Australian Budgerigar Safari – Andy Beesley, UK

In November 2011 my new job lead me to Australia for a week on business, most of my time was spent in Melbourne with no free time and the visit was over almost as quickly as it had started, so when I was asked to go again in October 2012 it was clear that to be an effective business trip this time it would need to be at least two weeks.

I then had the challenge of seeing how I could spend my free weekend during this trip and also see more than Melbourne without talking business and then the idea came to me; my leisure time at home in the UK is focused around my family, coaching kids Rugby Union, a little fly fishing and of course Exhibition Budgerigars. Clearly the only option from the list was to try and visit some Victoriabased Budgerigar breeders and after a search on I located the email details of Peter Thurn who is based in Bacchus Marsh near Melbourne.

Peter replied almost instantly with a plan – on the Saturday he had a small judging engagement in Geelong that I could attend, we would then look at his Birds, spend some time watching his son Liam play Cricket, a BBQ and a night in watching the Wallabies draw with the All Blacks at Rugby Union – an all round excellent day. Also, Peter had Aviary visits planned for the Sunday in and around Melbourneat three well known Breeders.

Geelong County Show

My Safari started at 8 a.m.with a 50 minute coach journey from the centre of Melbourne to Geelong to meet Peter. We then traveled to the Geelong County Showground where the Geelong County Agricultural show was taking place. The Geelong Budgerigar club has the use of a room here and has been using the facility for meetings and shows for many years.

This Show is an opportunity for the Geelong club to highlight the hobby to the general public by way of a small members show and sale section and Peter had agreed to Judge. Firstly the Adult Cocks were judged, then the Hens, then the Young Cocks, then Young Hens, then the UBC’s (Un-broken Caps) “Barr heads” and finally a small selection of Matched Pairs of the same variety and colour.

Rex Stephens’ Grey Green

The winning bird was a very good adult Grey Green Cock from Rex Stevens. Rex clearly has some very good birds as does another Geelong member John Ennis who had a recent success at the Australian Nationals with a yellow face hen. During the show I had the opportunity to speak to other members such as Greg Jones and Gordon Dixon. All were enthusiastic hard workers for the club and as well as discussing the hobby in Australia they were keen to learn about the hobby in the UK.

John Ennis’ National Winning Yellowface

Quality Birdroom

Following a quick stop off to see Peter’s son Liam at cricket we headed to Peter’s house to view the birds. Firstly I was impressed with the location, particularly the views and also the occasional visits to the garden by wild Ghalas, the birdroom is an excellent set up with two large outside flights and a breeding room that consists of 48 all wire cages that are similar to ours, all of which were in use. The breeding room is very spacious and well planned and includes cupboards, a sink and a fridge.

Peter Thurn’s Birdroom

Since 2004 Peter has had numerous successes at regional and National level and as well as keeping Normals, Opalines, Cinnamons, Spangles and Dominant Pieds, there are also Fallows, Greywings and undoubtedly the best Texas Clearbodys I have ever seen. I was particularly impressed to see that Peter progressed to Champion status within 6 Years.

Peter Thurn’s Birdroom

Excellent Clearbodys

Until this visit I had never been a big fan of the Clearbody, however I am definitely hooked now that I have seen the quality of this variety inAustralia. Peter tells me that the Exhibition system in Australia is a big reason why the less popular varieties are in abundance there. Firstly the local clubs have to select a group of birds that will be nominated in each section to be judged at the Regional and National show for variety shields and to accumulate points. Therefore it is important that each region is strong in all of the varieties, thus maintaining a high standard throughout.

Thurn Winning Clearbody

Another point to note is that in Australia, Champions have to amass a number of points over three seasons to maintain the status and not be relegated to open status, if this happens they can get promoted back once the points are achieved again, it’s believed that this encourages even the most seasoned Champions to show regularly.

Thurn Winning Spangle

Peter’s wins include 5 UBC Shields, 3 Adult Shields and 9 Young bird Shields since starting in 2003. Peter has also achieved 6 National wins with Dominant Pieds, Fallows, Clearbodys and Albinos and recently achieved a BCV Shield and Best in Show with an excellent adult Grey Green cock.

Thurn Winning Fallow

Also like me Peter uses The Budgerigar Programme for his Breeding records and he showed me some techniques he uses regarding pedigrees and predictions based on his knowledge of Genetics from his background and current work with Cattle.

Peter, as previously highlighted also has some excellent Grey Greens in the stud and the thing that struck me the most was the lack of evidence of opalescence and flecking in the stud. The other thing that struck me was the health and fitness throughout and whilst Peter ensures the birds get all the important vitamins particularly B12, he also feeds a number of green foods such as grasses and White Thistle.


Peter is very active in the hobby and is heavily involved in the Auctions that are run across Australia. For those that don’t already know the Auctions allow breeders to buy and sell quality Budgerigars. Pictures of the sales birds are place on the internet or in a catalogue and are given lot numbers, potential buyers will then attend the auction and bid for the birds they are interested in. Given the geography ofAustraliathis is perfect for everybody involved and a revenue stream for the clubs that run the auctions, something we could consider in theUKas part of our local patronage shows.

After an evening involving Cricket, more birds, a BBQ, red wine and almost a Wallabies win at Rugby versus the All Blacks we called it a day with a view to an early start on the Sunday.

Stunning Location

Andy Beesley Makes A friend

After feeding Peter’s birds the first visit was to see long-time fancier Vic Murray. Vic is a true gentleman and lives in a stunning location that overlooks one of Melbourne’s Municipal Nature Reserves which amongst its amazing bird life also occasionally sees Kangaroos. Whilst sitting in Vic’s dining room a Kookaburra descended onto his bird table and Vic invited me to take a closer look.

During our time at Vic’s we saw a variety of bird life that included Rosellas, Bronze Wings and Galahs.

Spangle Grey Hen – 9 months

Vic has kept Budgerigars on and off for many years and had recent success with his Partner in 2010 at the Nationals with an excellent Opaline Cinnamon Grey cock, as a result we also were able to view an excellent Spangle Grey Hen that was 9 months old and a Spangle with lots of potential in one of the nests.

Vic Murray

In my opinion there were a lot of good birds on view at Vic’s particularly in the Young birds. It was also good to hear about the importation of the English Budgerigars to Australia and the Syndicates that evolved to assist in the purchases etc, although due to Australia’s strict rules on Livestock and food importation it’s been some time since European Budgerigars have been used here, although the backgrounds can often be referred to.

Importation of the English Budgerigar

Alan Baxter

After some wonderful hospitality we made the short journey to another stunning location to view the birds of Alan Baxter (President of the Budgerigar Council of Victoria and WBO Judge). First we had a very enjoyable lunch with Alan and his wife and then were invited to view the birds. What became clear here was the depth of consistent quality throughout the stud from a breeder with many years of experience. One of my fears is that with the continued development of the feather we see inEuropeyou sometimes see a loss in style and deportment so to view another stud that excelled in this important feature was truly breathtaking. I particularly liked the large partially outdoor flights that Alan uses to fly his birds, this clearly hardens the birds to the elements and they were relishing the winds that were blowing through the flights as we ventured out to take a look.

Alan Baxter’s Baby Spangle

The power of the shoulders and the feather quality were significant features and Alan later explained that the English Budgerigars he had obtained were from the stud of John Heald and like us he also had Grey Greens from Gordon and Sylvia Hallam. I have to say that because Alan has so many birds showing excellent quality it’s hard to single out any birds individually, although the Cinnamons are what impressed me the most and also, like Peter, he is working hard to produce Australian Yellow Faces.

Hall of Fame

Alan Rowe and Peter Thurn

Again a short journey took us to the home of well know Australian breeder Alan Rowe and member of the ANBC Hall of Fame. Alan will be known to many UK and European fanciers and has been involved with European judging engagements in the past which will include judging at the 2013 Club Show inDoncaster.

Alan is one of those breeders that constantly breeds winners and if anyone in Europe doubted the quality of Australian budgerigars they should look no further than the quality I witnessed here including Alan’s National winning Light Green, which like all the birds witnessed over my weekend would give a lot of UK birds some stiff opposition and in order to prove this Alan insisted on putting this bird in an English style show cage before letting me photograph it.

Again Alan gave me an insight into the importation of English Budgerigars and like Alan Baxter he too had birds from the stud of John Heald. Both Alan Rowe and Alan Baxter mentioned how John Heald had sold his entire stock of young birds during one of the importation years on the basis that he had the adults and could pair them again. It’s clear that John was held in high regard for this.

I know Alan is looking forward to his judging engagement at the 2013 Club Show and visiting some of our top studs inEuropeand I’m particularly looking forward to seeing him at the Show and making sure I can hopefully repay some of the warmth and hospitality extended to me on my Australian Budgerigar Safari.


I was particularly impressed with the Style and Deportment clearly on show in all of my visits and also the quality and quantity of varieties that we regard as Specialist and Rares, which I believe, is largely down to the emphasis on all varieties at National level.

I am still not convinced that changing our ring issue date would make an impact and the views inAustraliaappear to concur with this, as all agreed that having the bird was more important than what ring it had on.

Even though my father and I exhibit at Champion status I like the idea incorporated in Australia regarding Champions being relegated if not enough point are amassed, we all know the breeding seasons present some ups and downs and having this option would allow the Breeder to recover and bounce back and encourage some success along the way.

I need to add that it has been an honour and a privilege to have this opportunity and I cannot express enough my sincere thanks to Peter and his family for making me so welcome, to Peter for everything he did and to the many new friends I have made on this short trip, this is in my opinion what our wonderful hobby is all about.

Points of Interest regarding ANBC Rules


1. “UBC” – (Unbroken Cap) is a baby bird that has not commenced its first moult and has no adult plumage feathers.
2. “Juvenile” – is a bird rung with a ring issued on the 1st September and encoded with the following calendar year and which is too young to be allowed to compete at the next A.N.B.C. Competition and then becomes a “Young” bird on the 1st September prior to the following A.N.B.C. event.
3. “Young” – is a bird which is eligible to compete at the next A.N.B.C. Competition. These birds will cease to be eligible to compete in this section at Society Shows after the 31st August following the A.N.B.C. Competition at which they were eligible.
4. “Any Age” (previously OLD) – is a bird of any age. Restricted exhibitors may only show birds in the “Open Any Age” section if there are no “Restricted Any Age” classes provided in the Show schedule.

Note: All birds are to only carry one closed ring. 

Extract From Entries

1) Birds must be owner bred in all classes, except for Any Age classes.
2) Young and Unbroken Cap birds must be rung with a closed ring issued for use within the previous ring issue period and/or the current ring issue period.
3) Any bird carrying two closed rings shall carry only one on each leg and both rings must have been issued to only one Exhibitor.
4) If selected for inclusion in the State Team to compete at the A.N.B.C. Competition, a young bird must carry only that ring eligible for that Competition. When showing, both rings must be registered to the same Exhibitor. Any other ring must be removed prior to the A.N.B.C. Competition.
5). If a bird is carrying two closed rings, the oldest ring will determine the eligibility status of the bird.
6). A young bird may compete in Any Age classes where provided.
7). Unbroken Cap birds not be shown at Branch or Society Annual Shows.

Extract regarding Status
A Novice Exhibitor will remain in this Status until six (6) points from wins have been accumulated.
An Intermediate Exhibitor will remain in this Status until fifteen (15) points from wins have been accumulated. 

Extract regarding Ring Issue Date
The initial ring issue date is to be from the 1st of September annually.

About the Author:
Andy is part of the UK Father and Son partnership M & A Beesley formed in 1995; Andy’s Father had previously been a member of the BS since the 1970’s. Whilst they continue to strive for major successes on the UK exhibition scene they also had to endure the loss of their entire stud due to the virus some years ago, the partnership take great pleasure in improving the stud year on year and have CC winning Pieds and have had an increasing number of Opposite Sex BOC awards during the last three years.


Filed Under: BeginnersBreedingFeatured



Terry Tuxford About the Author:

Terry Tuxford first began breeding budgerigars in 1979 and joined the BS in 1980. He was elevated to Champion in 1985 when he went into partnership with Brian Poole. This partnership is probably one of the longest existing partnerships in the UK hobby today having lasted some 27 years so far and is still going strong. Terry and Brian are also partnered by Yvonne Tuxford who joined the BS in 1990.

Terry demonstrated his penmanship early in his budgerigar career and wrote in the second edition of Budgerigar World. Little did he realise then that in just over 8 year’s time he would become editor following a 20 month apprenticeship with founding editor, Gerald Binks. Terry went on to edit a total of 245 editions up to May 2011.

In 1993 Terry took his Budgerigar Society Judges final examination and was awarded Subsidiary Judge of the Year and has gone on to judge the Budgerigar Society World Show on three occasions as well as many top shows at home and abroad. He is also an accomplished speaker and has been a guest at societies throughout the UK as well as Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and many other European countries.

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  1. Simply we can easily group three kind of person, one who learn through reading model,another by observation or experiment and rest all by reflection.

    Where do you all friends stand after creative reading and creative writing.

    Thank you very much Terry Tuxford for sharing Australian Budgerigar Safari – Andy Beesley, UK

    Habib Ur Rehman,Pakistan

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