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A Journey into Guadalajara's Cage Bird Culture

Note: This article is free for all, TWIG members or not! It was written for TWIG by 77-year-old Australian, Bob Wilson.

Mexican Culture sticks close to nature.

Most of the families I know grow flowers in and around their homes, and a few vegetables or peppers on their patios.


It seems most families also have pets. When I walk around my neighborhood there are always people walking dogs on leashes, and I often hear the sound of pet canaries and periquitos coming from the houses.


The sound of these birds sparks my interest because of my involvement in the “cage bird hobby” for close to 60 years before moving to Mexico.

I was raised in a family where a grandmother had canaries and budgerigar is a garden aviary, and five uncles bred budgies to enter at shows around the Goulburn Valley area in Victoria Australia.


I first raised budgerigars as a teenager in Australia starting in 1959 when I was given a pair as a Christmas present. Soon after I joined a local bird club and was hooked.


I have enjoyed several “lifetimes” in the hobby, first as a teenager in Australia, then after college, again in New Zealand where I spent time before moving to North America in 1977, and later in USA.


My 49W budgies won many shows in the Midwest USA, but perhaps my greatest thrill came when one of my youngsters finished second best in show at the 1991 All American in Indianapolis with 1056 entries.


While I enjoy the competition of attending shows to see how my birds measure up, I prefer the fellowship with other breeders and the challenge in the breeding room to constantly improve the overall quality of my stud. Whenever possible I visit other breeders to check out their birds, management techniques and how they achieve their goals in the hobby.


In addition to shows across USA, including The ABS All American and BAA Grand National (twice), I have been fortunate to be invited to judge shows in Canada, England, Belgium, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, South Africa, Mexico, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.


To think this little bird would take me around the World where I could develop friendships in many countries is a dream come true.


In 2019 I relocated to Guadalajara Mexico, where budgie and cagebird keeping is a way of life.

Mexicans love the pets and animals they keep, and are very competitive. Bird keeping and showing is often a family affair. Something parents and children do together, sharing the daily tasks and enjoying time with friends at shows.


Most states and cities have shows and competitions for pigeons, chickens, cockerels, cattle, pigs, dogs, cats, cockatiels, canaries, budgerigars, lovebirds and other cage birds. Judges from Mexico, USA, Colombia, Spain and other countries are invited to judge these shows which are usually well attended by locals and breeders who travel from around the country.


Since moving to Guadalajara in 2019 I have been fortunate to be invited to judge shows in Guadalajara, Monterrey, Mexico City, Quinata Roo, Sahuayo, Tuxtla, Morelia, Puebla, Merida and Chetumal. These visits offer an opportunity to explore the country, see the sights, and learn a little of the culture in each region…. As well as make new friends around the country.



For those in Guadalajara or other cities in Jalisco you will find specialist clubs for your interest in the area.


👉 For Budgerigars (periquitos), Cockatiels,(ninfas) Loverbirds, and other parrots… PeriquitosMex holds shows and bird fairs in Guadalajara and also has a team that flies to other cities in Mexico to assist new clubs holding their shows. The club also publishes a quarterly magazine.


These shows have classes for the smaller “Australianos” birds that are similar in size to the wild birds that fly in flocks in native Australia.


There are also classes for Exhibition size birds that have been selectively bred for size, posture, feather texture, color and markings. Many of this style of bird have been imported from Europe and other countries in recent years.


The birds are judged for posture, markings, color, size, feather texture and confirmation. Class winners compete for major awards to win rosettes, plaques, medals and trophies.


Our birds caught the eye of several talented Mexican artists. Moises Ulloa from Tesistan Jalisco, and Alejandra Olivares from Monterrey, both captured the character of two of my show winners. Amazing talent. Their paintings are now hanging in houses and galleries around the World.


👉 For Canaries (canaries) ACJ canaricultures de Jalisco holds regular meetings, and a bird fair and an annual show. The club also has a facebook group for budgerigar owners.



👉 For those who like to explore outside Jalisco there is a huge show in Sahuayo in January each year with many types of birds entered. Always an enjoyable weekend for everyone who attends. For details contact Jorge Nunes.


Membership in these clubs draw from all sectors of the community, so they are great to make new contacts in the area. You may meet doctors, pediatricians, optometrists, surgeons, veterinarians, business owners, factory workers, retirees, and people from all walks of life. And for those of us from other countries there are usually members who can translate if needed.


These clubs and individuals form the basis of the hobby in Mexico and join people with similar interest in hundreds of other countries around the world where these birds are bred and exhibited.



👉 All about Budgerigars 


👉 Pets in Guadalajara FB group


👉 Meet 150,000+ breeders and exhibitors from around the world.




👉 One event you want to see if you are in the area is the Guadalajara Pigeon Race, In 2022 a record 52,640 birds from ten clubs entered the race. It’s an amazing sight when the birds are released from the trailers to start their flight home. See their FB group for info.

Voila! Thanks for joining me in sharing my passion for caged birds. I hope my experience can be interesting to you :) ~ Bob Wilson

🎇The TWIG team wishes you the best life in our beautiful city of Guadalajara. We’re always here to help, if we can!



  1. HOW SAFE IS GUADALAJARA? Guadalajara is both safe and unsafe, depending on your lifestyle and choices. Numbeo safety index gives Mexico City a crime rating of 68.2 which is high. Guadalajara's is close at 62.2. If the crime rate comes higher than other similar big cities (Paris, London, New-York, Rome), in Mexico, most violent crimes are restricted to instances between criminal organizations. Reading about cartel activities in Mexico can be scary, however, unless you are extremely naïve or unlucky to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, as a tourist or expat, you have no reason to encounter criminal organizations, just like you don’t meet the mafia when traveling in Italy.

  2. What makes Guadalajara a safer place than most other big cities in the world? People’s kindness and helpful nature. Very low aggressivity and no mass shootings. Most Mexicans are non-aggressive (except behind the wheel), polite and well mannered. GDL has a great expat community ready to help. Check TWIG’s connect page for all the wonderful groups we recommend you join to get help, good advice and make solid friends.

  3. Is Mexico safer than the US? In this video Andrew compares Mexico to the USA and explains why Mexico is safer.

  4. How to Make Your Move to Guadalajara Smooth and Stress-Free? Sign-up to TWIG's Relocation Program and learn in 4 days what it takes other years. From where to eat, where to stay, what to see, and connecting you to all the top professionals you need for your new life, you’ll feel home in an instant.

  5. How can I stay updated on the latest events and attractions in Guadalajara? Subscribe to TWIG's free weekly newsletter to get the best of Guadalajara delivered directly to your inbox.

Want more of everything going on in Guadalajara? Subscribe to TWIG’s free weekly newsletter to get the best of Guadalajara in your inbox. And get the “Best of Guadalajara List” to know the top bilingual professionals in 30+ categories (from private drivers to doctors).


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