Some years ago I purchased a number of java sparrows from a dealer who said they were a new variety called Ivory: he had obtained them from the continent. They were an off white-coloured mutation, and I was immediately enthused by them, since then I have always had specimens within my collection,which I now believe are called Opal in this country.

On 23rd March 2010, I paired up a pair of these birds, consisting of two splits; this variant is recessive. By the 7th April, the pair was nesting in a budgerigar type nest box, using grass stems and coconut fibre. I checked the nest on the 20th April and discovered 4 eggs had been laid, when I checked the nest again, on the 1st May, several chicks had hatched. The youngsters began to leave the nest on 26th May, first out was an Opal, soon to be joined by another, the remainder consisted of a Normal, two Silvers and a Fawn, 6 in all; a rainbow of colours.

By 2nd July, a second clutch was being laid, in all five hatched, these consisted of 2 more Opals, a Normal, and two Silvers. A third nest was undertaken, chicks from this numbered 4, and consisted of 2 Normals a Fawn and yet another Opal. When I called a halt to proceedings, my rainbow gang numbered 15 birds , of 3 splendid colours, 4 if Normals are included. I intend to show Java Sparrows at World Shows, and the Opal mutation will be the first to be considered. All were closed rung with code j bands as indicated by the IOA . All the chicks were reared on a diet of good quality seeds, millet sprays and mealworms, all dusted with mineral powder. I hope to breed pure strains of each colour, this will, no doubt, include the introduction of better quality stock from time to time.

Bernard Howlett is a respected Judge and Breeder and regular contributor to Cage and Aviary birds, He is to be commended for his success with his British Softbills at the world Show bringing home Gold Medals among others. The committee would like to thank Bernard for his continued support of the JSSUK.