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Old Wednesday 28th July 2004, 14:54   #1
weather
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Racing pigeons

This morning there were 2 men, standing by a small pick-up truck, with 3 boxes on the ground in front of them in the parking lot where I work. Curiosity got the better of me, so I lumbered over to ask what they were up to. They said they were racing pigeons.

I don't want to get into the big discussion of caging birds and all that....I'm just reflecting on a nice experience.

Anyway, they said they lived about 2 hours away and that the birds would beat them home. They finally released the birds (about 30) and they circled and circled. One of the men explained that if it wasn't overcast, the birds would just head straight for home and not circle at all, but now they have to get there bearings first. After about 5 minutes of circling. they finally headed North toward home. A weird thing to witness on a cool morning. I've heard of racing pigeons, but never seen it.

How the birds know how to get back is truly amazing...

Mike
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Old Wednesday 28th July 2004, 15:23   #2
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Old Wednesday 28th July 2004, 15:27   #3
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If they know the pigeons are going to win why do they keep doing it?

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Old Wednesday 28th July 2004, 15:35   #4
weather
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Why do I post?......I should learn by now.....

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Old Wednesday 28th July 2004, 15:41   #5
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Sorry Mike, it was just too hard to resist!

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Old Wednesday 28th July 2004, 18:00   #6
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Actually, their ability to find their way home is not really that amazing. They all have little GPS units now.
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 10:15   #7
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Some friends of ours were telling us last night that they've gained a racing pigeon in the last couple of weeks. The bird appeared outside their home (in Surrey), obviously exhausted. They fed and watered it, but it showed no inclination to fly away. They eventually tracked down a number for the British racing pigeon association, and were told that it would fly home after four days. It didn't, so they rang back to find out what to do with the bird. They were told to release it at least ten miles from their home, and it would return to its original home (they were able to tell from its two leg rings it was originally from Gloucestershire). They did this and woke up the next morning to find the pigeon outside their door! They've managed to get in touch with the owner, and he's sending someone to collect the bird today. I wonder how many more birds loose their sense of direction like this.
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 10:21   #8
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Lucky pigeon, florall - I'm sure I've heard that in some cases like this, the bird is of no use any more, so its neck is wrung!!!
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 11:03   #9
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I had wondered Elizabeth.
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 11:47   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by florall
Some friends of ours were telling us last night that they've gained a racing pigeon in the last couple of weeks. The bird appeared outside their home (in Surrey), obviously exhausted. They fed and watered it, but it showed no inclination to fly away. They eventually tracked down a number for the British racing pigeon association, and were told that it would fly home after four days. It didn't, so they rang back to find out what to do with the bird. They were told to release it at least ten miles from their home, and it would return to its original home (they were able to tell from its two leg rings it was originally from Gloucestershire). They did this and woke up the next morning to find the pigeon outside their door! They've managed to get in touch with the owner, and he's sending someone to collect the bird today. I wonder how many more birds loose their sense of direction like this.
A couple of years back I had a similar situation with a lost racer. I found the email address of the racing pigeon association and gave them the details. The next day the owner rang to explain that the bird would be picked up but I had to catch it first and then put it in a box for collection. After a bit of trouble this I did and the bird was collected the next day.

The thing that bugged me was I didn't get a word of thanks or ackowledgement from either the owner or the PRA, I'd heard rumours of what happened to duff racers but I assumed if they were taking the trouble to get it back then it was safe.
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 11:57   #11
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Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bigg
Lucky pigeon, florall - I'm sure I've heard that in some cases like this, the bird is of no use any more, so its neck is wrung!!!
Uh oh!!! I can hear the steam venting from certain ears already!! I hope you're prepared for some very nasty comments Elizabeth (not from me i hasten to add!)
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 14:29   #12
weather
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bigg
Lucky pigeon, florall - I'm sure I've heard that in some cases like this, the bird is of no use any more, so its neck is wrung!!!
How sure are we of this?

Mike
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 18:34   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bigg
Lucky pigeon, florall - I'm sure I've heard that in some cases like this, the bird is of no use any more, so its neck is wrung!!!
Elizabeth,

Hardly likely - it costs the fancier 20 to have a pigeon returned by Amtrak.

Anthony
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 18:36   #14
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Originally Posted by weather
How sure are we of this?

Mike
Hi Mike,

This is one of those old stories that just refuses to go away.

Anthony
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 18:50   #15
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Originally Posted by Anthony Morton
Elizabeth,

Hardly likely - it costs the fancier 20 to have a pigeon returned by Amtrak.

Anthony
Anthony - I said it was a lucky pigeon that it was still wanted on this occasion!!! I merely said that I thought I had read somewhere a story about a lost pigeon not being wanted by its owner, as it was no longer any use to him.

Do you think this pigeon could be re-trained to find its home again, after this episode?
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 18:52   #16
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How sure are we of this?

Mike

Quite sure. This practice was admitted in a letter to the local press in Aberdeen, when questions were raised about the flock of dead Racing Pigeons found in a skip near to Dyce Airport. The birds had been collected on offshore platforms, flown back to the beach by helicopter, in boxes, (the boxes contained the birds, not the helicopter) then handed to a Racing Pigeon federation rep.
Once lost, they are not worth the price of feed.
It's what they call, "natural selection", at loft level.
"Naturally, we will feed them if they come back on their own, but naturally we will not feed them, (AGAIN) if we have to go and collect them. If they will not fly, we do not feed."

Interestingly enough, we were ringing Waxwings in a garden in the West End of Aberdeen, (Posh area). The woman who owned the garden was telling us, that here brother has a large loft down South, just outside London. She stated that the last time she was down to see him, he was ringing the necks of 3 of his yearling birds as they had got lost during a race, but were returned to him by some well wisher, of the birds that is.
Her comments, "Pigeon racing holds some of the most ruthless people who work with birds. It's all to do with money, not the love of their birds".

Regards

Malky.
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 19:09   #17
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What is amazing is the constant call for a cull on BOP by Pigeon fanciers, and yet they kill far more than are lost to natural predators.
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 19:28   #18
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"What is amazing is the constant call for a cull on BOP by Pigeon fanciers, and yet they kill far more than are lost to natural predators."

One person who won the national lottery paid 60,000:00 for a racing Pigeon.
(True, check Camelot) Who says it's not about the money.

Hypothetical situation.
If this bird is was lost during a race or free flight around the loft, what would get the blame.
A bird of prey would, as this is the easy option.
The birds capabilities of finding it's own way home would never come into question. That's like admitting that you have just spent a fortune, to some, on a dud bird, you abilities and knowledge as a Pigeon fancier/racer is now definitely in question, and what for the cheaper birds in your loft. Worthless!!
Now, who is going to admit to that??

Me personally, for 60,000:00 I would expect that this bird would be overtaking Pergs' during a stoop.

Regards

Malky.
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 19:48   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bigg

Do you think this pigeon could be re-trained to find its home again, after this episode?
Hi Elizabeth,

Certainly. Racing pigeons are not infallible and they can (and do) get lost for a whole variety of reasons - even previously consistent ones. Over the years I've had more than one bird returned by Amtrak that has gone on to be a successful racer.

Anthony
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 19:49   #20
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Originally Posted by weather
How sure are we of this?

Mike
Before I retired a few years ago, one of my work colleagues bred and raced pigeons. He used to think nothing of killing off birds that did not perform well.
Any cats found near his or his fellow racers bird lofts would be caged up and sent many miles away with the birds to their release point.
A RSPCA officer who lived in our village moved house because his neighbour shot his cat with an air rifle (he could not prove it) for disturbing racing pigeons.

Roger
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 19:50   #21
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What is amazing is the constant call for a cull on BOP by Pigeon fanciers, and yet they kill far more than are lost to natural predators.
Pete,

Could you please provide details of your source for this statement.

Anthony
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 20:00   #22
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Over the years I've had more than one bird returned by Amtrak that has gone on to be successful racers.

Were they in the Amtrak vans when racing?? Did they overtake the TNT birds?


Anthony, just curious, why use Amtrak, when you could use "Pigeon Post"?

Regards, with a little mirth,

Malky.
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 20:03   #23
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Not all racing pigeons seem so clued up ...back in Namibia a couple of years back, read about one that nearly got shot for landing in one of the diamond areas (can be used to smuggle out the gems). However, its life was spared when it was noticed the bird was wearing a British ring! The manager felt sorry for it and, I think it was sent to Jo'burg and ? eventually back to the UK (bit hazy memory on this last bit).

Anyhow it was on a race from France to the UK and clearly took the wrong turn! Certainly wasn't the quickest way home!
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 20:04   #24
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Originally Posted by alcedo.atthis
Over the years I've had more than one bird returned by Amtrak that has gone on to be successful racers.

Were they in the Amtrak vans when racing?? Did they overtake the TNT birds?


Anthony, just curious, why use Amtrak, when you could use "Pigeon Post"?

Regards, with a little mirth,

Malky.
Hi Malky,

Thank heavens you haven't lost your sense of humour!

Coo-Coo!
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Old Monday 2nd August 2004, 20:09   #25
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Hypothetical situation.
If this bird is was lost during a race or free flight around the loft, what would get the blame.
A bird of prey would, as this is the easy option.
The birds capabilities of finding it's own way home would never come into question. That's like admitting that you have just spent a fortune, to some, on a dud bird, you abilities and knowledge as a Pigeon fancier/racer is now definitely in question, and what for the cheaper birds in your loft. Worthless!!
Now, who is going to admit to that??

Me personally, for 60,000:00 I would expect that this bird would be overtaking Pergs' during a stoop.

Regards

Malky.[/quote]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi everybody
Sorry to come so late into the fray but Ive been on holiday .
I see the usual lets hate all pigeon fancier brigade are at it again any one would think we where the spawn of the devil . Sorry to disapoint but we are mostly (99%) resonable people who love our birds and hobby .
I can assure you that not claiming racing pigeons is taken seriously and failure to do so means expulsion from the RPRA .
I am sure that in every pursuit or hobby there will always be a rogue element so please do not judge the vast majority by of the actions of the few . As for paying 60,000 for a pigeon well you pays your money and you takes your chance , mind you for that money I would expect it to fly faster than Concorde never mind the odd Perg .
Just to finish on a lighter note a guy once said to me " you pigeon fanciers are all the same when they dont come back you kill them " (a true story)
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