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Why do I show finches?

The first time I exhibited one of my birds at a show it was because I was reading about a pending local show in one of the online finch groups and everyone was getting excited about it.  I decided that I wanted to join in the fun, and started off showing three of my best zebras.

Well, one of my zebra finches came in third in section (all the zebra finches) and naturally I was excited.  However, what was even more exciting was what I learned sitting there watching the judging and talking to other exhibitors.  I was hooked, and have shown finches at all our local shows ever since.  My next step is traveling a greater distance to a show.  I haven't done that yet, but it is not far off. 


How do I find out about local finch shows?

The best ways are through a local bird club.  The shows are generally sponsored by a local club.  Don't just look for finch clubs:  often club shows will have a finch division.  For example, our local Canary Club has a finch division every year.  Other good sources are to check the sites of finch organizations such as the National Finch and Softbill Society (NFSS), or the American Softbill and Finch Society .  Poke around the web with your favorite search tool and you will find some shows and bird clubs close by you.


What do I need to get started?

You need a finch and a show cage with a water cup.  A show cage is a small cage that can comfortably hold one or two finches.  There are several different kinds available from a variety of sources.  You will see pictures of show cages on this web page.  Most exhibitors paint the outside of their cages black and the inside a light blue, but you can also leave them white.  Sometimes a white cages shows off a dark bird in more detail.  If you can't find show cages at your local bird show, you can obtain them from Abba Seed.  The National Finch and Softbill Society (NFSS) website also has a link to a source for show cages. 

Do not mark your cage with your name or any other distinctive manner:  the names of the exhibitor are only revealed to everyone (including the judge) after the judging is complete.


What should I expect at the show?

When you arrive at the show you will have to "tag" your cages with the appropriate Division, Section and Class.  These vary by the age of the birds (less than one year or more than one year), the type of bird (zebra finch, society finch, etc) and the mutation.  You should know that any bird without a closed year color coded band is considered more than a year old.  The actual division of classes and sections varies by the organization sponsoring the show, but you will receive that information at the time of registration.  Once there you register your birds, tag the cages, and pay your cage fee (it varies by show, but typically is around $3 to $5 per bird.  Some shows will cap your cage fees after you have registered 15 birds, but again that varies by show.)  you just sit back and watch the judging.  A number of the judges we have seen are extremely informative, talking about each bird and pointing out it good points and its faults. 

After the birds are judged in their classes (for example, all Chestnut Flanked White Zebra Finches) the winners of each class are then judged by their section (all Zebra Finches, for example).  Finally, the top ten (or in a large show, the top twenty) birds are chosen from the winning birds in each section.  After all the results are complete the names of the exhibitor for each of the top birds is revealed.

Here is a photo of some finches waiting behind the bench for their classes to be called:

You can see the tags hanging on the left side of the cage.  Each bird has a supply of water and a supply of seed (often the seed is just scattered on the floor of the cage).  As you can see, some of the cages were left white, and others were painted black with a blue interior. 


Bench Results for our flock


Maryland All Canary Club Fall Show, Finch division, on October 6, 2007

We exhibited six cages at this show:  a pair of CCFW Zebrafinches, three Gouldian Finches, one Normal Grey Zebrafinch and one Lightback Zebrafinch.  Based on the results, it wasn't a great show for us (we didn't have any place in the top ten) but it was a good learning experience:  we learned some important points on conditioning.  (Watch out for next year!)  The finch division was very well represented, with 86 entries in the division.  Here is a photo of the top ten birds in the division:


Baltimore Bird Fancier's Spring Show 2007

We did not show any birds at this show this year.  Unfortunately, we had a major schedule conflict.  We took some time off in late spring to travel to Florida and attend our oldest daughter's graduation from Medical School.  This was a once in a lifetime event, and so the spring bird shows will have to rest until next year.


Maryland All Canary Club Fall Show, October 7, 2006

Between Mark and I, we entered nine cages in the finch division.  Mark's Light Back Zebra finch beat all my finches again!  He won First Place in the Finch Division, First Place for a Novice exhibitor, and of course First Place in Class and Section.  Pretty good for his third finch show!  Mark also exhibited another Light Back Zebra Finch (the son of his first place bird) which took Eighth place in the division.

I exhibited a pair of Continental Chestnut Flanked White Zebra Finches which took Sixth Place in the Division.  It was my first time exhibiting pairs.  I exhibited two Gouldian Finches which took Seventh and Tenth place in the division.


Mark receives his First Place trophy from the judge.

You can just see his Light Back peeking out from behind all the blue ribbons!


My pair of Continental Chestnut Flanked White Zebra Finches

My Red Headed Gouldian


Mark's other Light Back Zebra Finch

My White Breasted Gouldian


Baltimore Bird Fancier's Spring Show, May 20, 2006

My son Mark (age 15) exhibited a Light Back Zebra Finch which placed 4th best in the Finch Division (also first in class and section).  He also won for best youth exhibitor in the Finch Division. 


Mark's Light Back on the bench after the show.



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This site was last updated 10/14/07