Editor's Letter (April 30)

Most of us probably don’t think twice when we pick up the paintbrush to redecorate the birdroom or paint a cage – we simply want to get the job done as quickly and cheaply as possible. But if you read David Alderton’s special report in this week's issue on the safety of the paint we use for these relatively routine jobs, you might think twice about what you dip that paintbrush into. Without wishing to scaremonger, David points out that some paints contain up to 10,000 different chemicals, some of which can be harmful to human and bird health. In fact, come next January, the EU is bringing in new controls on paints to help minimise these health risks. You can find out more, including where to source bird-safe paints, in David’s report. This issue also includes a report on a new mutation lovebird, the pale fallow taranta (see our cover story). According to the author Dirk Van Den Abeele, who is president of the Belgian Lovebird Society, there are only two of these birds in existence, which were bred by a fancier in Germany. Regardless of whether you agree with the creation of new mutations (I know some people believe there’s no point in trying to improve on nature), this is a fascinating account of lovebird genetics. Finally, if you like pottering around in the garden (as many birdkeepers do), don’t miss your chance to obtain a free herb garden pack – there’s one for every reader. Each pack comprises six popular herbs (parsley, basil, thyme, coriander, oregano and chives), an instructional DVD that shows you how to create your own herb garden, and a three-piece tool-kit (trowel, fork and planter) to get you started. To claim yours, just add £2.65 towards postage. Full details are on page 18 of this week's issue. Please allow 28 days for delivery.