Ornamental birds

Birds, birds, and more birds – that’s what I saw this past weekend. A friend of mine rose really early in the morning, picked me up, and we drove down to the fairgrounds in Paris, Ontario. Although  because of the heavy fog we were a wee bit late for the 8.30am opening, but we were not too late to have a good look at the large number of carefully boxed birds that were there to be auctioned.

Where we were, folks, was at the Canadian Ornamental Pheasant & Game Bird Association spring auction. Nowhere, in this part of the world, will you find a better collection of well-kept birds in any one location. Along one side of the arena were two rows of end-to-end tables loaded with triple-depth boxes facing from both sides.

Each box had a portion of the side removed and replaced with a wire screening, which gave the birds ample air yet gave sufficient view of the bird being sold.

By volunteer helpers, the boxes crossed the auctioneer’s table as though it was a single chain, and when the hammer came down saying whatever was sold, a number of volunteers stood ready to deliver to whomever and collect from the purchaser. Not often do you see any operation so well organized, administered, and in short order cleaned up afterwards.

Back out the door, heading to new homes, were geese, several breeds of ducks, turkeys, peacocks, pigeons, doves, fancy bantams, and a numerous number of almost any breed of pheasant that one could possibly want. Although the arena was packed, shoulder to shoulder, with buyers, sellers, and onlookers, like the flushing of a toilet, in five minutes, the building was vacant – leaving me, a straggler, negotiating the ice-patched empty parking lot with my trusty cane. It was a fun and exciting day, I’m sure, for all.

On the way home, I saw a single pair of Canada geese cropping the green shoots, of obvious fall wheat, at the edge of a melt-water pond.

Back home, a pair of horned larks sang from the top rail of a short ornamental fence.

A red-winged blackbird slipped through the netting that covered my pheasant pens to sneak a couple of kernels of corn that I had placed in a dish for my trio of Mandarin ducks, which were dipping and diving in their little, now ice- free, pond.

Across the field, again and again, I could hear the repeated call of an early returning flicker.

I’m thinking winter is nearly over and spring is here. Soon I’ll be seeing bluebirds on the fence posts and robins hopping across the lawn. The morning air here at Westwind Farms will soon be filled with warm winds, sunshine, and returning bird songs. What more could you want?

Take care, ’cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins