HERE COME THE blockbuster events: as September turns into October, the cream of the fancy gathers in Doncaster for the Budgerigar Society Club Show and then in Stafford for the National Exhibition. This year the Club Show is on September 30 and October 1, with the Stafford extravaganza the following weekend, on October 8.

I hope you enjoy the special section on Great National Exhibitions that we’ve put together in this week’s issue. Even more, I hope you take extra pleasure in your own favourite show this season, whether it’s one of the “biggies” or a modest local affair. Size isn’t everything in the exhibition hobby, it’s all about enjoyment.

For those who aren’t planning to visit Stafford on the weekend of October 7-8, how about striking out in a new direction with some expert coaching in the keeping of gamebirds? The World Pheasant Association is running a special weekend course. For more information, turn to Ian Clark’s article on page 16.

“We have been down the route of specialist, single-variety shows. Now I believe the new National is about helping fanciers to respect all other varieties, for what they can bring to the hobby. The all-variety show brings new (or maybe old) dimensions to shows and showing.” That’s Phil Reaney, writing in the National Exhibition section. “Fur and feather” used to be the formula, didn’t it? Maybe things will come full circle and all skilled breeders will find it best to celebrate their hobbies together.

“Definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time,” says reader P. Warfield opposite, having saved the little swallows. I’d say it was a case of having the right skills at the right time! Who but an experienced birdkeeper would have had a nest-pan and felt handy at the moment of emergency? What a wonderful story.

Everybody knows that swallows bring good fortune when they choose your house to nest at. I reckon our reader has a double dose of good luck in store after that episode. (For an account of successfully hand-rearing a swallow, I recommend Bob Baggs’s article in the December 2, 2015 Cage & Aviary Birds.)

Editor’s Quote of the Week: “Although I have never tasted chickweed it certainly smells good and the birds do enjoy it.” – Les Rance, page 12. Les, if you ever do decide to tuck in, let us know how it goes! Enjoy your birds (and your greenfood!)