Find motivation and friendship with birds of feather
EVERYONE needs a reason to get up in the morning and for two Gold Coast women who've been through extremely tough times in recent years, their birds provide that motivation.
Helensvale woman Julieanne Mathieson suffered a horrific allergic reaction to the antibiotic gentamicin four years ago. It destroyed her sense of balance and forced her to stop work, driving and many other everyday activities, and as she says "redefined me".
Previously an unstoppable go-getter, the former entertainer turned casino security expert hit the proverbial brick wall.
Desperately seeking something to reinvigorate her interest in life, the 57-year-old's husband bought her a pair of fischer's lovebirds.
That was three years ago and today Julieanne has an aviary of about 30 birds, including canaries, gouldian and cordon-bleu finches and orange-breasted waxbills.
"I'm hooked," Julieanne said. "While I'm working with my birds it's very therapeutic and relaxing. It distracts me from the pain and the real problems I have going on.
"My birds have been my saving grace. They're my reason for getting up in the morning. I'm always thinking 'how I can make their world better?' It gives me a purpose in life because they rely on me."
Julieanne is a member of the Gold Coast Aviary and Bird Association (GCABA), which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Club president Lyn Carrhas kept birds since she was a child but she is well aware of their therapeutic benefits after a number of family losses.
"If it wasn't for my birds, I would have fallen over in a heap," the 59-year-old said.
"You know they depend on you entirely. So you have to get up every day and give them their feed and water. And it's such a lovely surprise when they have babies, and to see their lovely colours."
Both women recommend birdkeeping for retirees or people needing an interest, suggesting they start with a pair of birds such as budgies, lovebirds or cockatiels.
But be warned, once you start it is hard to stop at just one pair. Lyn's collection now includes galahs, peach faces, cockatiels, canaries, 30-plus budgies, African greys, a blue-throated Amazon and a green-cheeked conure.
GCABA members range from 10 to over 80 years of age, including a family of three generations of "birdos".
The club will host a bird sale at the main pavilion of Mudgeeraba Showground on Sunday, October 16, from 10am-1pm.
More than 400 people went through the doors at the last sale, and Lyn said it was a great way to meet breeders and find out more about the hobby. Entry is just $2 for adults.
Alternatively, the club meets on the third Friday of each month at the showground, and while there are guest speakers, sales tables and more, Lyn admitted most of the talking and sharing of tips goes on around the supper table.
For inquiries, phone Lyn on 0411048348 or visit goldcoastaviary bird.org.au.