The Topflite National Bird Show.
After rounds of rigorous regional competition, the 2017 Topflite National Bird Show is set to take place from July 21st – 23rd at the Christchurch Bird Club.
Show Secretary Kevin Crossan expects around 1200 birds at this year’s final. “Canaries, budgies and finches are usually the most popular,” he says, “as well as hookbeaks and the British birds.”
When asked about highlights of the regional competitions so far, Kevin describes a very special win in at the Timaru Show.
“A junior won Best Gloster Canary – that was a real stand-out. He would’ve only been 10 or 11 years old and he’d bred the bird himself too, with some help from his grandfather.”
Part of the thrill in attending the National Show is meeting up with enthusiasts from all over the country. Kevin appreciates the effort North Island breeders make to travel to the show, particularly with the road closures on quake-damaged SH1. But despite travel difficulties, entries from North Island exhibitors are stacking up and, after a good turnout at the regional shows, it looks like the big event will be as hotly contested as ever.
Winning a category at a National Show is the pinnacle of success in the world of bird clubs. “It’s really the ultimate goal for any breeder, to go up against the best in the country and win,” says Kevin.
Formed in 1932, the New Zealand Federation of Bird Clubs acts as a governing body and sets the rules for the showing and judging of birds around the country. One such bird club has operated for 120 years. Clearly there is plenty of tradition and reputation at stake.
And what would those original members be most surprised by at this year’s Topflite National Show? “Probably the numbers,” says Kevin, “aviary birds aren’t as popular as they used to be.”
He puts this down to the range of modern hobbies available, and that New Zealand is a more urban population these days. Living on smaller sections means limited space for keeping an aviary. While slightly downbeat about the long term trend the excitement is nonetheless obviously apparent.
“But I think they (the original members) would be very pleased to see the clubs still going and people still appreciating the beauty on display.”
With the unwavering high level of competition delivering such beautiful results, so are we.