My Lifelong Passion


I have had a passion for birds for about as long as I can remember. They have always fascinated me with their beautiful, bright colours and their ability to fly so effortlessly. My obsession with birds really started when, at the age of six or seven, I found a Pale-headed Rosella in my grandmother’s chicken coop. At that time I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. As I watched that beautiful bird fly off into the nearby trees I decided that I must have a bird of my own.

To my immense delight my birthday present that year was a handraised female Pearl Cockatiel. I clearly remember bragging about my beautiful Cockatiel named Hippy to my very disinterested classmates. Hippy was my best friend.
Later that year my mum purchased a handraised male Cockatiel that we named Nelson and, together, Nelson and Hippy made up my very first pair of Cockatiels.

Every year I anxiously awaited some baby Cockatiels of my own and although there were eggs laid each year, they were always clear. I had come to the conclusion that one of the birds must have been infertile and although I was disappointed I was determined not to give up.

The arrival of my first aviary is a day that I will never forget. I was so excited that I asked Mum if I could sleep in it that night—but she said ‘No’. I had a vision of the entire yard being full of big, beautiful aviaries and it was a vision that I intended on making a reality. As my Cockatiel aviary reached its capacity I decided to set up another aviary and buy a couple of budgies. Soon I had baby budgies and Cockatiels all over the place! I was thrilled, to say the least. There’s nothing quite as cute as a newly hatched Cockatiel!
By that time I was already hooked. I found birds to be much like Pringles®—you can’t just have one! I was constantly researching different species and gathering as much information as possible. I was seriously considering purchasing a pair of Ringnecks when a breeder swayed me in another direction and I’m so glad that she did. I came home one day to find a beautiful little green Quaker Parrot in my room. I fell in love with her straight away and I immediately wanted a couple of pairs of my own.

I now own three gorgeous pairs of Quakers and I’m eagerly awaiting babies again this year. It took nearly seven years to find a suitable mate for my original green Quaker as she rejected all the other birds I had tried to pair her up with. It was a very frustrating process but I’m extremely happy that I was eventually able to pair her up and continue her line.

A little while back I decided to take a leap and purchase a pair of Eclectus Parrots. Fortunately I was able to handraise them both myself and they turned into beautiful birds. Sadly, however, I made the difficult decision to sell both of them because our neighbours weren’t too fond of their noise. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss them. They are truly magnificent birds and a great addition to any collection. I hope one day to own another pair so that I can produce a couple of babies of my own.

It was around that same time that I was given the nickname ‘crazy bird lady’ by most of my school mates and this was eventually the name by which I was known throughout most of the school. It felt great when kids I didn’t even know would walk up to me and ask me for advice about their birds. 

Soon my collection was increasing again. I added a couple of pairs of Alexandrines and Ringnecks to my collection. I fell in love with the Alexandrines in particular. They are such beautiful birds and I could easily own 100 pairs and would never tire of them. My mother and sister also became very fond of them and their ‘moon baby’ voices. Their ability to chew is unbelievable! At one stage I was replacing their perches nearly every week. In fact I once heard a man call them ‘piranhas with feathers’ which I found to be a fairly accurate description of these beautiful birds.

As lovely as exotics are, there isn’t anything lovelier then our very own natives. I’d much prefer a pair of Princess Parrots over a pair of Sun Conures. There’s nothing quite like the sound of Bourke’s Parrots in the afternoon or the beauty of the Scarlet-chested Parrot. 
Any person with a passion for birds has, at one time or another, considered a planted finch aviary. This is something that is definitely on my ‘to do list’ and is hopefully something that I can get started on in the near future. Filling it with dozens of Double-barred Finches will be my very first priority.  

I now have experience in constructing my own aviaries however it was quite some time before I felt confident enough to rise to the challenge as I didn’t have building experience of any description at first. But with the help (and wallet) of my mother I was able to build my first double suspended aviary which now houses a pair of Quakers and a pair of Green-cheeked Conures. There’s a great sense of accomplishment in watching your birds fly around in something you made yourself—no matter how much of an eyesore it may be!
 Aviculture is most definitely a hobby that should be encouraged. It’s a great way to meet friends and gain knowledge from people who have had first-hand experience. I have personally met some fantastic people over the short years I have been interested in birds and I hope to meet many more.

Although you can learn a lot from other people I have found that learning from your own mistakes and failures is sometimes the best way. Something that may have worked for someone else might not work for you and vice versa. It’s very important to learn as much as you possibly can and if you don’t know then ask! I have found that there is always someone willing to help and encourage you.
I still get excited at seeing the first egg of the year or checking the nesting box to find a tiny little chick curled up on an egg. It never ceases to amaze me how a life can be created within a couple of short weeks. Rushing in to tell my family and listening to their false enthusiasm is always something that I look forward to.

For any type of bird lover, Australian BirdKeeper magazine is definitely a must. It’s full of great information and is written by very knowledgeable people in aviculture. Attending your local bird expos and sales is another great way to meet new people and a great place to ask for advice and, of course, to see some interesting birds. Finally, reading books is very important. Nothing can top the amount of information you can learn from reading a couple of books. I have read countless bird books and each one always has something new to teach me.

I’m lucky to have such a supportive mother who has encouraged my obsession for birds. Without her help and encouragement I would never have made it to where I am now. The good always trumps the bad. Perseverance really is the key to this hobby and it’s ALWAYS worth it.
I can see myself in 30 years’ time, sitting in my backyard staring at my dozens of aviaries and admiring how far I’ve come. I really can’t wait for that day and for the day that I finally get to own my dream bird. My life will be complete once I’m able to sit in front of my TV with a Blue and Gold Macaw sitting next to me!
Lyndal is 15-years-old and lives in Caboolture, Queensland. She has cared for a variety of different bird species, some of which she has handraised and others which she has bred. Her dream is to own a Blue and Gold Macaw.