The charm of the English Cinnamon
Cage & Aviary Birds|December 24, 2019
Despite its long and complicated history, the true Cinnamon canary is still with us – in the hands of a tiny group of breeders. DONALD SKINNER-REID reckons it deserves wider appreciation
DONALD SKINNER-REID

WHEN I was in my 40s, my friend Maria directed me to a poem by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”, and it chimed so well it sticks in my head. Many years ago, at a show, an elderly former keeper of Scots fancies asked why I liked them and I said their elegance appealed to me. Now I think I’d answer differently. It’s in my nature to seek the road less travelled.

So, down a new path – “knowing how way leads on to way,” as Frost put it – I have stumbled into the most fascinating and perhaps one of the rarest of the old varieties which a group of devotees still keep and exhibit, though I confess I have yet to see one in the flesh: the English Cinnamon.

I was led to this path by Jamie Taylor and Kevin Monsey, two of the breed’s tiny band of devotees. Jamie told me: “They are a beautiful bird to look at. They are free breeders that rear their own young.” Jamie has kept them for three years and Kevin for longer.

Kevin very kindly put me in touch with Derek Dix of Great Yarmouth. Now nearly 90 years old, Mr Dix has kept the Cinnamon for 70 years, having acquired his first stock in 1948. Mr Dix thought them a jaunty bird, halfway between the Border of those days and the Norwich. His father, a Norwich breeder, said it was a breed “trapped in time”.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM CAGE & AVIARY BIRDSView All

The charm of the English Cinnamon

Despite its long and complicated history, the true Cinnamon canary is still with us – in the hands of a tiny group of breeders. DONALD SKINNER-REID reckons it deserves wider appreciation

4 mins read
Cage & Aviary Birds
December 24, 2019

Spangles: a personal overview

FRED WRIGHT relates a budgie story of over-exploitation, consequent problems and abundant potential for the future

4 mins read
Cage & Aviary Birds
December 24, 2019

New converts to old breeds

Old and rare canaries have a reputation for adding fresh interest and challenge to the hobby. PETE HOOK and NICK JOY agree, and explain the birds’ charm to Dave Brown

3 mins read
Cage & Aviary Birds
December 24, 2019

Themed aviaries are a hit with the public at annual Stafford show

DECORATIVE AVIARY DISPLAYS from a CBS and an online bird keeping advice group were voted in the top three by visitors for the inaugural Stafford Aviary Competition.

1 min read
Cage & Aviary Birds
December 18, 2019

Pieds with potential

More than just a lesser variety, the dominant pied will introduce challenge and change into most studs, reckons CLIVE WAKEMAN. Here he discusses pairings to try and others to avoid

3 mins read
Cage & Aviary Birds
December 18, 2019

Club News

Welcome to the club and show pages – the bit that’s all about you Results: convention, specialist & rare and Breeder of the Year

1 min read
Cage & Aviary Birds
December 18, 2019

Canaries Month by Month:

With Christmas around the corner, BRIAN KEENAN is well into his winter programme, and reckons he might deserve a nice outcross

4 mins read
Cage & Aviary Birds
December 18, 2019

The World's Best-Known Hummingbird?

Intensively studied, the gem-like Anna’s hummingbird is a welcome visitor to the gardens of America’s most populous state: California. Bill Naylor investigates its life history

5 mins read
Cage & Aviary Birds
December 18, 2019

The truth about the ‘flying toad'

Odd local names and weird superstitions can’t hide the beauty and elegance of the nightjar, a species that has made a fascinating subject in a few zoo collections, reveals BILL NAYLOR

5 mins read
Cage & Aviary Birds
December 04, 2019

The talent behind Pilsen Zoo

Rosemary Low meets the supremely gifted TOMÁS PES, the extraordinary leading spirit at one of Europe’s foremost zoos

5 mins read
Cage & Aviary Birds
December 04, 2019