Editor's letter (April 23 issue)

I wasn't too sure whether to laugh or cry when I first heard about the “budgieman” – real name Don Crown – late last week. 
I had never seen his performances, complete with catchy tunes and a small collection of talented budgerigars, out the front of the Tate Modern – despite the fact that the Cage & Aviary Birds office is close by.
But the magic of the internet soon solved that, and not long later I was watching videos of him on my computer, some of which we’ve now posted on this blog for everyone else to enjoy.
The fact that Mr Crown is no longer allowed to “busk” at this popular tourist site (see our news story in this week's issue) should worry all birdkeepers, for no matter what you think of performance artists, “budgieman” did a lot to broaden the appeal of birdkeeping – and his absence means visitors to London will no longer get to experience the joy of seeing budgerigars close-up.
It’s particularly sad that children will no longer get to see the show, because part of budgieman’s magic was inviting youngsters to interact with the birds – no doubt many returned home to badger mum and dad for a budgerigar of their own!
A quick glimpse at the “fan mail” section of his website demonstrates his popular appeal. “We were totally amazed at the birds, you and the act in general, it was the most down to earth and one of the most rewarding things we have seen,” writes a visitor from Australia. “Our son and daughter-in-law were entranced as we were, and as previous owners of budgies we know how many hours you must have spent in training them, but how happy they seemed.”
Fortunately, not all is lost, as budgieman plans to continue visiting schools with his ensemble of talented budgerigars, providing the sort of positive PR that our hobby so desperately needs.