by Bernadette Burke
Yesterday was the first of a two-day barrage of bird calls at the Domestic Animals Pavilion for the Sydney Royal Cage Bird Show.
African lovebirds, budgerigars, and other colourful natives were among some of the diverse birds being judged.
Darcy Issanchon, 13, has been a steward at the Bird Show for two years and owns almost 500 finches. Yesterday she won Grand Champion Finch for the eighth year in a row. Darcy aspires to be a bird judge and says the key to a prize winning finch is looking after them properly.
Kathy Manton, the Assistant Bird Show Manager, said she loves judging budgerigars. She is also a previous winner of best sky blue budgie in show and best old bird in show.
She said birds were judged on shape, demeanour and condition. Desirable features include good feathers, plumage, bright eyes and vitality.
“Like you would judge a model on the catwalk, birds should have their wings and feathers in the right place,” she said. Ms Manton is happy to share her ardour for budgies with everyone at the show.
“That’s what we love as officials here. We have that passion that we want to pass on to people,” she said.
A highlight of the Bird Show this year is a huge blue and gold macaw, a New World parrot from South America, featured for the first time.
Ian Sheffield, a member of the Parrot Society of NSW, said parrots require a lot of attention.
“It’s like having a three-year-old child. They just want to be with you all the time,” he said.