Mystery surrounds death of world champion canary breeder’s 88 birds

Stan Bolton with photos of his prized canaries canaries before they died.

Stan Bolton with photos of his prized canaries canaries before they died. - Credit:

A world champion canary breeder accidentally killed all but one of his prized 88-strong flock after spraying their cages with an insecticide he had used safely for years.

Stan Bolton, 71, spent 50 years selectively breeding blue lizard canaries and was twice crowned world champion for his birds.

But he killed all but one of his adult birds, worth £2,500, when he sprayed them with Orlux Ardap – a mite and insect killer.

Mr Bolton, a retired train driver, said: “I have been using the spray for 20 years without issue. I usually spray it in the cages where the birds are with no problem. On April 30, at about 6.30pm I sprayed them because I thought we had some mites.

“About 10 minutes later 62 of the birds died. By the time we went to bed that night there were 81 birds dead.

“We left five birds in a hospital cage and some others in cages in the kitchen. When we woke up in the morning three more were dead. I have only got one adult and three baby canaries left.”

Mr Bolton lives in Wisbech with his wife Bhorn, 51, who also breeds fiorino canaries and lost all 18 of her birds in the tragedy.

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Despite the deaths, Mr Bolton is committed to rebuilding his flock.

A spokesman for Quiko, the company that manufactures the spray, said safety tests confirmed the harmlessness of the proper product use, and added that “users can continue to have confidence in the Ardap Universal Pest Control spray”.