The bird show is coming up this weekend. I have eight canaries that were born this spring and have yet to have their sex determined. There are five society finches, and I’ve only positively identified two males in the bunch. So here I sit in the living room, with cages hanging from the ceiling, cages crammed onto tables, and cages sitting on top of chairs. A you tube video of canary song is playing in the background. My head swivels this way and that, trying to see who is twittering and if that twitter is enough to call an attempt to sing or not. And four of the canaries haven’t even been moved out here yet.
Scott jokingly told me I should just perform the needle method! Great idea! So quick and easy, and hey, I’d have a 50-50 chance at being right. Every time we go to a bird show, we see someone – and often someone that is supposed to be a great breeder with a good reputation – hauling out a needle on thread and holding it over a bird to determine the sex. If the needle swings straight, you have a male; if it swings in a circle, a hen. Of course one of these great breeders is the same guy that sold me a hen that was supposed to be a year old that proved to be several years older than that. I kick myself for that one, because the bird was banded and I did not ask to see the band. I never thought someone that had actually banded a bird would then lie about it when it could so easily be proven as false. Scruples are not in everyone’s bag of tricks, I guess.
I’ve been ripped off a few times over the years, and I’m sure I will be again. One time a woman was trading me a couple of lutino cockatiels for some babies. She assured me the lutinos were a proven pair, and even gave me a list of the babies they had had. Not many days went by before BOTH birds were laying eggs!
Tomorrow is really the last day I have for trying to sex these kids. That needle is starting to look appealing!