COM has finally caught up with the rest of the Lizard world and will provide classes for clear caps, broken caps and non caps next show season. In the final chapter of this short series, I am going to look at some of the finer points of the cap that will now come to the fore.
Let’s start with extreme forms of clear cap, as shown in examples A & B. Both are unblemished and have a neat outline. In many aspects of canary culture ‘big’ is considered ‘better’, and I can imagine that many people will state a preference for B, but that would be unwise. The shape of the cap may look attractive, but it disguises a significant fault (1).
Now look at the same caps annotated with the ‘ideal’ oval outline; this is the same outline that I used in the Part 2. A is 15% under, and B 15% over, the area of the oval. Technically A is a broken cap and B is over-capped, a more serious problem. Neither deserves to be disqualified, but both should have points deducted for deviating from the ideal.
There are limits to how much tolerance a judge should allow. Have a look at the two examples at the head of this article: one is a short capped silver hen; should she be entered in the clear cap class? Answer: no; a third of her cap is spangled; she is a broken cap. The other is an over-capped gold cock; should it be disqualified? In my opinion, no; the cap extends beyond the normal boundary and should have points deducted.
Now look at examples C and D, both of which display very minor blemishes in an otherwise excellent clear cap. You might think that the deduction of a single point might be in order, but some continental judges would treat them more harshly than that, claiming that they are broken caps.
I have already illustrated an example of C, and won’t repeat it here. D is even more bizarre. I have seen claims on the internet that no isolated dark feathers are permitted within a clear cap; D would therefore be deemed a broken cap. This is nonsense; both these birds are clear caps.
Up to now I have concentrated on clear caps, but non caps can also be tricky. Look at E & F: how would you judge them?
Answer: E is technically a non cap, but is on the 10% limit. In practice, it would probably be safer to enter it in the broken cap class. F has only a small clear patch, but it is outside the boundary of the cap. This is a significant fault, and should be penalised more heavily than if it had been within. For the sake of clarity, I have annotated the same drawings with the outline of the ideal cap so that you can see how bad F is.
The cap hasn’t been a big issue at COM shows up to now because all the caps were grouped together in one class. That is about to change. The new classification will put the cap in the spotlight and place extra demands on the judges. The devil is in the detail; will the judges be on the side of the angels?
- As a general principle, light feathers outside the normal boundary of the cap are more serious than dark feathers within. Assuming the two birds were of equal quality in other respects, I would prefer A.