Fife Canary
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Terry Kelly


Breeder, Exhibitor and Show Judge of the Fife Canary

Terry Kelly has been the top breeder, exhibitor and judge of Fife Canaries since the late 1980’s. Over this period he has won many of the major honours at specialist Fife Canary shows and the National Exhibition of Cage and Aviary Birds. His Fifes are in constant demand in this country and worldwide.

Apart from breeding Fifes Terry has written a best selling book on the Fife and has also produced DVDs and videos on the Fife Canary, which were all internationally acclaimed.

Terry Kelly - Top Breeder, Exhibitor, and Show Judge On a cold Wednesday afternoon in March 1959, while I was still a pupil at Batley Grammar School, I went to Dewsbury market to collect my first pair of Bullfinches for the princely sum of £2, saved from my pocket money.  Bullfinches were the birds of my dreams and to this day I enjoy their occasional visits to my garden. Thus began a lifelong love of aviculture. To own, breed and care for my own birds was to prove an irresistible challenge that I still find exciting to this day.

I did not exhibit a bird for 20 years. My love was breeding native species in natural conditions, moving from hardbills such as the Bullfinch to softbills such as the Redstart and Grey Wagtails. Along the way I flirted with different types of canary (my grandfather had kept Borders) and I moved on to them entirely when I discovered the gem of all canaries: the Fife.

Over 30 years ago I read a quote from a leading fancier in the avicultural magazine Cage & Aviary Birds in which he reminded readers that foreign bird keeping was the fastest growing section of aviculture in Britain: Sooner or later the newcomer to foreign birds realises he wants the ‘Perfect Bird’ – a seedeater with no need for livefood, peaceful, attractive and beautiful… must have a lovely song, must breed readily and without traumatic complications and is not expensive. He came to the conclusion that the only bird that satisfied all of these requirements was a Canary.

The Fife Canary more than any other meets these requirements today. It comes in a wide variety of colours and is now well established as the most popular breed of canary in the United Kingdom and in many other parts of the world.

I like to feel I have played a part in this meteoric rise in popularity. When I started keeping birds in 1959 the Fife canary was not even in existence. Over the last 20 years I have bred over 3,000 Fife canaries which have been distributed throughout the world, thus enabling other fanciers to achieve great success. I have won every major Fife show in the country and, in the late 1980’s, when I probably had the finest stud of Fife canaries in the world, won all the major honours at the National Exhibition of Cage and Aviary Birds held in Birmingham. I am now Chairman of the North of England Fife Fancy Canary Club and was secretary for many of its formative years. In this time I helped to turn it into the largest Fife club in the world, with the largest specialist Fife show held each year on the penultimate Sunday of November. I have also encouraged the popularity of the Fife canary in my regular articles in Cage & Aviary Birds.

Over the last 10 years the Fife’s popularity has increased many fold and the top exhibits have improved beyond recognition. For this reason I have chosen to give the Fife Canary the recognition it now deserves by writing a book and producing some DVDs and videos which hopefully will help exhibitors and newcomers alike in this most wonderful of hobbies.

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(c) Terry Kelly & SL