So You Want To Be A Steward? Asks Lincoln Baldwin, New Zealand

A steward’s role is to be completely involved in the job of judging and a good judge will ensure that the steward does so, by explaining, the features he is looking for, the method he proposes to use in judging, and everything else to do with the job.

It is important that the steward learn as quickly as possible, the method the Judge intends to use.  Each Judge has a different system, and often, the same Judge will vary his approach according to the size of the section or the number of special awards he is required to place.  A Judge’s job is to judge, and the more time a competent steward can save him, the quicker and better he will be able to perform his duties.

The greater part of any steward’s task will be fetching and carrying and as far as possible he should save the Judge having to do this work himself.  The Judge’s time is better spent on tasks such as checking closed rings in the Breeder Classes and looking for such things as missing claws or deformities as the birds are brought up to him for judging.


Many stewards do not know how to handle cages correctly, and the result is often an upset exhibit which the Judge must spend time waiting to settle.  Cages should be lifted and carried smoothly and quickly, without any bumps or sudden noises.  Do not carry exhibits to the Judge by tucking them under your arm.  You may handle more birds per trip this way, but the exhibitor will not thank you!  The main point is that the birds should arrive before the Judge undisturbed.

One of the most important duties of a steward is to ensure that all the exhibits in the class are judged.  Neither the Judge nor the exhibitor will thank you if, through an oversight, an outstanding exhibit fails to reach the judging stand.  You can guard against this possibility by religiously checking the total class numbers recorded in the judge’s book, against the cages on the bench.  it is far better to spend some time looking for an exhibit which has not been benched, than to miss a bird which has been misplaced by a benching steward.

As judging proceeds a steward should try to learn what the Judge is looking for.  There is a standard to judge to, the majority of exhibits fall far short of that standard.  By careful observation, the steward will soon discover the relative weight which the Judge gives to each feature of the bird, and will also become aware of any bird which has particularly taken the Judge’s eye.  This information will be important later, when you are beginning to sort out the top birds.  Make a mental note of these birds and try to memorise where they may be found.  You will save yourself a great deal of walking later in the day.  If you can show the Judge that you are capable of recalling specific birds in this way, you will become a steward that Judges remember with pleasure.


It is the Judge’s responsibility to ensure that the judging book is completed correctly, with the number of entries in each class, the cage numbers of the birds placed first, second, third and fourth, and any non-benched or wrong classes recorded.  I prefer the steward to do this job, always provided that I am confident that he/she is capable of handling the delegation.

It is essential that this book, be filled out clearly and correctly.  I normally ask the steward to do the initial recording and then it is a matter of a few seconds work for me to check several classes at a time.  It would save Show Secretaries a lot of time and heartache if all Judges and Stewards were to give this task the priority it deserves.  The number of times I have seen results incorrectly recorded or classes completely missed by Judges and Stewards and this means annoying extra work for the Show Secretary.

The same degree of care and attention must be applied to the task of completing the results in the specials book or special award sheets.  Take care too, that in cases where the runner-up to an award is required, (many specialist societies need this information) you take a note of the runner-up when you are placing the main award!  It is a simple matter to record the runner-up at the time of judging, but try remembering it several hours later!

It is the steward’s responsibility to place the first, second, third and fourth place stickers on the cages as the classes are judged.  These should all be positioned in the same place on all cages.  Special stickers should also be placed neatly on the cages.  Try to be consistent with your placement of all stickers.  It makes a great deal of difference to the overall appearance of the section when judging in completed.

So there we have it.  For four or five hours it is the responsibility of the Judge and steward to work together as a close team to discover the best bird in each section, and to keep a steady and accurate flow of information going back to the Show Secretary.


Filed Under: FeaturedShows



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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