It Is All About Tiny Changes

Click to enlargeSome references to the modern budgerigar and its feather changes appeared in Budgerigar World Magazine earlier this year written by Gwyn Evans – who has owned this publication since it was passed over to his management by Gerald Binks in 1991/2.

Which Ideal Budgerigar?

Mr Evans referred to the beautiful, well shaped and proportioned bird looking like the Ideal Budgerigar.

My initial question is: “to which Ideal is he referring?”

Is it the one published by the Budgerigar Society in the 1980s, or the most recent one published with its “buffalo effect” – very well illustrated in the second edition of The Challenge book, with the modern frontal view, by Roy Aplin?

Feather Engineering

Mr Evans said the modern bird is about feather and, of course, he is correct.

It is called “feather engineering”.

Click to enlargeThe body has not changed greatly since the 1980s but the length and shape of the feathers has changed radically as well as their direction.

The judges, especially those who do not breed these buffalo faced types, have to struggle, but nevertheless they have to move with the times or look silly.

An Ideal has to be ahead of what is currently being bred so that we can strive to improve to that standard.

Some features are always being surpassed but others are not. Some features are being overdone so that the beauty of the budgerigar is lost – but those extremes can be reduced fairly easily.

Therefore a lot of small features have to be worked with to achieve what is desired, to bring the breeder complete satisfaction.

Catch Up

Mr Evans is right in saying we are going too far in some cases, but this is the fault of breeders who simply follow the herd without deep thought and cannot see the small changes that the skilled breeders are doing.

In other words they are on “catch-up” continually.

When I returned to the hobby six years ago, after a ten year break, the first thing I noticed was the extra length of feather and the lack of body and shortness of body on birds.

Straightaway, I thought of the combination of the more yellow / medium feathered birds of the 1980s and 1990s, with a bigger body than the birds I was looking at, at that time.

What we are looking for today, is a combination of directional feather along with tiny features that only experience will reveal in our studs.

The Jigsaw Puzzle

Yes, of course we still have what I term as “bags of salt” draped round the perches, but has nobody noticed that this awful stance is disappearing?

Be very attentive at shows and look closely at all the birds and you will see these changes.

Building an Ideal is like completing a jigsaw puzzle and most of the difficulties are finding where the smallest pieces exist to be able to complete the picture.

The Missing Pieces

When we recall the bird breeding in the past, to the times when breeders were approaching “The Ideal” of the day, they acted in the same way.

Click to enlargeIn those days, you could find the tiny pieces in a lot of aviaries if you were focused on those missing pieces and they were there if you hunted for them.

You worked with the purchases. You did not buy your way to the top, but bred them to beat the opposition.

The late Harry Bryan was THE man of the period to spot those missing fragments and he was the classic breeder who worked with each of them to produce his next winner.

So focus on what you think your birds are missing but strive at it to create a new Ideal that is ahead of its time.

The standards that are drawn and written are a guide only and can be interpreted in different ways by each breeder. Be an individual and create a world class bird in your own way.

That is the way to breed top class exhibition budgerigars.


Filed Under: BeginnersBreedingExhibiting



About the Author: Originally from The Netherlands but now living in Eire, Jos started in the hobby in 1978. He had a ten year break from the early 1990s before he started again with mainly Lütolf birds. He also brought in a single bird each from Gerald Binks and Jerry Donovan for the throw of the head feathers. Jos breeds about 150 birds per season but he does not show them much - despite having previously won the Eire BS show in Dublin.

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