Here's why more than 800 caged birds went on display at Portchester Community School
THE CHATTER of schoolchildren made way for canary song as more than 800 birds were put on display.
The fifth South Coast Open Show took place at Portchester Community School on Sunday, drawing 808 entries from owners of caged birds.
Exhibitors from across the country entered birds in the show’s competition categories, including Best Seed Eater and Best Lovebird.
Each animal was then examined by a crack team of seven judges before winners were crowned.
Victors included Geoff Gale, from Hayling Island, who won Best Foreign Bird and Best Lovebird with his Abyssinian Lovebird – a mainly green bird in the parrot family – and Steve Spragg, from Portchester, who clinched Best Budgerigar with his sky blue budgerigar.
Paul Swatton, a member of co-organisers the Havant Caged Bird Society, said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted with the turnout.
‘It's the biggest show in our region and people come from all over – from as far west as Cornwall and as far north as Stafford.
‘Keeping birds is great because it’s very social and you get to meet lots of nice people and share anecdotes.’
There are hopes the bird-keeping community could grow with the success of the show, which maintained its record attendance from 2018.
Organisers said 242 Fife Canaries were entered, alongside 118 Gloster Canary Fancy birds – the show's two most popular classes.
Mr Swatton added: ‘The community is getting smaller.
‘If you go back to the war years a lot of people kept birds, but there are less of us now.
‘We’re always keen to get younger members to join and that’s why we hold the show.’
To learn more or join the Havant Caged Bird Society, go to havantcbs.org.