Canary breeding has been a fascinating and popular hobby in the UK since the seventeenth century. Over many years through selective breeding, canaries have evolved into distinctly different groups, known as types or varieties. All have gained their own ardent followers, who like their appeal more than that of other canary varieties. Breeders of each individual variety of canary have established standards of excellence, promoting the theoretical ideal bird of each particular breed. Specialist clubs have become established to promote these individual breeds, and networks of clubs have spread throughout the UK and worldwide, united by the common aim of producing the ideal bird.
Taking a step backwards, in addition to canaries, there are many species of domesticated birds kept by a wide variety of people throughout the UK. Catering for their needs, local clubs have formed, meeting regularly to entertain and inform their members, with events programs including guest speakers, various aspects of bird keeping demonstrations, bring and buy sales and a host of other events. These clubs tend to stage one or more mixed variety shows each year, where local fanciers can exhibit their birds in competition with other club members.
A few pointers then, for newcomers to the world of exhibition canaries, and birdclubs. CBS clubs are a great place to meet local fanciers, and to encourage others to take up bird keeping. Meeting regularly, local clubs provide an informal opportunity to ‘network’ with other bird keepers, and take part in several events close to home. They provide an opportunity to dispose of stock and encourage others to take up our hobby.
Generally, a close inter-working between specialist and CBS clubs exists, with patronages granted and awards offered at CBS club shows by specialist societies, often at no cost to the promoting society, in return for a mention in the show schedule. For the future of bird keeping, fanciers should make time on their calendar to support both specialist and CBS clubs, as neither can exist without the help of the other.