Janice Al-Nasser - A Profile
As a child I kept a few budgies in a small cage and flight in the garden, and also bred a few. During childhood and adolescence I had some very weird pets including a grass snake, slow worms, spiders (kept at primary school, not at home) plus the usual ones of mice, hamsters and dogs. So it was hardly surprising that, when my ex-husband brought home two baby budgies for me, it would mark the start of something greater.
A cage was duly made and a few more budgies collected. These were then housed in double breeding cages in a small bedroom and multiplied! A small shed was erected in the garden with a flight attached. Breeding cages were installed in the garage and the bug had bitten! This was in about 1975. I think that I bred almost every colour and combination, including Rainbows. For five years this continued until, having purchased Cage & Aviary Birds my ex-husband and I went along to the North Essex Budgerigar Society meeting. This was the start of a long association with this club. Little did I realise that I would go on to be Secretary and a Vice President!
In my early days in Colchester, Essex I made friends with Ken Gray and John & Jean Smith, successful novice partnership at the time. My ex-husband (although we were a registered partnership) stayed at home and built cages, nest boxes, flights etc. when required, while I managed the birds, attended meetings and became really involved in the fancy. I joined the London and Southern Counties BS in 1981 and the BS in 1983.
At that time the fancy was very male dominated and still is to some extent. Therefore I was expected to be tea maker, fundraiser etc. However, I rebelled and refused to spend evenings in the kitchen making tea whilst the men listened to the speaker. This was the first hurdle. Nevertheless, I still sensed the feeling "give her a short while and she'll go back to her knitting!" This is a generalisation as one or two people, notably Ken Gray and John & Jean Smith took me seriously from the outset.
The second hurdle came in 1982 when chief stewards were being arranged for the North Essex BS open show. My name was put forward, it was dismissed as, not only was I a beginner (albeit rather successful) but also a woman. John Smith fought my case and it was reluctantly agreed that I should try (though they felt sure I would make a hash of it). My judge was the late Jack Freshney who, at the close of judging thanked me and informed the show officials of my efficiency. Things were looking up! In fact the same judge came to Colchester and brought me two pairs from his stud to help me on the road.
Once I started winning on the show bench I gained credibility, as I was able to discuss the birds, their breeding, backgrounds, various features etc. I think it was at this point that I really began to be taken seriously as a genuine fancier.
During my years as a beginner and novice I concentrated on the 'normal/dominant' varieties; i.e. Greens, Blues, Grey Greens and Greys in Normals, Opalines and Cinnamons as well as Dominant Pieds, Spangles and Yellow Faces.
As a novice I won my first challenge certificates with an Opaline Grey; the week of the London & SCBS Open Show, he was really fit and I hoped to register him as a champion when he literally "fell off the perch". Other successes followed, but I think the greatest achievement was in 1985 when I was awarded Best Novice Breeder at the BS Club Show with a Grey Green cock. He went on to win best novice at the National Exhibition of Cage and Aviary Birds in both 1985 and 1986. One of his sons went on to become a registered champion Grey Green and also won best novice at the National in 1987. I also won CCs with Dominant Pieds, Greys and Yellow Faces.
I became interested in the Specialist Varieties, introducing Recessive Pieds and Crests through my association with Ghalib in late 1987, although we did not go into partnership until 1990. Ghalib and I are two individuals with differing views on many aspects of the hobby, but the strange thing is that we seldom differ when it comes to pairing up the birds.
As many will probably be aware, I have been past General Secretary and President of London & SCBS. In 1993 I also became Secretary to the Council and Panel of Judges. I was also the Show Manager of L&SCBS Specialist & Rare Variety Show and Assistant Open Show Manager but retired from the committee in 2002. In 1994 I was elected onto the General Council of the Budgerigar Society. There are only few females sit on the BS General Council at the moment. I am also a member of the BS Club Show Committee and also served on the Convention committees since 2000. I was honoured to be elected President of the Spangled Budgerigar Breeders' Association in April 2001 and was their Publicity Officer. I am currently their treasurer. I have served on the Specialist & Rare Variety Show Committee since its inception in 1988 and was Patronage Secretary. I am also past Vice Chairperson and Publicity Officer of the Crested BC and currently their Membership Secretary/Treasure.
In 2005 I was elected to
more positions in various societies due to my retirement from work in 2004. I was
extremely honoured to be elected the Budgerigar Society Vice President in May 2005 by the
membership and by natural progression I became the B.S. President in May 2007; only the
fifth lady president since the society was formed in 1925. I was also elected as Treasurer
of the Rare Variety & Colour BS and became their president in 2010. I was also elected
as Show Manager of Croydon BS and Show Secretary of Southend B&FBS. I was elected
again as joint President of the London & SCBS with Ghalib in 2006. In 2010 I was also
elected Chairman of Ipswich BS, President of the Rare Variety & Colour B.S. as well as
the Publicity Officer of The Budgerigar Society. In 2011 I was awarded the Silver Bird by
the Budgerigar Society as well as been elected their delegate to the National Council for
In 2011 I was awarded the Silver Bird by the Budgerigar Society as well as been elected their delegate to the National Council for Aviculture.
The other side of the hobby that I enjoy is judging. I qualified as a full L&SCBS Panel Judge in 1992 and as a BS judge in 1995. I have judged at all the leading shows in the U.K. and also in Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Irish Republic, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States of America.
I have also lectured all over Britain as well as the B.S. Convention, Australian National, American Grand National, Denmark and in Pakistan.
Without bragging too much (I am quite modest normally!) I would attribute much of my recognition and acceptance as a fancier in my own right to my dogged determination and assertiveness; something you need as head teacher of a primary school (retired September 2004).
Copyright © Janice Al-Nasser 2005 all rights reserved.