NFSS at the AFA Convention ... Turkey Anyone?


On Saturday, August 5th, at the AFA convention in Los Angeles, Sally Huntington (NFSS 6th regional vice president) and Vince I luntington ("Sally's Husband") presented an NFSS sponsored one hour workshop entitled"! land Raised, Handfed Finches and Softhills As Companion Birch . .,

A group of about 30 AFA conventioneers gathered at the NFSS presentation that found the Huntingtons sitting inside a 12 by 8 foot netted enclosure made especially for the presentation. Surrounded hy small cages which faced away from their audience, the Huntingtons introduced, one hy one, several hand raised and handfed birds to the pleasure, entertainment and education of everyone present.

When introduced, the birds sat on fingers or shoulders, or made their way calmly around the enclosure as Sally delivered a brief history of each bird, including how it was handfed, on what, and for how long.

The hero of the show was to he a male Red-headed Finch who was hatched on Thanksgiving Day 1999, thus named Turkey. Turkey was to show off how Sally had experimented with the brief song and language-window that is opened for many finches within a few days or weeks after hatching. Turkey, was to speak out and say "Oh Turkey" and "Turkey, out, Turkey, Turkey"

Well, as expected, Turkey did not utter a word.

Vince and Sally continued their presentation. They brought forth "Who" a five-month-old Bicheno (Owl) Finch who was colony bred in a flight that included African Mouse-birds. Who was joined by a two-inch-long Yellowlegged Honeycreeper named Gem. Gem (and a nest mate) had been parent hatched in a 2-1/z by 2-'/2 by 4 foot cage in their living room in San Diego. They had been provided 15 hours of vita lighting, plenty of tiny mealworrns, 24-hour heat lamp and a cape honeysuckle plant to hide in. Sally took Gem to raise and study, and left the mate with the parents.

Bucket and Squeegie. joined Who and Gem. Squeegie, an Orangecheeked Waxhill had been neglected by parents in an outside flight. Bucket, an Orange-breasted Gray Zebra Finch, when a week old, was brought in to provide Squeegie with a "warmfriend." As expected, Bucket and Squeegie are fast friends.

While new birds were brought forth, including Marty, a Blue-gray Tanager, Fernando, a Brazilian Redcrested Cardinal, Hershey, a chocolate Self-Society Finch, Stilton, their fouryear-old Blue-naped Mousebird, and Kuchuing, a two-week-old Pekin Robin, wouldn't you know, Turkey remained mute.

While everyone waited for Turkey to speak his name, Sally brought forth Paul Williams, a Blue Button Quail (named after a button quail fancier), and Fluffy...