Editor's letter (May 14 issue)

Judging by the number of people overloading their trolleys with bedding plants and all manner of terracotta pots at my local garden centre this past weekend, now is the time to get busy in the garden. If you’re thinking about putting up a new aviary we’ve done some leg work for you and listed eight ready-made ones on the market, or if you want to cut costs and build your own, then Mark Perry provides some hot tips. Even regular contributor Bill Naylor’s got into the act, showing you just how easy it is to build a pond that your birds will love. And if that isn’t enough, our resident team of experienced fanciers has also provided some handy tips on buying aviaries, building aviaries, fitting aviaries out and stocking them with birds. We hope you find our focus on aviaries helpful and inspiring – let us know how you get on! In this issue we’re also running a competition to win the much-anticipated book, Birds of the Horn of Africa, the first-ever field guide that details all the bird species that live in the north-east of the African continent. Anyone interested in foreign birds will appreciate this newly published title by A&C Black. We have five copies, valued at £29.99 each, to give away. 
Last, but by no means least, I was very sad to learn of the death of Ron Evans, the IOA president. I was fortunate to meet Ron on several occasions, most recently at last year’s Bird Show of the Year, and he greeted me like an old friend, hand outstretched with a beaming smile on his face. He was always frank in his views but never at the expense of his good manners. The fancy will be all the poorer without him, and I offer my condolences to his family at this difficult time.