AFA Red Siskin Project - Quarterly Update


Conservation and Research for AFA. Walt will oversee RSP. Other projects on Walt's assignment are: CITES, Cooperative Breeding Programs; Exotic Bird Registry.

While our birds are nesting this quarter it is time to say "thank you" to those clubs, individuals, businesses, and AFA members who seriously understand the importance of the Red Siskin Project (RSP). This provides a financial boost, not to mention the good message it sends to breeders and volunteers. Each dollar donated went to assisting birds being moved through cargo preventative vet checks last fall. Birds were able to be located to new breeders coming on board, retrieving birds donated, and providing a resource to respond to rescue birds in the future. All forwarded funds and expenses are overseen and reported to AFA's Donna Mallory CPA and Chief Financial Office. Donna, by the way, does a fantastic job of keeping the RSP's accountability and in compliance.

Our Special thanks go to:

• Florida's Treasure Coast Exotic Bird Club donated a $300.00 check. In addition, donated table space for, member and RSP breeder Ron Castaner. Ron set-up and man which brought in $207.10. All Proceeds were donated to the Red Siskin Project.

• New York's International Canary Club who purchased RSP totes. Embroidered totes were used as awards to their top bench winners at their bird show last fall. What a creative way to support both winner and aviculture!

• Higgins Group Corporation's cash donation $200.00 and 50lb millet spray.

• Gary at Bird Daddy Exotics, at, has offered to donate a percentage of sales back to the Project that each AFA member for all the Versele Laga and Orlux products. This euro blend of wild seed siskins contained in the Blattner's mix appears to be a nice supplement in addition to the standard Siskin mix used by breeders now.

• Ashe Husein of North Brunswick, NJ. for providing technical support for the Red Siskin Project's new website. Visit the new site at:

http :// =redsiskinproj ect

Over the past few months RSP has received correspondence and questions. We'd like to share some of them with you:

Comments: "There is much interest here in the Red Siskin but unfortunately everyone seems to keep their 

advise or know-how to themselves, breeders seems to be very secretive about their stock, breeding tricks, and getting advise is very difficult."

• "I have read your RSP details with interest and would like to know more and even exchange comments and ideas with breeders."

RSP Response: One of the benefits of communication is sharing and exchanging information. RSP breeders are willing to share their husbandry information with everyone. It is also our goal to educate about these birds. There was a detailed article in Watchbird's 2nd Quarter issue. Outlined were the basics and some detail of keeping and breeding siskins. We hope that it was helpful for AFA members to find this information.

Question: "I have maintained a state permit for Red Siskins since I was a member of the old RSRP. Now that it is apparently defunct, is it necessary for me to have a Federal permit as well as a state permit ifl want to maintain a small stud of my own."

RSP Answer: Aviculture has come to a place where breeders need to be aware and make it their business to stay on top of such rules and keep an eye on what their state may want to pass. No permit is required for no commerce ($) type activities for any individual. "No Commerce" is defined as trading one Siskin for one Siskin. So if this individual wanted to stay independent with no federal permits that is okay. Each state requirement is another story. Most states require permits now for just holding birds. No getting around that legally once the law is on the books. AFA has always advocated that its members to get involved to help avoid unnecessary state regulations. Don't wait for someone to do it for you.

The Recovery part of RSRP is still active. It isn't defunct but has changed its direction, leadership, and has been reorganized. We're still here and welcome you join us!

Comment: "Everyone on the internet said it is so easy to breed those birds, I try to follow what other siskin breeder's suggestion on the internet, but I guess every breeder has different methods. They bred thousands of Red Siskin in Europe, and I have problem breeding any. I know something is missing."

RSP Response: As with everything, it's never easy unless you know how. Once you know then it's easy. There isn't much written on Red Siskins other than basics in 

ornithology books which are observations and data. The RSP wants you to be successful with your birds. There are like species you can find information on. The Green Singing Finches and Canaries for example. Compare those basic husbandry requirements against what you are doing now. Seed of course is the exception. Sounds like some fine adjustments will get your birds breeding.