AN Oxford church was awash with tweeting of the strictly ornothological kind as more than 600 birds were shown off at a city club’s annual show.

The Oxford District 1910 Cage Bird Society celebrated its 102nd show with an array of plumage at Collinwood Road United Reformed Church.

About 60 members showcased 650 birds at the Risinghurst Church, attracting enthusiasts who arrived from across the UK.

Chairman David Allen, 47, said the age-old hobby was as popular as ever.

The city postman said: “We have a few ladies in the club but what I will say is that we have not all got flat caps, which is what everybody seems to think we have.

“I don’t think you will see anyone with a flat cap here today, it is all walks of life. The majority are of the older generation, but there are a few youngsters here.”

He added: “My uncle used to keep racing pigeons so I have had birds all my life, I have always had birds around me.”

Organiser Chris Green, 29, said: “I think it is just the competition. It is reasonably competitive. They come to compare their birds to others.”

Surrounded by cages of tweeting canaries and budgies, Wheatley carpenter Bob Honey said he was as hooked as ever.

He said: “Maybe it is the colour, the song, it is showing and exhibiting your birds.

“A lot more people come in when they are middle-aged, the children have grown up and they want another hobby.”

Birds range in cost from £10 to £500 and most members keep their feathered friends in a shed, or “bird room” as its known to aficionados.

Mr Honey, an enthusiast since 1979, said: “The wife is quite amicable [about it] now. She wasn’t at first.”

John Russell, 42, travelled from Berry Hill, Gloucestershire, with son Samuel, 13.

He said: “My father had them and I just carried on from him. I wanted to do the same sort of thing with my son.

“The teenagers don’t seem to take it on, it is a big commitment.

“A lot of kids today, it is computers and PlayStation. I would rather they do something more active.”

Wheatley family Boris and Susannah Salle took their children Ayla, three, and Isaac, seven, to the show.

Mrs Salle said: “It was a wet afternoon and we didn’t know what to do. We were quite surprised – the kids are happy.”