Latest Society News

From time to time, various items of Society News shall be placed on this page.
Please check back regularly to be kept informed.

April, 2011

2011 Photographic Competition – click here

September, 2009

Valé Barry Hutchins – click here

June, 2009

Valé Josie Pyle – click here

May, 2008

Click here to download a .pdf of the 2007 Financial Statements.

May, 2005

colin mckOBITUARY

Colin John McKechnie

1938 – 2005

The passing of Colin McKechnie on 10th March 2005 has left a huge gap in the future management of native and exotic wildlife. Along with this wife Yvonne, children Steven and Sandra and their families, they own and manage the Gorge Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills.

Colin was born into a family that lived for wildlife, both in captivity and the wild. He accepted the lifestyle with love and passion which was obvious while walking around the wildlife park with him.

He was an advocate for responsible keeping of all wildlife. His wildlife knowledge was in great demand throughout Australia. Colin was a speaker at National Bird Conventions and Societies and had a personality that rarely changed, be it in a kangaroo yard or presenting a lecture to several hundred people, with his audience listening to every word.

He was a Patron of the Avicultural Society of South Australia Inc., serving many years as a committee member and a willing speaker at general meetings.

An inaugural (1985) member of the South Australian National Parks Consultative Committee for the Keeping and Trading in Native Fauna, holding the positions of Vice Chairman, Chairman and committee person spanning 20 years. Also during that time a member of the National Parks Wildlife Advisory Committee, Chairman of the Wildlife Exhibitors Association of South Australia, and a member of the Exotic Bird Advisory Committee reporting to the Australian Government.

The achievements by the McKechnie family of first bird breeding reports in captivity (at least 20 bronze medals) shows the dedication that was given to the birds in their care, and Colin’s observation of bird behaviour was well-known.

We have lost a very good friend but he has left us all much wiser.

To his wife Yvonne, children Steven and Sandra and their families, we extend our heartfelt sympathy.

Barry R. Hutchins OAM

October, 2004

The Society congratulates Bob Cleaver (below with the Award) for winning the Claude E Bennett Award for 2003. This Award is presented each year for the article considered to of most benefit to aviculture printed in the previous year.  Bob has been a member of the Society since the late 1970′s and has written some excellent articles for BKIA, including a very in-depth article on aviary construction and even ran a workshop at a General Meeting on that topic. He has since retired from the aviary manufacturing business but still remains a member of the Society. We are pleased to award him the Claude E Bennett Award for his article on Handraising Kookaburras, as published in the Autumn 2003 Journal.

birds 007b

Hints for rat & mouse bait stations

To attract rats and mice into the bait stations, sprinkle baits with vanilla essence.  To deter slugs and snails (which eat the baits and spread the poison through their droppings) coat the station entrance with a strong salt solution.

June, 2004

Question : What are the best greens to feed to birds in captivity?

Answer : Many of the ordinary grasses in season are among the best. Silverbeet will serve to satisfy their requirements during most of the year, and of course seeding grasses in semi-ripe stage are among the best. Thistles should be avoided—some birds enjoy the seed in the flower heads, but should not be allowed to eat the leaves. Any plant that contains a white sap should not be fed to the birds. They are toxic and will cause stomach disorders.


Question : What early symptoms are most evident in birds that are “going light”?

Answer : Usually a bird that is observed picking around in seed husks as if searching for something it never seems to find is suspect. If observed, catch it up immediately and check its body condition, especially around the breast bone area. If it is lacking condition then the bird is on the way to “going light”. It should not have a sharp feeling keel bone. This could be due to worms, coccidiosis or some other intestinal complaint and should be treated accordingly, possibly with the worm treatment in the first instance.


After a couple of enquiries from ‘Subscription Members” asking for a password to access the “Online Members only” section of the Society’s website, the differences between the two types of membership are explained below. These types of membership are further explained in the Society’s Constitution (copies available from the Secretary or via the general access area of the website).

Subscription Members can enjoy all the benefits of membership, including having the Society’s monthly Magazines posted to them. They also are able to vote on Society matters or serve on Committee.

Online Membership was introduced as an option with the constitution amendments approved at the 2004 AGM. It was generally intended to be an option for those aviculturists who could not attend meetings, such as those living interstate or overseas. Online Members can access the “Online Members only” section of the Society website, where an electronic version of the magazines are provided. They are not entitled to receive a hardcopy of the Society’s magazine, Bird Keeping In Australia, nor do they have the right to vote for Office-bearers or Committee persons, or to serve on Committee.

It was never intended that Subscription Members have access to the “Online Members only” website section. The only information contained in that area is what a Subscription Member receives in their magazine.

For further information please refer to paragraphs C.4 and C.9 of the Constitution.


After seeking advice from the S.A. National Parks & Wildlife Service, the Management Committee has decided following policy will apply when advertising birds through the Society. Branches are advised they should also adopt the same policy.

When advertising birds for sale via a notice board at a Society (or Branch) Meeting or via the internet, where the advertising person’s name and telephone number appear in the advertisement, the advertisement shall include their Fauna Permit Number. Failure to do so may constitute a breach of the National Parks & Wildlife Act and may attract a fine.

Advertisements not containing the bird owner’s details, such as a general listing though an Exchange Steward, need not contain the Permit Number as these listings are only advising others what birds are available, not advertising the actual birds.

May, 2004


It is with deepest regret that we note the recent passing of prominent Queensland, and former South Australian, aviculturist Ray Garwood.

Ray was raised at Winkie in the S.A. Riverland but later moved to Queensland where he and wife, Phyl, established Garwood’s Pheasant Park. In addition to his love of gallinaceous birds, Ray kept and bred a wide variety of finches and parrots; and had special fondness for soft-billed birds.

In the 1980s, Ray, and our own Colin McDonough, were jointly responsible for saving the Ruddy Dove from near extinction in Australian aviaries.

Ray was a keen worker for aviculture and held, amongst many other leading roles, the following administrative positions in various avicultural organizations : Long-time President of the Avicultural Society of Queensland, Chair of the Queensland Avicultural Council, Chair of the Planning Committee for the Second National Avicultural Convention (Brisbane 1983), Chair of The Board of The Avicultural Federation of Australia.

Ray was an active aviculturist right up until the time of his sudden passing on Easter Saturday. His oft stated avicultural philosophy was:

“Put the birds first, aviculture second, and self last.”

We extend our deepest sympathy to Phyl; and daughters Malanie and Fiona.

Richard CHILTON (President).

March, 2004


Amendments to the Constitution, and its related documents, were proposed at the 2004 AGM. The Sub-Committee Secretary, Dan Hassell, spoke to the meeting and explained the reasons for such upgrade to those present. He explained an anomaly that had recently been brought to the attention of the Committee, thereby causing a slight alteration to the Office-Bearers document, as distributed. This related to the Treasurers duties, as listed in the Constitution and the Office-Bearers documents. They differed in that one said a Financial Statement was to be presented, subject to audit, at the AGM while the other asked for an audited Statement. They have now both been made ‘unaudited’. Questions were then called for about the amendments, there being none.

The amended documents were put to the vote for acceptance, and were passed unanimously.

The amended documents will now be registered with the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs, as per the Associations Incorporation Act.

A copy of all 5 documents will be posted to Branch Secretaries, who are asked to destroy the ‘Draft Copies’ previously sent to them. If individual members wish to receive copies of the documents they are available, upon written request including a stamped and self-addressed A4 sized envelope, from The Secretary, P.O. Box 485, North Adelaide, S.A. 5006. The documents are also available below -

Society Rules
Awards Guidelines
Branch Guidelines
Office Bearers Guidelines


Q. Can Fire Finches be reared without live food?

A. It is possible to rear these birds without the supply of live food. The chances are far better if they are housed in a large aviary which has in it shrubs and other growth which encourages insects. When Fire Finches have young in nest they will be observed foraging around in debris and shrubs for live food, and if any is about they will most certainly find it and, providing they get sufficient, they will rear the young.

To assist them in their search for food, turn over some of the soil in the aviary. It is surprising what they get out of this. Small areas can be sown with seed, and when it is noticed that this is starting to sprout rough up the top soil so the birds can get at the sprouted seed. This is one of the best types of food they can have to assist them in their chores of rearing young when live food is withheld. It is very doubtful whether they will do the job on a seed diet alone, but if this is supplemented with an abundance of seeding grasses it might make it possible.



A rare cockatoo is heading to Adelaide for a new life today.

Ben, a Palm Cockatoo which was found as a scrawny chick with a broken wing in Queensland, will arrive tonight.

It will be socialised with two Palm Cockatoos at the Adelaide Zoo – the only public zoo in Australia with the species.

The Palm Cockatoo is a north Queensland icon, and ideally Ben would remain there. But to teach it how to behave like a palm cockatoo it must live with others of the species.

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