The main aim of most budgerigar clubs worldwide has always been to increase size and type – these changed dramatically over my time in the fancy. Some thirty years ago the most successful English breeder Harry Bryan told me and Neville Seage that many breeders breed budgerigars to their own stature. As for being a good judge Harry said you have to breed them to know them as well as having a well trained eye to pick out the imperfections in each individual.
The way I see it today and as well as in the past.
In the late fifties the ring issue date was July the first. The major two day BSA shows staged in the lower Sydney town hall were always held early May. This annual show used to attract over and one might also add you could exhibit purchased young and old birds however only in the old bird classes. I also remember up to 600 birds being shown at the early St George branch monthly meeting table shows. A packed hall would also be there to hear the guest speaker who would also give sought after information to individual members that lined up after the official meeting closed.
Rarely today would one see a get together of breeders in a fancier’s back yard looking and discussing how to improve ones birds so essential for any progressive breeder. Therefore most beginners today do not have the luxury of being given any birds for free together with guidance and practical information from proven established breeders. What many experience today is not unlike the spiel of some used car salesmen which in turn may help many potentially good members to leave the fancy. There appears also to be a trend to promote the lesser varieties in quantity not quality.
Included in most informative writings and also advised by successful breeders both here and overseas is that one has to have a good stud of normal’s to enable one to improve all other varieties whether it be type, colour or feather. This is especially so in the lesser varieties. I have never exhibited in a national show because of personal reasons although one often wonders why they have not included more normal dark factor classes into the national show. This would not only be an advantage in increasing numbers but also preserving their individual characters thus providing the essential Stock Birds to improve colour and feather in most varieties.
When top English breeder and judge the late Alf Ormerod gave a talk in the early eighties at the hills branch he commented on the silly little perches in our show cages. His thoughts were a good sized bird with decent claws could not grip the perch properly to exhibit themselves to their full potential in the show cage. After all this time and the importation of English budgerigar we now have larger perches.
“The powers to be in Australia may be reversing this decision to go to a smaller perch again; maybe this will be very useful for miniature budgerigars.”
Dick Mathews, who lived not far from me at Sydney, established the Australian Yellow Face variety to perfection. His Yellow (GOLDEN) Faced visuals were spectacular with the yellow being confined to the face only and no green suffusion in their body or wing colour, Good Yellow Faced Sky’s in this variety were few and far between.
Frank Gardner used to pair up a lot of Australian Yellow Face for Melbourne fanciers with breeders such as Mrs Fellows breeding two of the best Australian Yellow Faced Sky’s I have ever seen.
Brian Dadd and Bryce Gringlington in Melbourne must have bred thousands of these birds however many were not what the Standard stated for a show bird, the rest were stock or pet birds. Bryce would have been the first to breed Golden Faced Violet Spangles which were SPECTACULAR to see.
The normal Violet has been added to the National classes. The Standard describes the bird is to be a”Visual Violet”. It is somewhat difficult to judge bad coloured Cobalt’s and some Violet Sky’s (Violet Sky was always a stock bird not a show bird) in Violet classes. This problem was highlighted at the 2013 Nationals when a Violet Sky won the visual Violet class. Currently Sky Violet and Cobalt’s are shown in “blue class” at state and National level. One also hears there are discussions in relation to the alteration of the colour wordings of the Spangle Double Factor. This I hear has the intent to include shades of grey green and grey and no doubt it would have to include green and blue hues.
One of the first Spangle Double Factor bred by Frank Gardner, which I still have a slide of, was a pure yellow Spangle Double Factor. Quite frankly one only has to have A STOCK BIRD CALLED A CINNAMON WING SPANGLE which many are told to dispose of to breed a pure yellow and white Spangle Double Factor.
Exhibitors like Jo Mannes would be horrified about the suggested shade colour change after all the colour yellow is not grey green yellow and neither is the colour white grey white.
In regards to a stock bird these birds generally excel either visually or hidden with their minor or major modification which will improve any feature visually on an exhibition budgerigar. One could also suggest that you ask Bruce Sheppard or Colin Flanagan as to how many stock birds they use to produce a national winning crest. Furthermore it would be most interesting to see what changes would occur, especially in judging, if the importation of overseas budgerigars was opened up again so some of the judges and exhibitors alike could acquire new breeding stock enabling them to breed a decent exhibition budgerigar for all to see and especially so in type and deportment.
Perhaps also one could hope to see that horrible head flecking disappear, maybe only for a short time, after all this is not tolerated any where else in the world on the show bench.