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Sharon Holscher ~

"Sams Valley woman's birds bring joy"

Reprinted with permission from the Upper Rogue Independent, by F.C Blake

She started at age ten in Winnipeg, Manitoba with one pet "budgie." (In America they're called parakeets.) Casual observers would be amazed at the knowledge and skill Sams Valley resident Sharon Holscher has since amassed in handling feathered little vertebrates.

"I lived in Southern California for a few years," Holscher said. "There I bought a few birds that got along well in cages."

Sharon HolscherOver the years, she acquired information by researching and observing. She read library books, but found those resources limited. She noted the best way to learn was from experienced hobbyists.

She and spouse Dan moved to the Upper Rogue area in 1995. On five bucolic acres within sight of Mt. McLaughlin, they erected their multi-sectioned, screened aviaries. "We have one breeding aviary and two smaller holding ones," she says. There she raises an array of colorful winged friends, numbering approximately 180. "It's hard to give an exact total, because as some are hatched, and others are sold, you have to start counting all over again."

Three years after arriving in Oregon, she joined the Northwest Bird Club, where she now serves as treasurer. Until 2005, their membership of ninety held annual Bird-marts at Jackson County Expo. Now the organization must stage these in Josephine County Fairgrounds, as the structure they'd used at Expo no longer permits live animals.

In addition to an impressive variety of parakeet species, she displayed several other breeds including some multi-colored examples of Lady Gouldian finches. Named after the wife of ornithologist John Gouldian, this species' young must be shunned by humans. "If a person handles, or even looks too closely at the babies," Holscher says, "the finch's mother probably will abandon the nest. That's not true of parakeets, though."

The care and intricate detail evident throughout her aviaries reveal Holscher's love for the tiny creatures she nurtures. Overhead perches, branches, and twigs provide fledglings and adults ample opportunity for wing exercise. Nesting boxes line the walls' center sections. Along the ground, shallow waters flow into bathing areas.

On the lawn outside, she scoops up fistfuls from the first cutting of freshly mown grass. "I'll put these in the nests," she says. "No pesticides go near our babies. I feed them seed, beans, rice, and broccoli."

When asked what advice she'd give to a potential purchaser, she said "Talk to people selling them. I picked up a lot of information about finches from Northwest Bird Club member Ann Valencia. For breeding, you need to know dietary, housing, heat requirements, life-span, and how social or aggressive they are."

"For pets, decide how much time you'll want to spend with them. Make sure you can hold them. Research the species. Buy from someone who hand-feeds, and hand-tames them. Otherwise, you may find they'll bite if they're not used to being handled."

The Northwest Bird Club holds monthly meetings at which they feature guest speakers, some hailing from Eugene or Portland. The website at www.northwestbirdclub.org provides more information.


Contact: Sharon@northwestbirdclub.org

Sharon's is also listed on the Breeder's List