It's Showtime For Birds!


Is my bird better than your bird?
There is only one fair way to answer
such a question: put the birds in similar
cages and let an impartial judge
decide! Bird breeders, hobbyists, and
pet owners have participated in bird
shows for years. Unlike bird fairs and
expos, real shows emphasize judging,
not selling. The winners are usually
experienced exhibitors, but a novice
with a well cared for pet also has a
chance. Many shows have special
awards for novices in order to encourage
new people to enter.
Bird shows are sponsored by clubs,
although not all clubs put on a real
show. The best shows bring in judges
from all around the country. These
men and women are certified by a
national organization specializing in a
particular breed. For example, hookbill
standards are set by the Society of
Parrot Breeders and Exhibitors. Some
other societies are: National Cockatiel
Society, American Budgerigar Society,
National Colorbred Canary Society,
and the National Finch and Softbill
Many societies have standards for
show cages. The sponsoring clubs
usually have members that can lend or
sell these cages to novices, or advise
on how to build them. Plain, unmarked
cages are used for larger
parrots so as to not distract from the
bird or identify its owner.
Bird shows are usually held on
weekends in the fall. Registration for
entries is usually on Friday and early
Saturday morning. The fee is typically
$1.50 per bird. A numbered tag is
attached to each cage and the show
secretary records the owner for each
number. The show catalog lists all the
categories and rules. Copies of the
catalog are available in advance from
the sponsoring club.
Judging is done on Saturday and can
take most of the day. Some shows
allow the public to watch the judging.
Exhibitors are always allowed to
watch, but they must remain quiet and
not let the judge know whose birds he 

or she is looking at. A good judge will
tell the audience what is correct and
what is a fault. For each category, ribbons
or rosettes are attached to the
winning cages and the cage tag munbers
are recorded. An awards banquet
is held on Saturday night and the
owners of the winners are announced.
Trophies and plaques are also given
to the winners at the banquet.
Most shows are open to the public
on Sunday. The club might hold an
auction or raffle to help pay the show
expenses. A sales area may be set up
for the exhibitors to sell birds to the
public. This provides an opportunity
to buy good birds directly from the
breeder. Some shows have a few vendors
that sell supplies, but most of the
floor space is devoted to exhibiting
birds. Most shows end early Sunday 

afternoon to allow time for out-oftown
participants to drive home.
If you are interested in exhibiting,
get a copy of the show catalog as soon
as possible. Better yet, join a showsponsoring
club, attend meetings, and
ask lots of questions.
If you are interested in just attending
a show, contact the sponsoring club
and ask when it will be open to the
public. The most educational part is
watching the judging, but the main
reason to attend a show is to view the
birds. Where else can you see
hundreds of superb specimens of
large and small parrots, canaries, and
finches in one room! You will find
many breeds and species not commonly
seen in pet shops or zoos. Best
of all, they will all be beautiful,
healthy specimens in full feather! •