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The Budgerigar Society Judges Meeting 2009
held on 4th April and repeated on 5th April
Last year’s judges meeting, re-introduced as an annual event as part of Janice Al-Nasser’s aims for her residential year, proved such a success that it was over-subscribed and the society was left with a waiting list. In order not to cause similar disappointment this year, the Judges Panel and Colour Standards committee decided that there would be two events, on consecutive days, this year, with the same programme at each.
John and I attended on the first day, the Saturday and were somewhat disappointed that the gathering numbered fewer than thirty judges, but were assured that forty five were attending on the following day. As one of the subjects to be discussed was the BS Guideline, I had rather anticipated a sell-out on both days!
This was undoubtedly a day well worth the travel! The first item under discussion was given by George Booth, who delivered a presentation compiled by Ghalib Al-Nasser on the duties of the Show Manager, Senior Stewards and others, it being recognised that judges are far better equipped to do their job when they know exactly what are the duties of those organising the show.
This was an extremely comprehensive review of all the tasks for which these officers are responsible and some of the major points discussed were: -
Setting staging - including judging benches at the required levels for individual judges, and providing (wherever possible) sufficient staging to accommodate full sections of birds Checking Bio-security throughout – from the point of erection of the staging to its dismantling at the end of the show
Organising teams of stewards
Ensure that judges are kept well supplied with their classes and ensure that the correct number of birds in each class are placed before the judge.
Stewards to carry no more birds than they can bench without placing cages on the floor
Senior stewards to check rings on young birds and advise the judge of any anomalies.
Retain first prize winners for Colour awards, unless a separate arrangement is made. Then return such birds to
Colour Stewards for dispersal to judges making section awards.
Classes with more than seven entries -- birds placed 8th & lower should have cage label marked with a line or
cross to show that they have been seen
Order of Priority in selecting major Specials, including Best Opposite Sex awards – Best Opposite Sex in Show MUST be of the Opposite Sex to Best in Show.
Try to judge the Rarer/Specialist varieties first as they normally entail additional paperwork by the Patronage/Show Secretary.
Section awards usually need ‘thinning out by the judge as the first prize winners are brought up for the section awards.
Colour awards must always be judged throughout the lineup. Colour spots to be placed in the centre of the label (over the ‘Class Position’ box). NB. These awards are open to all exhibitors and thus do not have to wait until membership details, etc are established
A Certificate of merit can not, under any circumstances, be awarded to a bird which has already won a Challenge Certificate at that show.
Procedures on Ring checking, including necessary Bio-security methods.
At all stages, the Senior Steward is authorised to point out errors in the judge’s decisions. If (rarely) these comments are refuted, then he must refer the matter to the Show Manager to take up the issue. If this does not result in a satisfactory conclusion, the matter should be referred to the BS office with all necessary evidence and ratifications.
Completion of ALL relevant forms and returns – providing judges with the relevant forms to allow for the smooth judging and recording of all awards, then ensuring that they are returned promptly to the office once completed.
The need to include Subsidiary panel judges at ALL stages of the judging tasks – including Special Awards- and thus according them the same respect and hospitality as the judges engaged.
Early ‘dressing out’ of the show to provide the shop window for the fancy
Attending to all stages of the show, including the final clearing of the hall of staging.
It was pointed out by several of the judges present that this presentation would be an ideal tool to be able to give to show promoting societies, especially as many have officials who are comparatively new to the fancy and need support in establishing all the things that they need to consider. The BS recognises this, and aims to complete the package with notes on the duties of the Show Secretary, and all other officers, with a view to sending these out to those societies who request it. It is felt that it will be particularly useful for local show committees to look at and work through together in preparing for their own show.
The second session addressed the recently produced Colour Standards booklet, which has already been well acclaimed, and which features the new pictorial Ideal, which was accepted by the society in company with the World Budgerigar Organisation. This item was introduced by Ghalib Al-Nasser as Judges Training Scheme Co-ordinator, who commented that the new booklet was needed because since the 1994/98 editions were published there has come the recognition of further new varieties, which are making their mark on the show bench.
There has been no change made to the basic layout and terminological style in this issue, but it is hoped that this one will still be found easier to read than preceding, excellent, publications. One of the enhancements in this version is that it also offers advice as to into which classes those birds of the rarer varieties should be entered.
As in all written works and despite patient proof-reading, a number of small mistakes – mainly typographical - have been reported and the committee is grateful to all who have written in about this publication. Such errors have been pointed out in the magazine and this practice will continue.
Undoubtedly, the main topic for explanation/ discussion was the Guidelines for Judges which are really aimed just as much, if not more, at exhibitors, because they are the folk who will make the decision as to whether certain birds will be able to progress to become major Specials winners, especially from 2012, when the possession of a single Major fault will be sufficient to debar such birds from ultimate success. From this year until then, it will require two Major faults to so dear exhibits. The Major faults to be considered are fairly comprehensively defined, and are based on the list produced in 2007.
The introduction of what must appear, to some folk, to be a quite ‘hard line’ policy is seen as essential if the fancy is to move forward towards achieving a better standard on the show bench with fewer things to mar our overall image. It will also cause less confusion to relative newcomers to the fancy, many of whom express confusion when they see or (albeit good quality) birds of poor condition displaying other major faults, e.g. flecking, taking awards ahead of birds which overall appear more to comply with the written standards. The directive should thus make it easier for judges to make their awards, removing the quandary of putting ‘lesser’ birds ahead of stronger, but badly flawed, opposition.
Some judges will have reservations about implementing these directives but, as ever, they are acting as custodians of the Budgerigar Society’s rulings, and as judges act under license to do just that..
There is certainly some disquiet amongst show promoting societies that there will be a commensurate reduction in entries if flecked birds are withheld and certainly we will all need to prepare for some resettlement, as was pointed out by one speaker from the floor, who made reference to the present targets laid upon shows who wish to qualify for certain levels of patronage. Area society events are not, of course, subjected to such constraints. The hope is this will not make a great difference to entries in this next year and that in the next three years we breeders will develop breeding programmes to prepare for the 2012 show season. This is an opportunity which was not afforded in the early 1980’s when flecking was totally banned outright and immediately
The first afternoon session was in the capable hands of Mick Freakley, who as a judges and extremely successful exhibitor knows the problems from both sides of the judging bench. His presentation largely consisted of a look at winning budgerigars at BS Club shows etc, and by which he demonstrated that really the attitudes of judges will not need to change greatly. We looked at images of birds which had varying degrees of major faults and by and large agreed with Mick’s findings – that we already tend not to put up birds which are badly flecked and out of condition and that all the new guidelines tells us is that if we need to tighten up those decision a little more in the next few years, it will not be such a great step.
In the Question and Answers session which concluded the day, the biggest points of disagreement/concern were with regard to the treatment of deviation from colour standards; it was largely felt that the Clearwings presented the greatest challenge because, as Ghalib said, the standard for this variety has been changed five times, moving it away perhaps from the original mutation and that it will take a very long time before that movement can be reversed. It is obviously something that will be looked at over the next couple of years. The other specific query was regarding spots on Spangles, and the need for the bullseye feature which is often not achieved. Indeed many birds do not appear to possess any spot at all, but Gren Norris pointed out that one of the problems is that some fanciers do not dress the mask of their birds properly and spots can thus stay ‘under the surface’.
Debate suggested that this would not, in itself, be seen as a major deviation from the standard, although not the ideal and an improvement very much to be encouraged. Missing spots was also discussed and it may be that there is need to define what is, and is not a spot – does it refer only to the primary spot feathers?
This was an enlightening session which perhaps further alleviated some of the doubts and reservations held by some of the judges present. Comment was made that attendance at these Judges meetings was a great help and perhaps should be a requirement, at least once in every three years, for members of the Judges and Subsidiary panel.
Unfortunately, some of those who are most vociferous in their criticisms of BS rulings generally do not take the opportunity to enter into open discussion with those of a different point of view. Hopefully, we will all take note of various subjects, queries and problems as they arise, and drop a line to the BS office with a view to the item being included in the next annual Judges’ meetings.
Certainly, this was a very successful day for the folk who attended and, as stated, an almost full meeting assembled for the Sunday. Our thanks to the members of the Colour Standards and Judges Panel Committee for organising the agenda and of course, to the speakers who did such an admirable job.
Additionally, we were excellently “fed and watered” throughout by our tireless secretary, Dave Whittaker, in his inimitable style.