This is the whole "kit & kaboodle" wrapped into one article. It is abbreviated compared to the other pages, but has pretty much all you need to know about showing your birds - in brief.

A Bird Show??? Yes, there really IS such a thing - just like a cat or dog show - and it is a wonderful way to see just how good a job you've done breeding and maintaining your birds, and what the trained professionals think of them! Not to mention, it is a great place to meet other serious breeders and compare notes!

First, you need to know the "standard" for your particular species. For finches and softbills, standards are published in the NFSS Judges Handbook.

Next, you should choose the birds you wish to show based on which birds most closely match the "standard" for the species. When choosing birds to show, look for overall condition - smooth feathers, clean legs & beak, overall shape (no "flat" heads or narrow chests, no "carrots with legs" shapes unless that is what the species should look like), overall size, crossing or dropping of wings, attitude of tail, and how the bird sits on the perch. Missing toes, missing feathers, a molting bird, or one who is obviously overweight or ill, will be marked down. These issues are all considered faults.

Once the birds have been selected, it is wise to get them into individual show cages to become accustomed to being in such a small cage. Birds should be trained to hold still long enough that the judge can get a good long look, yet not be so sedate that they never move. Judges are aware of the personalities for each species, and know that some just don't sit still!  Gouldians, however, should sit nicely still with only a little bit of movement while being inspected. A well-trained bird will be active, yet not flopping all over the show cage.

There are currently no specific cage requirements for finches and softbills.  As long as the cage is small enough that it fits on the show bench and has no viewing obstructions (food dishes, over sized drinkers, extra perches, etc.), it may be used. However, if you can afford a show cage, we recommend you purchase one (or many!). Here, we like to have one show cage for travel and one to show in for each bird. That means 2 show cages per bird shown. Often times, the bird will make a mess of the show cage while traveling. And while most messes are easily cleaned up, having an extra cage allows us to move them to the pristine cage for the actual show without the hassle.

[This is a typical show cage, though there are different styles and sizes. This cage is dirty and requires both cleaning AND paint touch up.]


This is a typical show cage, though there are different styles and sizes. This cage is dirty and requires both cleaning AND paint touch up.

Judges will pick the cage up and tip it slightly in different directions to get a view of the bird from all directions. If your bird doesn't want to get up on the perch, they may stick a baton gently through the bars to urge them up onto the perch. A bird that won't perch cannot and will not be judged.  There will be MANY spectators, much noise, and lots of action, so it is important that your bird is used to commotion. Placing the bird in its show cage in a well populated room of your home will help it to become accustomed to noise and commotion.

Remember, a show cage for your bird is like a picture frame for a fine painting. A poorly maintained cage will not show off your bird in its best light. Would you put your million dollar Picasso in a beat up picture frame? I don't think so! Your Gouldian may not be worth that much, but you want it to look its best!

Cages should be thoroughly cleaned, completely repainted inside and out (or merely touched up if in good shape), perches should be cleaned and installed at crossbar level, and the bottom of the cage should be lined with the seed you feed your birds - NOT paper. Your bird will be in the show cage from early morning until late afternoon, and depending on the show, perhaps even over night. The seed on the cage bottom acts both as food and as a means of keeping the bird on the perch. A small "show cage drinker" is best, but a 2 oz drinker works just as well.  This drinker will be your birds sole source of water, but you do not want it to block the judges view. You should use the smallest drinker you own, or consider purchasing some show drinkers. Once you turn the birds over to the Show Stewards, it will be their duty to refill the drinkers as necessary.

There should be NO identifying marks on the cage. Do NOT put your name on the cage or number it. Your show tag will function as identification, and your show entry form will be your receipt once you turn your bird over to the Show Stewards.

Now that you've had time to read about the show standard for your species, have chosen the birds you will show, and have secured a show cage or two and drinkers for each bird, here are a few tips for preparing the birds , AND YOURSELF, for the day of the show!

THE BIRDS

 Overall condition - about 6 weeks before a show

Take each bird in hand and examine them for broken feathers. Gently pluck out any feather that is out of place or broken - especially tail wires. Feathers typically take about 4-5 weeks to grow back and should be fully in before the show.
Allow the birds daily bath water. This will promote preening, and keep the bird's feathers sleek and clean.
Oil the beak and legs daily with Vaseline or Mineral Oil. This will insure the beak and legs are not too dry on the day of the show. Handling the bird daily will also help it to acclimate to extra commotion.


Move the birds to a busy location in your home so that they become accustomed to noise and commotion.

Overall condition - about 1 week before the show

View our video and "Note" about how to trim your birds nails. You want to use the "show clip" method so that the nail makes complete contact with the perch in the show cage. This will allow the bird to sit up on the perch without difficulty, and will show the bird in its best form.

Overall condition - morning of the show

Last minute touch up of beak and legs with a light coating of Vaseline, and pluck any stray or broken feathers. If the birds have been in their show cages over night, there shouldn't be any broken feathers unless they were poorly trained.


Double check food and water situation BEFORE leaving the house.

PACKING FOR TRAVEL

I like to pack the birds in their "travel" show cages in large cardboard boxes (labeled with my name and phone number), but so that there is "some" light filtering down into the box. You want the birds to eat and drink beforehand so they don't spend the entire day eating and drinking while the judge is trying to look at them! I can usually get 4 cages to a box. I turn them so that the cage fronts face the center of the box. This allows the birds to see each other and realize they have company, and allows light to filter even to the bottom cages. Each cage is given a show drinker full of Dr. Rob Marshall's QuikGel, an electrolyte solution. But this solution turns the water golden, so it must be removed before the birds are handed over to the Stewards. Special additives and/or soft foods are not allowed unless you keep softbills who require fruits or nectar as food.

However, there are many other ways to pack your birds. Some folks have fancy custom made wooden trunks the show cages fit into, while others use large "Rubbermaid" containers with holes drilled in the lid for air. The point is to get the birds to the show with the least amount of stress for both you AND the birds!

SUPPLIES FOR THE BIRDS & SHOW CAGES

I always like to pack for ALL emergencies.  I bring bottled water from home - the same water I give my birds daily - because sometimes a change in water can make the birds act funny or even get sick. I let the Stewards know where my travel boxes with supplies and water bottles are so they can fill the drinkers from my own water bottles if necessary.  I always bring enough extra seed to fill ALL show cage bottoms, in case the seed gets soiled too quickly before the judging begins - and for the occasional "other" exhibitor who forgot theirs or didn't prepare ahead of time. And always bring extra electrolyte solution.

I pack a pair of nail clippers, a sharp pair of necropsy scissors, blood stop powder (usually diatomaceous earth), antibiotic cream, coffee stirrers (to be used as hard splints in case of broken legs), florist tape and a roll of toilet paper (in case of a broken wing), and at least one hand-feeding syringe (in case a bird goes down and requires immediate emergency care).

I bring extra show drinkers - usually enough to supply the entire finch Division of the show - but I NEVER loan them out unless I know someone extremely well.  If I don't know them, chances are I'll never see my drinkers again! I also bring extra hardware for the cages, and extra "clean" perches. I bring my Leatherman tool instead of an entire tool box. I also bring a Jeweler's loupe. A black Sharpie marker and a tube of "White Out" are for quick cage touch ups.

WHY DO I BRING ALL THESE ITEMS??? 


Because most folks I show with know I have the experience and knowledge to save a sick or injured bird and am always prepared, they will often come find me for help if there is some kind of emergency. I have had to amputate legs on the spot (other exhibitor's birds, not mine, thankfully), splint broken legs and wings, help repair an accidentally damaged show cage, and help save birds that have "stressed out" and injured themselves due to improper show training. While I've never needed these items for my own birds, I figure something is bound to happen eventually, and the one time I don't bring everything will be the time I need it most!

PEOPLE SUPPLIES

While there is almost always some kind of concession stand available for the exhibitors to purchase food and drink, I always pack a small cooler with water, high protein foods like string cheese and nuts, and snacks such as fruit or trail mix. Show days are usually long and busy. There isn't always time to eat a full meal or wait in line at the concession stand. I want to see ALL of the judging, so I keep my cooler with me.

One of the biggest problems I run into myself at shows is getting dehydrated. I usually end up working in some capacity - even at out of town shows - so it is important I come well prepared. If I don't get enough water, my lips get very chapped, my fingers swell up, I get a severe headache and just feel icky. It's better to drink water all day long (and run to the lu occasionally) than get dehydrated and feel icky. You want to be your best for the very fun banquet after the show (if there is one!).

IT'S ALMOST SHOW TIME!!!!!

Here I'll share some tips about preparing your paperwork for the show, and what will happen once you are ready to check your birds in for exhibition.

FIRST, A NOTE:


Regardless of how any other show is run or the rules that were set in place at any other show, the RULES FOR THE CURRENT SHOW are always set by the sponsoring club or entity. This includes Division, Section, and Class rules. You must follow the rules as laid out in the Show Catalog for the show you are attending. Sponsoring club rules supersede any other rules, whether they be set by the NFSS or any other National club. Failure to follow the rules as laid out may disqualify your bird(s) from a chance to win.

Whenever possible, it is always nice to get a copy of the Show Catalog, entry forms, and purchase your show tags beforehand so you can fill everything out BEFORE you arrive. There will be many distractions, and having everything filled out before you get there makes it easier to check over your show cages for messes, stray feathers, issues with the birds, or bumped cage corners that may need to be touched up.  

[In THIS Show Catalog, Finches & Softbills happened to be Division 8. Within Division 8 there were 11 Sections. Overall, there were a total of 446 Classes. IF YOU ARE CONFUSED ABOUT WHICH CLASS TO ENTER YOUR BIRD, DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP!!!]

In THIS Show Catalog, Finches & Softbills happened to be Division 8. Within Division 8 there were 11 Sections. Overall, there were a total of 446 Classes. IF YOU ARE CONFUSED ABOUT WHICH CLASS TO ENTER YOUR BIRD, DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP!!!

Once you turn your birds over to the Stewards, there will be no going back. You will not be able to check cages again until after the judging is complete. In order to prevent theft and cheating (yes, both do occasionally happen), most shows will not allow you to approach checked-in birds who have not yet been judged.

It will also give you plenty of time to chat with the other exhibitors (my favorite part of a show). In my humble opinion, the worst part of a show is attaching the tags to the cages! If you purchase your show tags and fill them out at home, you can attach them at home as well without having to rush or getting distracted.

However, if there is more than one show in the same day, you don't want to attach your tags until you verify whether the tags for both shows should be attached at the same time, or whether the tag for the second show should be attached AFTER the first show. Some shows prefer both tags attached at once - one on the left hand side of the cage, the other on the right hand. IF THERE IS A SECOND SHOW, DO NOT ATTACH YOUR TAGS UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT THE SHOW RULES ARE!!!

[This photo shows two different types of tags as well as entry forms.]

This photo shows two different types of tags as well as entry forms.

Show tags


Tags are usually from either Kaytee or Higgins, though newly set up shows or those hosted by very small clubs may have their own tags. The show tags contain information that will identify your bird as your own. It is very important that you include all of this information on your entry form and fill out the tags in their entirety. If there is any question about the ownership of a bird (which rarely happens), your show tag will help resolve that issue. Tags include the following information:

Cage Number - this number is pre-established and is written or typed on the tag by the hosting club or entity. When you attach your tag to your show cage, this will identify your bird as your own AS LONG AS THE INFORMATION MATCHES YOUR ENTRY FORM. If there is no number on your show tag, you MUST ask the Show Secretary or Steward to give you a new tag or assign you a number.

Division - the Division number will be different depending on the number of Divisions being judged at the show. If you are showing Gouldians, you want to choose the Division number that includes finches and softbills. In the photos, both shows attended had the same Division number for finches & softbills - Division 8 - but that is not always the case, so read through the catalog carefully.

DIVISION IS THE LAST ITEM TO BE JUDGED. This is the final portion of the judging where birds are eliminated until only 10 birds remain. These ten birds are referred to as "Top Bench" winners. At some shows, the first place bird will then go on to be judged for BEST IN SHOW which takes all of the top birds from each Division. All judges from all Divisions select the very best bird to win the overall show.

Section - the Section Number usually indicates the species, though there are some Sections that include several species or mutations of a species. You must know what species and what mutation your are showing to correctly enter your birds. If you do not know, the Stewards will be able to help. If they do not know, the judge will move the bird to the proper section when he/she does the pre-show walk through.


SECTION IS THE SECOND ITEM TO BE JUDGED. Birds winning in their section move on to the overall DIVISION judging.

Class - the class will be different depending on whether the show is a "specialty show", meaning for a single species, or a broader show including many species. The class differentiates between species within a Section, color mutations within a species, old birds, young birds (those banded with a year band the same year the show is being held), and in some instances, between hens and cocks. If the specific class is not listed in the Show Catalog, use the AOV (Any Other Variety) class for your bird. Stewards and Judges will move the bird where it should go if there is a question.

CLASS IS THE FIRST ITEM TO BE JUDGED. Birds winning in their class will move on to the SECTION judging.

[Show tags from two different shows. The tag on the left is still stapled shut. The tag on the right was opened to determine the owner.]

Show tags from two different shows. The tag on the left is still stapled shut. The tag on the right was opened to determine the owner.

ENTERING THE BIRDS FOR THE SHOW

FILLING OUT SHOW TAGS

Show tags will have a predetermined cage number on them. If they do not, ask the Show Secretary or Steward to assign a number (the person assigning numbers will depend on the sponsoring show rules). You will fill in the following information yourself:

Division
Section
Class
Name, Address, Phone Number
Description

One of the best tips I've ever received from another exhibitor was to use mail return address labels for my show tags.  If you enter more than just a few birds, filling out the tags can be a nightmare. I typically enter a minimum of 20 birds, so it takes me hours to fill out the tags. You have to match the cage number with the bird described, and it can get confusing if you have many to enter. It also means you need to arrive at the show the moment the doors open or you may not have enough time to fill out the tags before judging beings! Most shows require birds to be checked-in by a specific time. Typically a minimum of 1/2 hour before judging is due to begin.  Using return address labels makes life SO much easier!


If you are like me, you'll want to know exactly how each bird placed (and read any notes the judge may write on the tag). You may want to track the information for future breeding purposes. You only need a "brief" description on the tag. You may choose to use the band number, description of the bird, or in my case, merely the name of the bird (every bird in my aviary has a name and KNOWS their name!). I use their names because it is far easier for me to remember than a band number, and MUCH easier than writing out the full description or band number. I write the name of the bird in the description on the entry form so that the Steward can match the cage tag to the entry form. If the bird wins something and the tag is opened, the judges often get a kick out of seeing the birds name and no description.

Once the tag is filled out, DO NOT staple it shut. This is the Stewards job!!!  When you check your birds in for exhibition, the Steward will check the tags to make sure they match the entry form. Once verified, the tag will be stapled closed and the entry checked off on the entry form.


FILLING OUT SHOW ENTRY FORMS

Like the show tags, entry forms will vary from show to show. And while the information is nearly always the same, the columns on the form may be different from forms used at another show. Be sure to read them carefully before entering the information. All forms "should" include the following:

Division Number
Cage Number
Class Number
Section Number
Leg Band/Year Number - if the bird is not banded, you do not need to write anything in this column.
Description - this is where you will write the description of the bird. This may include the mutation for species such as Societies or Zebras that come in many colors, or merely a description that means something to you as the owner. In cases of mutations, it is always recommended you write the type of mutation out on the form. This will help the Show Secretaries, Stewards, and Judge to know where the bird should be if it was accidentally misclassified.
Number of Birds Entered - this is the total number of birds on the entry form NOT total number of birds you've entered in the show. Most shows prefer you enter birds for each Division on a separate form. If you have birds in different Divisions, the secretaries will need those entry forms at the bench secretary tables. They won't have time to run back and forth between Division benches, so it is important you fill out a separate sheet for each Division.
Fee Enclosed - this is the total fee for all birds entered on the individual form and is usually written in by the Show Secretary. Average entry fee is $3-4 per cage.
Number of Birds Returned - this will be filled in by the Show Stewards when you collect your birds after the show.
Exhibitor Name - your name, or the name of the person you are entering the birds for.
Address - your address, or the address of the person you are entering the birds for.
Phone Number - if you have one, use your cell phone number. If you happen to be away from the area and one of your birds becomes ill or requires additional food or water, the Stewards will call you.
Exhibitor Signature - your signature. If you are entering birds for someone else, you will still sign YOUR name as the responsible party.

IF YOU BELONG TO THE NATIONAL FINCH AND SOFTBILL SOCIETY (NFSS), be sure to write your membership number on your entry form. The results will be completed by the Show Secretary and Judge, and will be sent to the NFSS for inclusion in the quarterly journal. You will also obtain points that accumulate for other awards such as Exhibitor of Excellence, Champion Exhibitor, and Champion Bird. If you do not include your membership number, the Secretary and Judge will not know to report your points.

The entry form is typically a 3-part form, so write in pen hard enough to go through all three copies. When you are finished filling out all information, have attached your tags, and are ready to hand your birds over to be judged, you will hand the Steward the form. The Steward will verify that your information is correct and check off the birds on your sheet to verify you entered the number of birds specified and they are entered in the correct Division, Section and Class. The Steward will usually keep the white copy and either the pink or yellow copy of the form to be turned in to the Show Secretary.

The pink and yellow forms will differ by show. One form goes to the bench secretary (the person keeping track of the judge’s results), and the other will be returned to you as a receipt for the birds you've entered. YOU WILL NEED THE COPY THEY GIVE YOU TO COLLECT YOUR BIRDS AFTER THE SHOW!!!

[This photo shows the Kaytee version of the entry form. Not all forms are identical, so it is important to read the column headings before filling out the information.]

This photo shows the Kaytee version of the entry form. Not all forms are identical, so it is important to read the column headings before filling out the information.

SOMETHING TO REMEMBER


In MOST cases, you will NOT be able to check your birds out until ALL judging is complete. That means ALL Divisions, not just the Division in which your bird is entered.

ALL birds must be "checked out" by a Steward or Secretary. You may NOT just go collect your birds on your own. Doing so will cause all kinds of problems. Folks have accused others of stealing their birds or cheating when this happens, and sometimes there is confusion about who should receive ribbons.

If you attempt to remove your birds or do so without the aid and permission of a Steward or Secretary, you could be banned from showing at that particular show again. 

Once judging is complete in any given Division, the Steward will usually need to go off to help in another Division.  The Secretary will be busy completing the paperwork required by the Judges and affiliated organizations. They will NOT have time to check your birds out until AFTER the entire show is done. Unless it is a very small show, you should expect to be unable to collect your birds until the very end of the day.

SIDE NOTE: As Assistant Show Secretary, and almost always as Bench Secretary or Steward for our locally sponsored show, I am always amazed when exhibitors ask me to drop everything and check their birds out early. They obviously have NO idea how much work is involved in running a show and keeping it running smoothly, or DO know and just don't care!

An average Show beings with Check-In around 7:00 a.m. and does not end until 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. - sometimes  earlier, sometimes later.  If you do not have time to spend an entire day at a show, please do not plan to enter your birds! And unless there is an absolute , true emergency, please DO NOT ask to remove your birds early! Not only is it rude, but it slows down the show for all other exhibitors!

IT'S SHOW TIME!!!


You've gotten your tags on your cages, your entry forms completed, and have checked your birds in with the Stewards. You've had time to chat with other exhibitors and compare notes. Your birds will soon be on the bench to be judged! This is a very exciting time - the suspense is WONDERFUL!!! 

You will now learn just how well you've done raising and maintaining your birds.
[Finches & Softbills arranged by "Class" ready to be judged. Notice the different types of "travel boxes" under the staging.]

Finches & Softbills arranged by "Class" ready to be judged. Notice the different types of "travel boxes" under the staging.

BUT FIRST, A NOTE:  My BEST ADVICE for first time exhibitors or Novice exhibitors is NEVER WORK A SHOW until you've had a chance to sit and witness the actual judging at a few different shows, and after your birds have been shown under a few different judges. There will be plenty of time to jump in and help in the future - a well run bird show takes many hands and is a huge undertaking - but you need to be able to hear what the judges have to say about your birds and see how they are judged! You want to listen very carefully to what the judges have to say. They have years of experience and often explain different aspects of how they choose winning birds, what may stand out about a particular bird, and how they came to their conclusions on the winning birds. If you listen to what they have to say, you may hear some excellent tips on breeding or how to show your bird off in a better light! 

IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO JUDGING

The Division Steward(s) and the Division Judge will do a brief walk-through to observe the entered birds and make sure all birds are placed in the correct class.  If there were any questions during check-in, this is when the Steward will let the Judge know. It will be the Judge's first time seeing any of the birds. He/She will move birds to the appropriate class if necessary, and may make notations in his/her own copy of the Show Catalog as a reminder of how many birds are in each particular Class or Section, or whether there are empty Classes or Sections. The Judge will confer with the Bench Secretary and make sure he/she is ready for judging to begin. Issues are usually sorted out before judging begins, but occasionally issues will arise pertaining to a misclassified or improperly recorded bird.

Once the walk-through is complete and the Judge has verified that the Secretary is ready, the Judge will introduce him/herself to the exhibitors and spectators. Some Judges are very talkative and give a good history of how they came to be a Judge, why they became a Judge, or why they enjoy judging. Others are less talkative and may not offer much information, but all will give a brief introduction. The point of a show - and the job of the Judge - is to educate the exhibitors and spectators about what makes a good bird, so they may give a brief overview of how they judge the birds or point out items they noticed while doing their walk through.

While the Judge is introducing him/herself, the Steward will begin putting the first Class of the first Section of birds on the bench to be judged. Here we go!!!

For NFSS sanctioned shows, the birds are judged in order according to NFSS guidelines, and judged in order of class by Section. Judging will begin with Softbills, then proceed on to Zebras, Gouldians, Other Australian Finches, Indo-Pacific Finches, Society Finches, European Finches, African Finches, Finches of the Americas, Doves & Quail, and lastly, Pairs - which may include pairs from any of the previously mentioned Sections.

The Zebra and Society Sections usually have the largest number of birds entered and often take a long while to judge, while Gouldians are usually the next largest Section. All other Sections tend to be smaller in entries because there are usually less exhibitors who breed and keep those species. Regardless of the size of a Section, they will be judged in order as laid out in the Show Catalog.

[NFSS Judge Vince Moase comparing birds within their classes to be moved up to the Section judging.]

NFSS Judge Vince Moase comparing birds within their classes to be moved up to the Section judging.

THE JUDGING BEGINS

Sometimes, if there are very few birds in a Class, birds from more than one Class will be placed on the bench at the same time. You may hear the Judge, Steward and Bench Secretary talk to each other and verify the number of birds for each Class, and any issues found will be corrected at this time. This is done each time a new Class is presented to ensure no bird is missed for judging.


As the Judge grades the birds, some birds will be removed from the bench and placed back on the staging. As the Judge decides on Class winners, the Steward will place a sticker (1st, 2nd, and sometimes 3rd place) on the show tag. These stickers tell the Steward which birds to bring up for the Section judging once they are put back on the staging.

The Judge may turn around and address the gallery of spectators and explain what he is seeing when he looks at the birds and/or why a particular bird was chosen to win the Class, Section or Division. Sometimes they will answer questions - but at no time should you allow the Judge to know which bird is yours.

Sometimes the Judge will make small notes on the corner of the cage tag. This helps him/her to remember why he chose a specific bird or placed it. Usually, only the First in Class birds are brought up for Section judging, though occasionally a Judge will ask for a second place bird to verify his/her choice. More often than not, the second place birds are not recalled until the Division judging begins.

Once all Classes have been judged, the Steward will place all of the First in Class birds on the bench and the Judge will begin selecting birds for the Section awards. Section judging usually takes a bit longer than Class judging. The Judge must select what he/she feels to be only the best birds. Choices made here will directly affect the results of the top bench.

NOTE: Once Class and Section judging is complete and Division judging begins, it should be noted that a 2nd place Section winner may place over a 1st place Section winner from another Section. It is the Judge's job to choose only the best birds for top bench. Sometimes the 2nd place bird from one Section is in better condition or shows better than the 1st place bird of another Section. THIS IS ALL PART OF THE NORMAL JUDGING PROCESS!!

[Best in Section Birds.]

Best in Section Birds.

Once the Judge deems the Section judging complete, the big finish begins. At this point, only the absolute best birds should be left for final judging. This is the most suspenseful part of the show. Occasionally, there are more than 10 birds left - there are typically 11 Sections - but only 10 birds will receive Top Bench recognition. Equally, there may not be birds in all 11 Sections, so the Judge must select from 2nd place Section winners to fill the Top Bench. The Judge will now decide which birds meet the standard for each species, which is in best overall condition, and choose an order for the remaining birds. The bird with the best combination will be placed in first place, and so on down the line until 10 birds remain and are placed. As the Judge looks over the results, he/she will move birds around until a decision has been reached on the order 1 through 10. The result is "Top Bench".

[The results are in! The top 10 birds are announced.]

The results are in! The top 10 birds are announced.

Once the Judge is satisfied with the results and the Steward has attached the ribbons to the winning cages, the Judge will then open the cage tags and announce the winners, starting with the 10th place bird and working backward until First Place is reached. At this time, Novice and/or Junior Awards are also announced. A Junior is an exhibitor under the age of 18, while a Novice is any exhibitor who is showing their birds for the first time and/or has not taken a top bench position 3 times under 3 different Judges.

***Technically, if one's birds have never been on top bench, the exhibitor could conceivably show as a Novice forever. But that is not the goal of showing our birds. The goal is to breed and maintain excellent birds. The end result earning our birds a place on top bench!

Depending on the show, the first place bird may be whisked away to a secluded room for a Best in Show award without the first place bird owner’s name being read. But the birds pulled for that award will not be judged until ALL judging has completed for ALL Divisions. Once all Division judging has completed, all of the judges will decide the Best in Show bird. Not all shows have a Best in Show award. If they DO give this award, it is often presented at a banquet, usually immediately following the conclusion of the show. Some shows also give a Best Overall Novice award which is also usually presented at the banquet.

If there will be a banquet, much fun will be had! Plan to attend! This is where all of the exhibitors can talk with each other and the Judges about the show results, and pick up tips and techniques for breeding and raising their birds. Awards and thanks are given, and a nice dinner is served. It is the grand finale of a long, yet rewarding day! And you'll have your first show under your belt!

SHOW PREPARATION SERIES:

FROM START TO FINISH - THE WHOLE KIT & KABOODLE

KRISTEN REEVES, MEADOWLARK FARMS AVIAN SUPPLY, INC.