Birds of a feather flocking to Oamaru this weekend

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Birds of all shapes and sizes will be on display at the North Otago Bird Fanciers Club show in Oamaru this weekend.

The event will be held in the Drill Hall tomorrow and Sunday, featuring about 600 birds entered by 60 fanciers.

Oamaru couple Ray and Olwyn Gibb will take their birds to the event.

Mr Gibb said he was excited about the chance to show off some prize birds.

“Shows are my life,” he joked.

The couple will exhibit their collection of British birds in this year’s show.

Ever since he could remember, Mr Gibb had had a passion for birds.

When he was 5, he had a pet bantam.

“I used to walk around with it on my shoulder,” he said.

At that time, his father was a budgie breeder.

When Mr Gibb turned 10, his father bought him some old English game bantams, introducing him to the bird-breeding world.

Seventy years on, Mr Gibb remains widely involved in that world.

To be a bird breeder you had to love birds, and want to be involved with them, he said.

Together, the Gibbs have won seven gold medals at national bird shows.

“[The birds] become part of your life,” Mr Gibb said.

The hardest part of being a bird fancier was trying to produce good birds.

“It’s all about getting the right looks and colours.”

The most satisfying experience was when two birds produced the perfect chick.

“It’s the result you get from mating the two birds – you’re hoping you’ve bred something better.”

Since joining the bird fanciers club 55 years ago, the couple had enjoyed the friendliness and hospitality of club members.

“It’s a good club here in Oamaru,” he said.