TWO COMMITTED BUDGERIGAR showmen – one highly experienced, the other a recent returnee to the hobby – report this week on their experience at the recent BS Club Show, one of the great exhibition events staged in the UK. It’s always salutary to invite and listen to feedback, and likewise to keep in our minds the question: “What should a great bird show of today offer?” The answer is bound to include a mixture of cherished tradition and enterprising innovation. It’s a case of striking the right balance to give the greatest possible pleasure to the entire membership.

If you made the pilgrimage to Doncaster last month, or if you have attended previously, do read and mull over the thoughts of Brian Reese and Alan Pearson on page 10, and compare them with your own experience. From mine, I know that the Club Show encapsulates so much of what makes budgerigar-keeping great. I would love to hear from more readers what they feel the show does well and what it could do better.

Do share your thoughts – always keeping in mind our “house rule” that if you offer a criticism, please also suggest a solution.

Mr Jones’s letter (left) raises a valid and obvious question about greenfinches: should they be green or (at all) grey? The BBC’s show standard for cock birds states: “to be a rich bright grass green throughout body”, while allowing for “slight grey outer webbing” on wings and tail. Under “Faults” it includes: “smokiness or too much grey suffusion, giving a dark appearance”. (A very experienced greenfinch breeder assures me that “smokiness” and “grey suffusion” mean the same.) Yet that wording still allows for a degree of “grey suffusion”, surely – which may give rise to the potential judges’ dilemma that Bernard Howlett referred to in his original article. Personally I think part of the special beauty of greenfinches lies in their subtle and variable combination of rich green and soft grey. What do other greenfinch enthusiasts reckon?

Sticking with British: don’t neglect Austin Middlemiss’s article on page 12. Yes, it’s about applying for a licence – but it also touches on the fundamental right of fanciers to breed and show colour variants of native birds.

Enjoy your birds – whatever their colour – this week.