As a result the Grey Green was put down for Best in Show to an interior Opaline Cinnamon Light Green cock. So Best in Show at the BS for me was politically blocked and everyone knew it, however just weeks later the same Grey Green went to the BW Show and Won Best Budgerigar In Show with a 4500 entry. So anybody today, who even thinks I am afraid to Show – think again. I accept losing with equanimity.

This time had a profound effect on me. What was the point of showing if people who were supposed to be respected as judges were prepared to lose their credibility out of sheer spite of someone who was making efforts to improve the hobby for everyone’s benefit? Today’s General Council has greater integrity than in my days of heading up Budgerigar World, which is very satisfying and inspires me to Show again.

2013 Cobalt cock 5 weeks old and one of five and still in the nest

Your editor has also asked me what ambitions I have today. Come out and show again and try to do well at the Budgerigar Society Club Show. I will be 80 at the next event, so it will not be easy as I always start breeding in mid-October. But I will make every effort and I shall enjoy being with all the fanciers who attend, who hopefully will approach me if they are juniors, beginners, novices or any other category. I will be delighted to chat to anyone who has a wish to do so. We are all just budgie fanciers – nothing else.

Changes and Innovations

I then went on to talk to Gerald about the changes he has made in terms of applying up to date innovations to improve his efficiency and management in the hobby. This was his reply…………..

Certainly I have had to learn how to use the computer really well to communicate faster and more efficiently with the hobby world-wide. I had to learn to type from scratch and with the demise of Budgerigar World magazine that I founded in 1982, then under the County Press in Bala, North Wales I spotted an opportunity to launch a free on-line magazine with in-depth articles, which I did successfully.

I switch from film to digital photography has been profound and linked to the computer has created a massive improvement in speed and efficiency in both personal advertising and article illustration. My effort in devising methods of depicting budgerigars in colour (there were none before BW) are well established in The Challenge. One area I find difficult is when buyers abroad request photos of birds that are available. Yes, easy to photograph, but when out of condition can give the wrong impression entirely. Basically I try to avoid it and ask fanciers to rely on my experience and credibility.

Lastly, the recent near withdrawal of the well known Vitamin B12 solution under the Trade Name of  Cytacon; the chemical name is Cyanocobalamin. It is essential to get your chick embryos acquiring great energy and popping out easily from their shells and being fed by the hens immediately because an active red-coloured chick will always call for food. So many fanciers called me in frustration that I trawled the Net and eventually found a source – and a far better source as I will explain – called FORCE 12 and is sold by Aviform. Why is it better? The reason is that the earlier Cytacon is syrup based and if a bird has any fungi in its system, the syrup feeds it beautifully and it grows massively and you have a very sick bird(s). By contrast FORCE 12 is Vitamin B12 without syrup but is water based and thus vastly superior.

Grey Green – 18 weeks old

Starting Again

So armed with 67 years of experience I asked Gerald what approach he advice he would give to someone just starting up.

If I were young again and just starting up, I would spend 12 to 18 months doing nothing in terms of aviary construction or buying stock. That time would be spent getting all the information I could acquire from books, magazines, the internet, visiting aviaries all over the country, attending lectures and noting everything down. Naturally going to shows would be essential and watching judges who were breeding top quality birds themselves, so they knew what they were doing. In that way my eyes would be able to be trained – to the millimeter as to what are all the good and difficult features to be exhibited and by the same token the tiny faults that separate one good bird from its competitors. Then I would start!

Before ending I would like to make an observation. After so many years trying to encourage the Budgerigar Society to attack the marketing aspect of our hobby to the public at large, and being actually told recently by a top official that it was a, “waste of time and money”, I was really pleased to see that the General Council has taken a different view and engaged a fancier with some marketing experience into that role.

Finally, another bit of praise to this time Grant Findlay, who was interviewed on Radio by Chris Evans in mid-March this year. Grant gave excellent opening answers but later very skillfully fended off some traps set by Evans that had been deliberately laid. Great answers Grant – thinking on your feet and super publicity for the BS and all fanciers. I have said for years that unless you let people know we exist, we will continue to get the same result we have always got – a declining membership!



Filed Under: BreedingExhibitingFeatured



About the Author: Gerald 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.

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  1. Thank you Gerald Binks & Terry very interesting article and happy to see cracking cobalt baby.

    Habib Ur Rehman,Pakistan

  2. robinson says:


  3. Saartjie Odendaal says:

    Is there a way for me to get in contact with Gerald. Or……

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