Laura Tinker

4th Vice President
Judges Panel
I have been keeping and breeding a variety of birds (psittacines, passerines and columbiformes) for over 30 years. My interest in passerines began in 1993 with a pair of cutthroat finches I won on a raffle table at a local bird club meeting. Although I have kept a multitude of species over the years, my...
Laura Tinker

The NFSS Apprentice Judge Program

Letter of Intent: Any new apprentice is required to write a letter of request to the NFSS Judges Panel Director, listing his/her qualifications.

Qualifications: Qualifications MUST include:

  • Applicant must be 21 years of age or older.
  • Currently are and have been a member of NFSS for at least three years. Please list years.
  • Have bred finches and/or softbills for five years. List type of finches and/or softbills bred and years bred.
  • Have exhibited under own name (or own aviary name) for three years. List when and where exhibited.
  • Must have won points five (5) times in top ten in shows under (at least) three (3) NFSS Panel Judges. List when, where, and under what judges point were won.

Written Test: Must take and pass a written test with 90% or better. If not passed, must study for one year and take the test again (not within one year). The test to be taken by pre-arrangement only with at least a 60 day advance notice to the Panel Director, at the Kaytee Great American, the National Cage Bird Show, or at sites where Panel Director is judging.

If the person is unable to attend the Kaytee Great American, the National Cage Bird Show, or a show where the Panel Director is judging, the following applies:

  • The candidate contacts the Panel Director with the name, address, and phone number of a local college examiner.
  • The Panel Director will contact the examiner within 30 working days to verify examiner’s authenticity, authority, affiliation and willingness.
  • At the discretion of the Panel Director, arrangements will be made for the candidate to take the exam.
  • If all the requirements are met to the Panel Director’s satisfaction, the test packet will be mailed to the college examiner.
  • The candidate is responsible for all costs incurred in this process.
  • The results, pass/fail, will be held by the Panel Director until all costs are paid.
  • Failure to pay all fees will result in membership suspension until all NFSS costs are reimbursed.

Note: Should the candidate not pass, the exam can be retaken (not within one year, as above), all fees having been paid.

Three Apprenticeships: Cannot apprentice until the test is passed. Each of three apprenticeships to be pre-approved by the Panel Director, the Panel Judge involved and the Show Manager of the show involved. In the event s/he must cancel the apprenticeship, the apprentice must notify all three individuals – the Panel Director, the Panel Judge involved and the Show Manager – prior to the day of the show.

Request in Writing for Board’s Approval: Once three apprenticeships are completed and satisfactory reports are received from the judges involved, the apprentice must submit a request through the Panel Director for final Board approval.

Agree to the Following: The apprentice must appear before the Board (or submit a notarized statement) indicating s/he understands and agrees to the following:

  • When requested to write a report, it must be done immediately. (Example – reports of shows to be judged.)
  • All show reports must be in within two weeks.
  • All judges must respond to all inquiries and must participate on Standard committees.
  • NFSS Panel Judges must adhere to all NFSS Judges rules and must judge by current NFSS Standards.

Board to Approve: All paperwork involved in the apprenticeship process, according to the current NFSS Apprentice Judge Program policy and procedure, excluding the test taken, will be presented to the Board to allow for complete review of the applicant.

For more information on becoming an NFSS Apprentice Judge, contact the NFSS Judges Panel Director.

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