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Where Have All The Normals Gone?

The mutation situation — should we look to the past as we march into the future?

By Rebecca Sweat

When Melinda Powell of Texas walked into her local pet store, her eyes went straight to the cages of “fancy parakeets.” The store carried cobalt blue, purple, mauve, bright yellow, gray, tan, seafoam and all-white budgies, along with the traditional green variety.

“I had no idea that budgies came in so many different colors,” said Powell, who had gone to the pet store in search of a budgie for her 8-year-old daughter, Lauren. “Last time I shopped for budgies was when I was a kid and, back then, there were just green parakeets and blue budgies. I was amazed at how many beautiful colors there were to choose from at this store — varieties that weren’t around 30 to 40 years ago.” She and her daughter chose a harlequin budgie, which was mostly white, with a cobalt blue belly.

You too may be awed, amazed or astonished by the variety of pet birds available today. Of course, there have been pretty birds for sale in pet stores for as long as people have been keeping birds as pets. The natural beauty of these species is probably what caused people to take them from the wild and breed them in captivity in the first place. But aviculturists have gone a step further. They’ve taken the “normal” birds and, through selective breeding programs, established a slew of new varieties in recent years.

**For the full article, pick up the June issue of BIRD TALK**

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