This was the year I was the first person in the UK to breed the Green Aracari.
Also in the collection were:
Golden Song Sparrow, White Winged Grosbeaks, Blue Winged Siva, Barbary Shrikes, Black Spotted Barbets, Amethyst Starling, San Blas Jay, Greater Hill Mynahs, Black Necked Stilts, Black Throated Laughing Thrushes, White Crested Laughing Thrushes, Rufous Laughing Thrush, Malibar or Chestnut-tailed Starling, Mexican Green Jay, Azure Winged Magpie, Asian Pied Mynah, Red Billed Starling, Mandarin Wood Ducks, Blue Capped Waxbills, Firefinches, Cut Throat finches, Heck's Grassfinches and Rheas.

Green Aracaris

25/04/03 An inspection of the nest revealed that the first egg has been laid. It is pure white and is on the remaining woodchip in the nest box. The nestbox is approximately 24 ins long and angled at 45 degrees and is placed in the inside compartment of their accommodation.

27/04/03 As both the pair were away from the nestbox I decided a second inspection and was delighted to find that the pair now have three eggs.
30/04/03 As they were both away from the nestbox today an opportunity arose to photograph the eggs. The camera revealed that the total clutch is four, although one appears to be damaged.

13/05/03 Squeaking, similar to the noise of young kittens was heard from the nestbox today. On being offered some mealworms at the end of the aviary the female immediately flew over and carried them off. The male, later in the day, hurriedly carried something into the nestbox and further sounds were heard. I am sure that there are young present.

16/05/03 This morning a shell from probably an infertile egg was found discarded below the nestbox. Later in the day both parents were away from the nestbox and I was able to check inside. I was delighted to find two healthy and obviously growing babies resting on the last egg.
10/06/03 The babies are becoming more and more vocal. 31/05/03 The babies are quite vocal when one of the parents enter the nest box, and this indicates that all is well inside.

15/06/03 The baby Aracaris are now feathering up as can be seen by the picture.

24/06/03 Today the first baby fledged and was to be seen on the floor of the inside compartment. An hour later it was seen on the ledge outside the nestbox, and by evening was nowhere to be seen and presumed safely back in box.
25/06/03 At first inspection this morning both babies had fledged and were perched outside and looking very strong and healthy.
28/06/03 This photo taken today shows the male parent and the male baby together.

01/07/03 The both babies are now flying well and having been exposed to some heavy rain, their feathering is much improved as can be seen from the latest picture. The male is seen waiting to feed one of the young.

04/07/03 Having heard tappin g from the interior of the nest box over the last couple of days, I inspected and found that it was now very clean again and contained the first egg of their second attempt.
One of the young was seen helping himself to a grape from the bunch hung in their aviary, a sure sign that they are beginning to feed themselves.
11/07/03 The total of the second clutch of eggs is four.

23/07/03 Squeaking was heard from the nestbox today indicating a hatch in the second clutch of eggs.
30/07/03 Being the first time the nest has been left unattended a quick inspection showed that there were at least three young present, all of similar size.
16/08/03 Today I was able to photograph the second clutch in the nestbox.

30/08/03 The young in the box are very vocal and fledging is anticipated soon.
01/09/03 This morning two newly fledged young were quietly sat in the indoor compartment. A further inspection of the outdoor aviary revealed the third youngster perched outside. Later in the day, all three of the newly fledged young were sat outside with their older siblings and the parents.
Summary: REPORTED TO BE A UK FIRST BREEDING. A total of five young were reared to independance.

Green Aracaris

Green Aracaris

Green Aracaris

Green Aracaris


Golden Song Sparrow

16/04/03 An untidy nest has been observed in one of the open fronted nestboxes.
13/05/03 The nest is now deserted.
Summary: Despite nest building and making lots of 'chirrupy' noises, no eggs were noted for this species. It is possible that they did indeed lay eggs but incubation failed. The youngster I bred in 2002 moulted out to be a male which meant only one female in the group, which obviously didn't help




White Winged Grosbeaks

27/04/03 The male was seen feeding the female today and there seems to be some activity at one of the supplied nest sites.
10/06/03 An eggshell was found on the floor of their aviary which indicated that the hen, not finding a suitable nest site had laid her eggs on the floor. They have now been moved to a different aviary where some natural growth may entice them to nest build.
Summary: Not having access to the same aviary as last year seemed to be the main factor in failing to breed. These birds need to be considered as very shy when breeding and needing a very densely covered site for nesting.




Blue Winged Siva

25/04/03 One of the pair was today seen carrying coconut fibre and is presumed nestbuilding.
28/04/03 A nest was found and it contained one egg which will be assumed as the first egg laid.
18/05/03 As the hatching date was past I decided to investigate, but even the nest was now dismantled. This is probably due to the colder spell of weather. I am optimistic however that they w ill attempt to nest again.

10/06/03 An inspection today revealed that their second attempt at nesting had started. The last few days have witnessed almost continual singing from the male, and today a single egg was found in their nest.
28/06/03 The nest site is unfortunately now deserted.
04/07/03 An inspection of the nest site revealed that two eggs were present.
23/07/03 The last nest seemed to produce nothing, but they do seem to be sitting again.
31/07/03 As both birds were today seen away from the nest site , I chanced an inspection which revealed that the nest contained three warm eggs.
Summary: The pair seemed quite willing to nest and produce clutch after clutch of eggs but not at any time were young seen to be produced. In previous years they seemed quite able to produce young to various stages. After giving them sole occupancy of a substantial aviary it was quite disappointing.


Barbary Shrikes

The pair have now been moved to a satellite aviary which they will be sole occupants.

Summary: The loss of one of the pair in the new location brought any hopes of ne15/06/03 The Barbary Shrikes in th eir new location. 10/06/03





Black Spotted Barbets
Notes: The pair have been moved to an outside aviary after wintering in an inside flight.
Summary: The female as always looked in excellent condition, whereas the male always looked a little below par. Unfortunately the male was lost before the end of the breeding season.



Amethyst Starling

10/06/03 The pair have now been given an aviary to themselves. Already there are leaves and hay in the nest box, and today I witnessed the male displaying.
20/06/03 Two eggs were noted in the nestbox today.
28/06/03 An inspection today revealed that the total clutch is only two eggs.
04/07/03 Discarded eggshells and parents eagerly carrying food to the nest site indicates that there are babies in the nest.
23/07/03 The parents were noted carrying green leaves about which would be inconsistent with feeding young, so I inspected the nest. It contained two dead young, probably about a week old. It is surprising they did not eject them from the nest. The parents had unlimited supply of mealworms as well as extra portions of their usual food to no avail.
Summary: No further breeding attempt was made and the breeding of this species to independence still alludes me.



San Blas Jay

Notes: This pair is housed by themselves in an aviary of dimensions 13ft by 8ft.
13/04/03 The pair have been seen carrying twigs and grasses and seem to have selected an outdoor nesting site on a raised shelf with cover above. The male is often seen feeding the hen.
25/04/03 The hen can now often be seen sat at the nest site. The nest seems to be made mostly of dried grasses.
Summary: No eggs for the second year in succession.


Greater Hill Mynahs
02/05/03 One of the pair was seen leaving the nest site at feeding time today. On inspection a nest of grasses has been formed at the bottom of the nestbox.
Summary: Apart from nest building there was no sign of any eggs being laid.


Black Necked Stilts

25/04/03 The male seems to be making advances to the female as if driving her to a certain spot for nesting. The aviary contains several growing clumps of vegetation which I hope the pair will find suitable.
Summary: They made no nest or produced any eggs.



Black Throated Laughing Thrushes

16/04/03 A nesting site had been added last week consisting of a plant hanging basket interwoven with conifer branches. One of the pair was today seen sitting at the site.
31/05/03 A perfect nest has been made from dead grasses but does not contain any eggs. They are however becoming more vocal which may be an indication of success in the near future.
Summary: There was no progress beyond nest building.


White Crested Laughing Thrushes
Notes: Moved to larger accommodation. They now have sole occupancy of an aviary of the size 20ft x 8ft.
04/08/03 Whilst the male was sat alone in the inside compartment the female was nowhere to be seen. However she later emerged from the dense bush in their latest accommodation. A further inspection of the aviary at dusk revealed that the male is roosting alone. This is a sure indication that the female has eggs.
11/08/03 The nest has been located at the top of the dense bu sh in a hanging basket. With careful observation one of the pair can be seen sat at the nest site.
16/08/03 As the pair were to be seen to be ignoring the believed nest site an inspection of the aviary was made. The place were the bird was sat was not a proper nest but a well constructed nest was found amongst the dense growth. There was no evidence of eggs anywhere to be seen.
30/08/03 Only one parent cab now been seen at one time. Hopefully they are now incubating eggs
Summary: Three eggs were noted in the nest but at a later inspection there were none. Having at last produced eggs, it is hoped that next spring they will go one step further and produce young

Rufous Laughing Thrush

Notes: This pair are housed in a spacious aviary some 30 ft by 14 ft. The accommodation is shared with a pair of Malibar Starlings and a pair of Black Necked Stilts.
11/04/03 Their first attempt in early March resulted in five eggs only to be tossed from the nest after a few days.
16/04/03 One of the pair was today seen sat on the original nest.

27/04/03 One of the pair is now always sat on the nest, a nd I now assume that they are incubating eggs.
28/04/03 An eggshell was found on the floor which indicated a hatch.

29/04/03 While topping up the food supplies in the aviary I was surprised to find both of the pair avidly taking mealworms just a few feet from where I was stood totally ignoring my presence. I looked towards the nest and was treated to the site of three heads raised in the air waiting for the parents to return with food.
Today the 13th, both young could be seen sat side by side on a perch.
Next day, the 12th, besides the one in the nest another was seen perching..

On the 11th a youngster was found on the floor below the nest and had perished. Another youngster was still in the nest and apparently well.
16/05/03 After a night of heavy rain one of the youngsters was found dead in two inches of water. The other was however seen to be fine. I had been carefully watching the nest site for some days as the nest seemed to be sinking lower and lower with the weight of the youngsters.

18/05/03 Today I witnessed the heaviest rain I had seen for a long time and was worried that I would lose even the last youngster. However, he was perched high up and looked very well. Furthermore, the hen was carrying a twig about as an indication that she was ready to nest again.
31/05/03 The baby is now very similar in size to the adult pair. They have laid more eggs but these have been discarded.
15/06/03 The baby pictured in the middle of the group photo is now similar in size to the parents and independant.
Summary: The parents seem devoted to their baby even when the breeding season is long over for them. It is hoped that I can keep them in a family group and they will breed again in 2004.



Malibar or Chestnut-tailed Starling

Notes:This pair are housed in a spacious aviary some 30 ft by 14 ft. The accommodation is shared with a pair of Rufous Laughing Thrushes and a pair of Black Necked Stilts.
13/04/03 They have filled a nest box with dried grasses etc. and are expected to lay eggs shortly.
16/04/03 A nest box inspection revealed that three eggs had been laid.
25/04/03 The eggs were all thrown from the nestbox and found broken on the floor. Hopefully they will nest again soon.
29/04/03 One of the pair was seen leaving the nestbox on my entry to the aviary.
02/05/03 A check of their nest box today revealed that three eggs were present.
13/05/03 The eggs were again discarded from the nest, even though their contents were live embryos.
20/06/03 It seems that the pair managed to incubate a clutch of eggs, without me noticing any movement around the nestbox. They do however now have young in the box.
11/07/03 A fledged baby was spotted on the floor of the aviary.
23/07/03 Sadly the baby was never seen again.
Summary: Their breeding was certainly less successful in the large extensive aviary than in 2002 in a smaller aviary with sole occupancy.


Mexican Green Jay

Notes: A DNA test taken of the unsexed member of the pair revealed that it was indeed a male, which confirms that I do indeed have a true pair.
Summary:They went into a moult in mid summer when they should have been showing interest in nesting. This was however their first year in my aviaries.




Azure Winged Magpie

25/04/03 A large open fronted nestbox has been the site of some activity. Twigs have been seen carried in there and one of the pair is to be seen sat there occasionally.
23/07/03 Despite no outward behaviour indicating as much, a nest was discovered in a basket suspended in the aviary. It contained six eggs. They are typical 'crow like' blue with lots of brown markings.
04/08/03 The first baby has hatched.
16/08/03 The single baby is seen in the nest alongside the failed eggs.
17/08/03 The baby has decided to fledge and can be seen perched in the aviary.
30/08/03 The youngster is thriving and has been seen feeding himself.
Summary: One 2003 bred.


Asian Pied Mynah

Summary: They made no attempt to nest. Note: A third Mynah of this species was acquired and added to the pair in order to increase the chance of a true pair being available.


Red Billed Starling


Note: This pair currently share an aviary with the Barbary Shrikes and Greater Hill Mynahs.
28/06/03 This pair have now been moved to an aviary by themselves.
Summary: Despite laying eggs on the floor before their move to their own aviary, no further attempt was made at breeding.


Mandarin Wood Ducks


11/04/03 First egg noted in nestbox today.
13/05/03 Four eggs have survived the long incubation period and should hatch soon.
31/05/03 Three of the eggs hatched and two have survived and can been seen following the mother around their enclosure.
Summary:Two babies successfully bred.


Blue Capped Waxbills

11/04/03 A ball shaped nest has been built and it seems that the pair share 'nest duties' as only one can be seen at any time. Due to the size of the nest entrance it is difficult to check whether any eggs have been laid.
29/04/03 The male was seen today trying to catch flies which had entered the aviary.
30/04/03 I was able to enter the aviary today and without disturbing the nest noted that there was indeed a bundle of fluff inside which confirms young are present.
13/05/03 The nest was dismantled by the parents and on closer examination a nearly fledged youngster was found and another a little younger, so they were indeed rearing two young. Another nest has been built, this time on the floor amongst the now growing grasses from spilt seed. Hopefully, if they have young again it will be a little warmer and I will be able to supply a fruit fly culture.
31/05/03 Their nest was dismantled without any hatch. The male is however singing and displaying.
10/06/03 One of the pair is now always missing so it is safe to presume that they have eggs.
22/06/03 As both of the pair were to be seen flying in the aviary, I attempted to locate their nest, which was found high up under the aviary roof. The nest definitely contained young. A mealworm culture was added to the aviary to supplement the fruit flies and any natural insect life they can catch.
30/06/03 Today I was elated to find a fledged baby waxbill perched alongside it's parents. It is similar to the parents only much duller.
01/07/03 A second smaller fledgling appeared today.
11/07/03 Both babies are now very strong and almost independent. One of the pair is now always missing so it is presumed that they are incubating eggs again.
23/07/03 For a while now only one parent at a time was noted, indicating another breeding attempt. Today, both were seen active in the aviary and immediately showed interest in the mealworms offered. I am quite sure that more babies have hatched.
30/07/03 The nest was located alongside the first one and as far as I can see contained three young.
04/08/03 The first fledgling of the second successful nest was seen away from the nest today.
11/08/03 A total of three babies fledged from the second successful nest.
30/08/03 The total five young are now independent and with one of t he adults always missing I assume they are again nesting.
Summary:The third attempt resulted in babies to fledgling stage only, probably due to drop in temperature and the lack of natural insect life. The pair were far from perfect when purchased in the autumn before and to bring them into breeding condition and successfully breed five young at the first attempt gave me immense pleasure.



11/04/03 A ball shaped nest has been built at the same time as the Blue Waxbills and it seems that the pair share 'nest duties' too. Due to the size of the nest entrance it is difficult to check whether any eggs have been laid.
25/04/03 Today was the first day that both of the pair was seen at the same time. Whether this indicates hatching young or a failed attempt only time will tell.
27/04/03 A chick, probably about two days old was found dead on the aviary floor. Both the pair are often to be seen, but without actually disturbing the nest it is difficult to ascertain whether there are more young or this is a failed attempt.
02/05/03 The nest was recovered from the floor today,and contained three more eggs, all infertile. It is hoped that they will rebuild and nest again soon.
18/05/03 A nest has been noted in a dwarf conifer about 12 inches from the ground and one of the pair is always missing. Hopefully the weather will improve and their will be some natural food flying into the aviary.
31/05/03 The hen is still sitting though there is no indication of any hatch.
23/07/03 A feathered but dead chick was found on the aviary floor, so success was quite close. They are obviously nesting again as only one can be seen at any time.
30/08/03 The position is much the same with one parent missing all the time.
Summary: These shared the aviary with the Blue Capped Waxbills and it may well be that they were the dominant pair and interfered with the Firefinch breeding attempts.




Cut Throat finches

11/04/03 The pair in the outside aviary are incubating eggs.
16/04/03 A nest inspection confirmed that young were present in the nest. Softbill mix was made available to supplement their diet.
13/05/03 The nest was deserted but did contain one youngster nearly feathered.
10/06/03 The hen is again incubating.
28/06/03 The pair in the outside flight again managed to rear a youngster up to pin feather stage, but the baby was found abandoned away from the nest. However, a second pair in an inside flight have laid and are incubating a clutch of five eggs.
02/07/03 The pair in the inside flight have babies in the nestbox. The clutch is in a 'budgie' nest box placed high up in the flight. Luckily I am able to inspect this site from the outside.
23/07/03 Despite ample soft food and unlimited supply of mealworms they expelled the babies from the nest at pin feather stage.
11/08/03 The pair are now using a nestbox at the back of their flight. It is intended this time not to check the nest site at all to see whether it was just interference that brought about the failure of the last nest.
30/08/03 Having decided that it was time to check the new nest site, I carefully examined the box. It contained two dead young and two alive which were just starting to feather. I removed the corpses and hope this does not disturb them to the point of desertion.
Summary:After ample eggs and young, two young finally fledged and survived to independence. In conclusion this pair would have benefited from a very private flight and minimum disturbance.





Heck's Grassfinches

25/04/03 A nest has been made in an open fronted nestbox and one of the pair is to be seen sat there on occasions.
Summary: No activity other than nest building was noted.





Summary: These being 2002 bred were not expected to lay any eggs as they usually mature at two years old. Hopefully they will oblige with an abundance of eggs in 2004.


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