Geoff Capes the Budgerigar Fancier?
Geoff Capes was a leading athlete and strongman. This man mountain was a shot putter who won two gold medals at the commonwealth games. He was European Indoor Champion on two occasions and represented his country 67 times. He won the highland Games six times and could pull a 165-ton train.
These days he suffers from a bad hip and confines himself to more leisurely pursuits and these include breeding championship budgerigars. He has a large shed which he has converted to an aviary to house his prize specimens. He says that he finds the birds therapeutic whereas competing in international sporting events was all about aggression.
Capes was once famously sent home from the European Championships in disgrace after he punched a referee and two guards who were carrying machine guns. Apparently they had complained that he wasn’t wearing the right number!
Successful Breeding Programme
Capes has proved incredibly successful at breeding budgerigars. So much so that he is now almost more famous for his birds than his exploits on the athletics field. He has won best of breed many times and the wall of his shed is literally covered in rosettes. He was elected president of the Budgerigar Society of Great Britain in 2008. His ambition is to win best in show at the Society’s world championships.
His father kept budgerigars at the family home in Lincolnshire, close to where Capes still lives. Capes junior got his first birds at the age of 19 when he was a rookie policeman. Strangely, he was given the birds by a man that he had arrested for non-payment of a fine! He became fascinated by the different colours and varieties and so eventually started his own breeding programme. He now has over 200 birds and so he doesn’t have much room in the shed for his 27 stone frame to move about.
Special Budgerigar Diet
Capes’ birds are somewhat larger than the specimens you might find in a pet shop. They measure around 8 inches from head to tail feather. His best birds could be worth thousands of pounds but he refuses to divulge their precise value. He feeds his birds regular birdseed and red millet together with a special mix featuring herbs, seaweed and protein powder. He keeps the precise recipe of his mix a secret. But he doesn’t hide the fact that he plays the birds music all day.
Before any show, capes washes his birds and then blow dries them. He sprays them with feather conditioner, clips their nails and cleans around their eyes. Feathers are groomed with a toothbrush. When at home, the birds are protected by an alarm system. Perhaps Capes’ size and reputation is the best protection against intruders that the budgerigars have!