Just what is the Judge Seeing? by Alison M Carr, Tyne & Wear

As an intermediate breeder of ‘Rares’ I often stay back at shows to steward for the judges. Doing this one hears all the ‘behind the scenes’ comments from the other stewards and the Senior Stewards. These often include ‘what is he looking at’, or ‘what is he seeing that I am not seeing’. Well this latter comment is the subject I am going to offer up for discussion.

I wear contact lenses, but at least once a month I have to remove them and use my glasses. I thus came to realise that how I perceive a bird differs depending on whether I am wearing the lenses, or using glasses. For close-up work I prefer to use neither – just to use my normal eyesight (I am short sighted). People looking at those who are short sighted and wearing glasses see someone with small eyes – as the glasses have that effect.

Alison in contact lenses

Alison in glasses

However I see quite a big difference depending on my use of glasses or lenses and this is rather perturbing; I got to wondering just how other people see my birds (or anyone else’s for that matter). I even asked my optician which is the right/real vision – he confused me more again by saying they ‘both’ are correct!

So obviously people’s eyesight does in fact literally influence what they are seeing, and judging! Also of course there is the matter of whether people have perfect vision naturally, are short sighted or long sighted; then add glasses or contact lenses. The difference in what they may then be seeing could be differing widely.

With my contact lenses in I see the birds larger (as I said I am short sighted); but with my glasses on the birds seem much smaller. I am just one of many people looking at exhibition budgerigars, so what any one person is seeing can actually differ widely to the next person (or judge) looking at the same birds.

At the very least it explains how people see the birds in front of them differently from even the person standing next to them.

Perhaps we have some optical experts who can further comment on this situation?

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Terry Tuxford About the Author:

Terry Tuxford first began breeding budgerigars in 1979 and joined the BS in 1980. He was elevated to Champion in 1985 when he went into partnership with Brian Poole. This partnership is probably one of the longest existing partnerships in the UK hobby today having lasted some 27 years so far and is still going strong. Terry and Brian are also partnered by Yvonne Tuxford who joined the BS in 1990.


Terry demonstrated his penmanship early in his budgerigar career and wrote in the second edition of Budgerigar World. Little did he realise then that in just over 8 year’s time he would become editor following a 20 month apprenticeship with founding editor, Gerald Binks. Terry went on to edit a total of 245 editions up to May 2011.


In 1993 Terry took his Budgerigar Society Judges final examination and was awarded Subsidiary Judge of the Year and has gone on to judge the Budgerigar Society World Show on three occasions as well as many top shows at home and abroad. He is also an accomplished speaker and has been a guest at societies throughout the UK as well as Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and many other European countries.

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