Pigeon racing – FA Colombofilia http://facolombofilia.com/ Mon, 04 Oct 2021 07:17:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://facolombofilia.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-3-120x120.png Pigeon racing – FA Colombofilia http://facolombofilia.com/ 32 32 Pigeon races still fly high in Sheffield despite fears for its future https://facolombofilia.com/pigeon-races-still-fly-high-in-sheffield-despite-fears-for-its-future/ Mon, 05 Jul 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://facolombofilia.com/pigeon-races-still-fly-high-in-sheffield-despite-fears-for-its-future/ It was in the 1960s that pigeon racing first aroused his interest. Within a few years, he had his own loft. He broke something using an old cabinet he found on a tip. Carving out an entrance for the birds, it was just large enough for about half a dozen birds at the house near […]]]>

It was in the 1960s that pigeon racing first aroused his interest. Within a few years, he had his own loft.

He broke something using an old cabinet he found on a tip. Carving out an entrance for the birds, it was just large enough for about half a dozen birds at the house near Burgoyne Road, Walkley, where he grew up.

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Pat Helliwell a Grenoside fancier. Photo Scott Merrylees

Today, with decades of professional skill in his trade and extensive experience in breeding winning pigeons, he has a huge loft at his home near Grenoside, with space for his 100 pigeons.

Pat, 64, still enjoys his hobby – but fears he faces issues that could see him make history.

The last high-profile issue to hit the headlines recently was the fear that races that traditionally started in France could end because of Brexit. But he sees other issues raising its head in a hobby that has been a Sheffield staple for generations.

“I’ve been racing pigeons since I was little,” said Pat, now one of the most successful racers at the Wadsley Bridge Flying Club, which is part of the Stocksbridge and District Federation in the field of pigeon racing. .

Pat Helliwell a Grenoside fancier. Photo Scott Merrylees

“My first race was in 1970, but I had kept birds for a few years before that. I started keeping them when I was 10 years old.

“At that time, the kids were out all day and we had animals. We fished or raised ferrets or pigeons. Most kids my age had pigeons – it was pretty big.

“In my early teens I learned to understand better what it was about.”

His first race saw his birds fly from Kettering to Sheffield in 1970. His best finisher was ninth. At that time, he had to mark the time on a clock on a marker tied around the bird’s leg to indicate when he was home, much like “clocking in” at work.

Pat Helliwell a Grenoside fancier. Photo Scott Merrylees

But times have changed and birds now carry a barcode. When entering his dovecote, the code is retrieved by an electronic reader, like at the checkout of a supermarket, automatically notifying the race organizers.

It’s not the only science involved. Birds’ diets are developed using the same type of techniques that athletes use to prepare them for races.

But there isn’t a lot of money in the races, he said.

“What I love most is when my pigeons win races,” he said. “That and see my pigeons come home. Bringing them home is the first and foremost thing. My wife says they’re like my babies.

John Healey MP with Mick McGrevy, who keeps and races pigeons

He raises them as well as the races. Owners seek to find successful breeding pairs, in much the same way as owners of racehorses.

Among his most successful pigeons is a bird he calls Sea Biscuit. Sea Biscuit won a Merit Award from the Royal Pigeon Racing Association last year.

This was in recognition of Sea Biscuit’s exceptional success in what the racing community calls Channel Races – races that start in France and return to England via the Channel.

There were three in his area last year. His bird won two.

“It’s a big deal, everyone wants to win them,” he said. “If you get a first place, you do well. “

But next year there are fears that the races will not take place because of Brexit.

New animal health regulations due to go into effect on April 21 reportedly required pigeons to have a health certificate signed by a veterinarian and to be in the EU for 21 days prior to release. In May, the EU agreed to extend the transition period for regulations until October 2021, but member states can apply their own national rules and France continues to require an animal health certificate.

UK owners want the requirements to be removed completely.

“Owners appreciate the need for strict regulations for travel to the EU, but these birds pose a low risk and are not imported, but only transported and then released,” said Mr Healey.

Pat says there are homeowners in town who are very upset with this change. But that’s not the only issue runners are facing right now.

They are also concerned about the increase in the number of birds of prey in the wild affecting their animals.

“We have a big problem with the birds of prey killing our pigeons,” he said. “The number of hawks and peregrine falcons is a big problem. People are raising them. Many of these birds are making a comeback. For pigeons it’s a big problem, so much so that a lot of people have integrated it. I understand they are eliminating songbirds as well. During the war, birds of prey were slaughtered to protect carrier pigeons bringing messages from Europe.

He is also concerned about the number of youngsters taking pigeons.

Pat has a son and a daughter as well as pigeons. They ask him how his birds are doing, but neither has started the hobby themselves.

“My club has 25 members,” he said. The federation may have 100, there are more on the other side of Sheffield too.

“Our federation sends around 1,500 birds per week. When I was 20, it was around 3,000.

“I’m afraid it will go out.”


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Thousands of birds disappear during the race https://facolombofilia.com/thousands-of-birds-disappear-during-the-race/ Fri, 25 Jun 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://facolombofilia.com/thousands-of-birds-disappear-during-the-race/ About 5,000 pigeon disappeared in what has been called “one of the worst racing days of all time.” © OLI SCARFF / AFP via Getty Images Thousands of carrier pigeons are released from the Kilton Forest Show Ground in Worksop, Nottinghamshire (file image) – OLI SCARFF / AFP via Getty Images About 9,000 birds have […]]]>

About 5,000 pigeon disappeared in what has been called “one of the worst racing days of all time.”



flock of seagulls flying in the sky: Thousands of carrier pigeons are released from the Kilton Forest Show Ground in Worksop, Nottinghamshire (file image) - OLI SCARFF / AFP via Getty Images


© OLI SCARFF / AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of carrier pigeons are released from the Kilton Forest Show Ground in Worksop, Nottinghamshire (file image)

– OLI SCARFF / AFP via Getty Images

About 9,000 birds have departed from Peterborough en route northeast on Saturday, in what would normally have been a three-hour race – but more than half have yet to arrive.

“We have had one of the worst racing days in our history,” said pigeon fancier Richard Sayers. The sun.

“Most of the ranchers I talk to blame the weather conditions – maybe a solar storm above the clouds that created static electricity in the atmosphere – but no one really knows that.”

Carrier pigeons use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate, but their sense of direction can be distorted by a geomagnetic storm.

The breeders have seen hundreds of pigeons not returning to their clubs. They asked whoever sees the pigeons, who have identification rings, to give them food, water and rest, before allowing them to continue on their way.

The daredevil pigeon is hitchhiking on an airplane engine!

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Ian Evans of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association told the newspaper: “We realized quite quickly that something very unusual was going on.

“I’ve never heard of anything like this.

“At first glance, the weather conditions were good. But in this case, thousands of birds simply did not return.

“Something happened that interfered with their navigation abilities. We believe it may have something to do with solar wind activity.”

He said there had been similar reports of heavy casualties in Portugal and Belgium.

The running association is in talks with the Met Office to see if unusual solar activity could have caused a geomagnetic storm.

“We obviously hope that the majority of these birds will find their way home over time,” said Evans.


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“Worst day ever” for pigeon racing as 5,000 birds go missing https://facolombofilia.com/worst-day-ever-for-pigeon-racing-as-5000-birds-go-missing/ Fri, 25 Jun 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://facolombofilia.com/worst-day-ever-for-pigeon-racing-as-5000-birds-go-missing/ They stole the chicken coop – and vanished into thin air. Bird handlers are devastated after a staggering 5,000 carrier pigeons appear to have gone missing in a race across the UK. “We had one of the worst racing days in our history,” said Richard Sayers, a pigeon fancier. wrote in a Facebook post chronicle […]]]>

They stole the chicken coop – and vanished into thin air.

Bird handlers are devastated after a staggering 5,000 carrier pigeons appear to have gone missing in a race across the UK.

“We had one of the worst racing days in our history,” said Richard Sayers, a pigeon fancier. wrote in a Facebook post chronicle of the feathery fiasco, which occurred on Saturday after 9,000 carrier pigeons took off from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, on a trip north-east. And while the 170-mile round-trip flight should have taken just three hours, more than half of the avian competitors were still missing last night.

They would be among 250,000 pigeons released in around 50 races across the country – with only 10% back on time and tens of thousands missing, reported the Sun.

This weather event may have distorted the Earth’s magnetic field, which pigeons use to navigate like a weather GPS.

It is not known what prompted the squadrons of youngsters to seemingly disappear into thin air. However, Sayers, whose local loft is said to have lost up to 300 birds in the flight-marriage phenomenon, said most breeders “blame the weather conditions, perhaps a solar storm above the clouds that created static electricity in the atmosphere ”.

Ian Evans, CEO of Royal Association of Pigeon Racing, finds the disappearance of the Bermuda Triangle particularly disconcerting because “the weather conditions across the country were good”. He added that “there was no suggestion that birds would have difficulty returning home.”

“I’ve never heard of anything like this,” lamented the mourning bird boss, 45, who has reportedly owned pigeons since the age of 9.

Ian Evans, CEO of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, called the disappearance “unusual”.

To help recoup losses, Sayers implores “anyone who encounters a carrier pigeon to feed it, water it and let it rest”, after which “there is an 80% chance that the birds will set off after a few hours. days “. he told the Daily Mail. The North Yorkshire native added that carrier pigeons can be identified by a paw ring indicating their “code and number”.

Pigeon owner Richard Sayers with his family
Dovecote Richard Sayers (seated center) with family. The North Yorkshire native said his missing carrier pigeons could be identified by a paw ring indicating their “code and number”.

To avoid such disasters in the future, Royal Pigeon Racing Association boss Evans is in talks with the UK’s National Weather Service to get reports of any unusual solar activity.

Pigeon enthusiast Richard Sayers with a commemorative plaque honoring his favorite bird species.
Sayers and a friend hold a commemorative plaque in honor of their favorite bird species.
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Mystery of “worst day in pigeon racing history” sees 5,000 birds disappear into the air https://facolombofilia.com/mystery-of-worst-day-in-pigeon-racing-history-sees-5000-birds-disappear-into-the-air/ Fri, 25 Jun 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://facolombofilia.com/mystery-of-worst-day-in-pigeon-racing-history-sees-5000-birds-disappear-into-the-air/ Pigeon enthusiasts are trying to figure out how around 5,000 birds disappeared in a “Bermuda Triangle” in one race in what is called one of the sport’s worst days. A race from Peterborough to the northeast saw 9,000 pigeons taking part in what should normally be a three hour competition, but more than half have […]]]>

Pigeon enthusiasts are trying to figure out how around 5,000 birds disappeared in a “Bermuda Triangle” in one race in what is called one of the sport’s worst days.

A race from Peterborough to the northeast saw 9,000 pigeons taking part in what should normally be a three hour competition, but more than half have yet to arrive.

Weather conditions are the only explanation advanced so far.

Pigeon fancier Richard Sayers told The Sun: “We have had one of the worst racing days in our history.

“Most of the ranchers I talk to blame the weather conditions – maybe a solar storm above the clouds that created static electricity in the atmosphere – but no one really knows that.”



Pigeon breeders attribute the disappearance of pigeons to atmospheric conditions

Carrier pigeons use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate, but they can be confused in a geomagnetic storm.

Breeders have seen their clubs lose hundreds of pigeons with identification rings. They ask anyone who sees one of the carrier pigeons to give them food and drink with the probability that they will eventually continue on their way.



Richard Sayers (center photo with his family) said it was one of the worst days in <a class=pigeon racing history” content=”https://i2-prod.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article24394684.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/0_SDC_MDG_-pigeon_24039JPG.jpg”/>
Richard Sayers (center photo with his family) said it was one of the worst days in pigeon racing history

Ian Evans of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association reportedly said: “We realized quite quickly that something very unusual was going on.

“I’ve never heard of anything like this.

“At first glance, the weather situation the conditions were good. But in this case, thousands of birds simply did not return.

“Something happened that interfered with their navigation abilities. We believe it may have something to do with solar wind activity.”

He added that there have been similar reports of problems in other European countries and that the racing association has visited the Office met to find out if solar activity could have caused a geomagnetic storm.


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The man seeks to create the Pigeon Racing Club locally https://facolombofilia.com/the-man-seeks-to-create-the-pigeon-racing-club-locally/ Tue, 01 Jun 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://facolombofilia.com/the-man-seeks-to-create-the-pigeon-racing-club-locally/ Pigeon racing is a booming pastime across the world, and Mike King, Brookfield, wants to introduce his favorite pastime to others in the Brookfield and Linn County area. King said the sport started in Europe and pigeons have been used throughout history to relay war messages and as a form of entertainment for famous people […]]]>

Pigeon racing is a booming pastime across the world, and Mike King, Brookfield, wants to introduce his favorite pastime to others in the Brookfield and Linn County area.

King said the sport started in Europe and pigeons have been used throughout history to relay war messages and as a form of entertainment for famous people like the Queen of England – the famous Americans Mike Tyson, Mel Gibson, George Foreman and even Marceline’s own Walt. Disney.

King started racing pigeons in the Kansas City area in 2014 when a colleague introduced him to the sport.

“I’ve found that it’s really something anyone can do – regardless of their ability – it’s healthy fun,” King said.

Prior to the COVID pandemic, King said he garnered “quite a bit” of interest from residents of Linn County, and he hopes that interest still exists. He plans to have an introductory meeting at 6 p.m. on June 7 at Trinity United Methodist Church.


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Birds of a feather gather for auction at Bakersfield Pigeon Racing Club https://facolombofilia.com/birds-of-a-feather-gather-for-auction-at-bakersfield-pigeon-racing-club/ Tue, 25 May 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://facolombofilia.com/birds-of-a-feather-gather-for-auction-at-bakersfield-pigeon-racing-club/ BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – For the rest of us, they can be nuisances – plagues on our streets, parks and public statues. But for a Bakersfield club, these are assets. At least the well-behaved. We are talking about pigeons – those who run long distances. And they were on display on Sunday – literally on […]]]>

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – For the rest of us, they can be nuisances – plagues on our streets, parks and public statues. But for a Bakersfield club, these are assets. At least the well-behaved.

We are talking about pigeons – those who run long distances.

And they were on display on Sunday – literally on display.

It was then that the members of the Bakersfield Pigeon Racing Club came together for a big event – the auction of a large and prized racing pigeon stable.

Longtime member Ted Little had died and bequeathed his birds to the club – dozens of birds worth hundreds of dollars each. The club sold the birds at auction on Sunday, with the proceeds going towards pavilion renovations and other expenses.

“It always amazes me how much people have passions and they come together,” said Kern County Museum Director Mike McCoy, Little’s son-in-law. “Whether it’s people who collect a certain type of automobile, women who collect macaroons, and it’s guys who race pigeons, they find each other. They find the community. For me, this is a wonderful thing.

Members of the club have ages ranging from teens to Floyd Jackson, whose wife recently asked her doctor if the 97-year-old Jackson’s body was up to the excitement and stress of monitoring his. pigeons on races of up to 500 miles.

“My doctor said to me, ‘What is he doing, sitting all day?’ Jackson said. “She said, ‘No, he has pigeons and he does gardening.’ He said, “Tell him to keep doing it.”

The auctions were lively at times, but you couldn’t tell from the behavior of the birds. They were mostly placid – perhaps they were saving themselves for the next race.

They’re racing against the clock, not so much against each other, in case you visualize a flock of birds pounding furiously neck and neck throughout the stretch. That’s not to say that there is no element of drama or danger – hawks are a frequent threat to the welfare of a carrier pigeon.

Pigeon owners are willing to take this risk – thousands of dollars in prize money are often at stake. The pigeons themselves work for birdseed and have no say in it.

There is a lot of money in thoroughbred racing. Pigeon race? Not that expensive. But not cheap either.

Sound exciting to you? Members of the Bakersfield Racing Pigeon Club can tell you more. Meet – their Norris Road clubhouse is 100 yards east of Knotty Pine Cafe.


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Isle of Wight amateur pigeon race delayed by bird flu https://facolombofilia.com/isle-of-wight-amateur-pigeon-race-delayed-by-bird-flu/ Sat, 01 May 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://facolombofilia.com/isle-of-wight-amateur-pigeon-race-delayed-by-bird-flu/ RACING pigeon fanciers on the Isle of Wight are gearing up for another season, but ironically, as we begin to emerge from containment, a bird flu crisis in Europe is one of the main causes of the program being delayed. Avian flu has restricted bird training – essential before the race – but as the […]]]>

RACING pigeon fanciers on the Isle of Wight are gearing up for another season, but ironically, as we begin to emerge from containment, a bird flu crisis in Europe is one of the main causes of the program being delayed.

Avian flu has restricted bird training – essential before the race – but as the situation begins to ease, the Royal Pigeon Racing Association is now awaiting clearance from DEFRA before its next event, which is due to be held today. hui (Saturday).

Some of Geoff Watkin’s “babies” ready to race this season.

With new rules on the transport of birds and animals in Europe, these big races therefore appear to be held in the UK, with pigeons flying south from release points as far north as Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.

On the island, a new club was formed, with the majority of existing members merging from its two main clubs, to form the Vectis Flying Club.

They then joined two federations to give them the opportunity to run
much further into the UK.

Although the racing season ends in September, there has been a lot to do to prepare for its start.

One of the club members, Geoff Watkin, said: “Pigeons go through their moult, which is essential for having good, strong and healthy feathers before fanciers pair their
best birds for raising the next generation of runners.

“These youngsters will then take part in shorter races towards the end of the season. ”

If anyone wants to find out more about pigeon racing – a sport closely watched by the Queen – call Geoff on 07790-222971.


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Fears latest Brexit casualty is pigeon racing as French quarantine British birds https://facolombofilia.com/fears-latest-brexit-casualty-is-pigeon-racing-as-french-quarantine-british-birds/ Fri, 30 Apr 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://facolombofilia.com/fears-latest-brexit-casualty-is-pigeon-racing-as-french-quarantine-british-birds/ Many pigeon fanciers fear it will boil down to Brexit as the French government has started quarantining UK birds for three weeks, but failed to do the same for Irish birds. Pigeon racing is a British tradition ( Image: Getty Images) The latest victim of Brexit could be… pigeon racing. Representatives of the Royal Pigeon […]]]>

Many pigeon fanciers fear it will boil down to Brexit as the French government has started quarantining UK birds for three weeks, but failed to do the same for Irish birds.

Pigeon racing is a British tradition

The latest victim of Brexit could be… pigeon racing.

Representatives of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association want the UK government to intervene after the French government began quarantining UK birds for three weeks before they can race.

Talks are underway between governments and hobbyists await a response on why their birds fall into the latest round of stipulations by next week.

Many, including Scott Robertson, think it comes down to one thing … Brexit.

Scott, from Aberdeen, keeps over 80 carrier pigeons in his lofts and recently participated in a national bird liberation on the day of Prince Philip’s funeral in honor of the Duke of Edinburgh, who was a fan of pigeon racing.

What is your point of view ? Give your opinion in the comments section








The French government has started quarantining UK birds before they can run from France
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Picture:

PENNSYLVANIA)







He said: “Pigeons from Ireland are still allowed to fly from France, but birds from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland are not.

“All the birds are vaccinated, so for me it can only be after Brexit.

“I know a lot of racers from the south send their pigeons to France to prepare them for long distances and think these changes might prevent them from playing our sport.”




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Some of the most important pursuit races take place in parts of France, such as Flanders Field, where many pigeon fanciers use the trip to pay their respects to soldiers who died on the battlefields of World War I.

Under EU rules that came into effect last week, British birds must be detained for three weeks and a note from a veterinarian must be obtained before they can be released in France for transmanches races.

This prompted some pigeon owners to claim that the birds would be unfit to compete after being caged for such a period, plus the additional cash cost.








Pigeons shouldn’t be in a cage that long if they have to run
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Picture:

Getty Images / iStockphoto)



In an effort to continue to train their birds and keep the tradition alive, birds had to be sent to either end of the UK to simulate the distances they would normally cover from France.

The Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also wrote a report on the risk of birds spreading avian flu abroad.




In the report released earlier this month, it was determined that “a medium risk level would apply for countries such as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, where cases of wild birds are high and intercourse is frequent “.

He added: “For other regions the risk is considered low, for example in southern Europe (eg southern France and Spain) where cases in wild birds are low and rare. “


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Winchester: tribute to Prince Philip of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association https://facolombofilia.com/winchester-tribute-to-prince-philip-of-the-royal-pigeon-racing-association/ Sat, 17 Apr 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://facolombofilia.com/winchester-tribute-to-prince-philip-of-the-royal-pigeon-racing-association/ WINCHESTER Cathedral was chosen for another tribute to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. On the day of SAR’s funeral today (Saturday), members of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) will release 10 pigeons from cathedral towns across the UK, including Winchester. The birds will represent each decade of the Duke’s life and will be simultaneously […]]]>

WINCHESTER Cathedral was chosen for another tribute to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

On the day of SAR’s funeral today (Saturday), members of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) will release 10 pigeons from cathedral towns across the UK, including Winchester.

The birds will represent each decade of the Duke’s life and will be simultaneously released across the UK.

Ian Evans, RPRA CEO, said: “We were deeply saddened to learn of the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing and we want to commemorate his life and show our support for the Royal Family. The RPRA and the Royal Family both share a rich history as the family has had a close affinity with the sport for over 100 years so we wanted to celebrate that by releasing pigeons across the UK.

“By accompanying the Queen to the Sandringham Estate the Duke has always shown an interest in royal pigeons and we think it would be a fitting tribute.”

The royal family began to breed pigeons at the end of the 19th century and the tradition has been continued by Queen Elizabeth II.

The Royal Lofts are well established in Sandringham under the supervision of a Loft Manager. What was once known as the National Homing Union, the association received royal patronage and became the Royal National Homing Union, which is now known as the Royal Pigeon Racing Association.

Queen Elizabeth is the patron saint of RPRA and regularly visited the lofts with the Duke during his visit to Sandringham.

The pigeons of the Royal Loft played a vital role during WWI and WWII as they were used as carrier pigeons. After the war, the pigeons returned to racing, winning national and international titles for the queen.

To honor this history and the continued support of the Royal Family, the RPRA decided to release pigeons across the UK in memory of the Duke.


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Pigeon racing secrets revealed – and how it helped Whitby man live with autism https://facolombofilia.com/pigeon-racing-secrets-revealed-and-how-it-helped-whitby-man-live-with-autism/ Mon, 29 Mar 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://facolombofilia.com/pigeon-racing-secrets-revealed-and-how-it-helped-whitby-man-live-with-autism/ The pigeon sport is a mystery to many. But a man from Whitby and the CEO of a national pigeon racing association spoke of the immense benefits they have experienced from participating in the unique sport. Kyle Douglass, 20, has been fascinated by carrier pigeons since the age of three, when his grandfather introduced him […]]]>

The pigeon sport is a mystery to many.

But a man from Whitby and the CEO of a national pigeon racing association spoke of the immense benefits they have experienced from participating in the unique sport.

Kyle Douglass, 20, has been fascinated by carrier pigeons since the age of three, when his grandfather introduced him to this unique sport.

He now tends his own pigeons on a housing estate near his home in Whitby and trains them in the hopes of someday participating in races.

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But it’s not just running that makes him so attached to birds.

Kyle said, “I have autism so I find it easier to connect with animals than with people. I often fight with humans.

“I have a very strong bond with my colored pigeons. My whites in particular.

“I find it best to be practical, which is why I prefer animals.”



Whitby pigeon breeder Kyle Douglass sells some of his youngsters for charity. Pictured is Kyle in his loft on the Green Lane housing estates in Whitby.

To participate in pigeon racing, owners must gradually train carrier pigeons to return home – whether to a housing estate or a farm – which can take several years.

In races, different competitors will “release” their pigeons from the same location, and then the birds will return home. A scan chip is often used to determine when the pigeon is arriving, and then the winner is found by calculating how fast each bird moves over the distance, which can range from 100 to 1000 km.

Ian Evans, CEO of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA), described it as “the only sport with a start line and a thousand finish lines”.

Kyle currently has 20 pigeons that he takes care of and feeds twice a day on his estate, while his grandfather, he says, now has “around 200”.



Kyle, who hopes to start running after finishing his animal care studies at college, said the fun comes from “watching them come home.”

He explained that he sits with his “kids” for hours to get them used to him and that training them to return home is a gradual process that involves freeing them from more and more distance.

He said, “As you increase their confidence, you increase the distance.

“You have to take care of them. That’s the main thing.

“It’s an expensive and time consuming sport, but it’s nice to see them come home on race day.”



Whitby pigeon breeder Kyle Douglass sells some of his youngsters for charity. Pictured is a pair of youngsters in their loft on the Green Lane housing estates in Whitby.

Kyle is part of a pigeon racing group that came together during the lockdown to raise money for the local community by auctioning racing pigeons.

The group has raised nearly £ 40,000 since the lockdown began by auctioning more than 80 carrier pigeons and donated the money for a house extension to support a couple with motor neuron disease, a mobility scooter for a beloved member of the community and also raised money for the local racing club.

Kyle said: “It has been such a difficult year for so many people and I am grateful to those who have supported my auctions so that those who need it most can be supported.”

Carrier pigeons are known to sell for astronomical prices. In December of last year a new record was set when a pigeon was sold for £ 1.4million.

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But there is little money to be made on the racing side, as most people who compete often do so as a hobby, the RPRA CEO said.

Mr Evans said: “You can make money, but it’s not about that. It’s about the competition and the social aspect.

“He has so much to offer people from all walks of life. Even the Queen has her own loft in Sandringham.

“It can teach you a lot of things as you grow up with people of different age groups and different backgrounds. There aren’t a lot of sports where you compete with millionaires and people older than you.”



Pigeon breeder Kyle Douglass from Whitby takes care of 20 pigeons on Greenway allotments

Mr Evans said the group was making a conscious effort to make the sport more widely known and showcasing it in schools, where they found children and young people with disabilities could benefit.

He said: “From a school perspective, children also learn geography and math through sports.

“There is also a certain history in this because carrier pigeons have been used in our world for hundreds of years.”

He added: “Especially for children with special educational needs, this is something they can engage with. It gives them something to focus on.

“We have some great case studies on the positive impact this can have on children.”



Ian Evans (second from right) with a young man called Curtis Bowditch who had to have surgery to walk, which RPRA helped fund with a sale. Curtis’ mother sits at left with RPRA member Alvin Davies at the end.

He said it was becoming popular with retirees as well, but it was often difficult to get people involved in the sport due to lack of awareness and the pigeons’ bad reputation.

Mr Evans said: “As a member of a pigeon club you are socially involved.

“There is a stigma in the eyes of some people and it dates back to the 1970s when pest control companies started spreading misinformation about what the creatures were spreading.

“I have kept them since I was nine and have never had a disease from a pigeon.”

He described the creatures as “extraordinary” and said that “being able to do what they are doing at the speed at which they can do it is phenomenal”.

“You can take pigeons out of the south of France in the morning and they’ll be home in Yorkshire for tea time. No other animal can match their speed and endurance.”

But sport is not without its drawbacks. Animal rights activists argue that keeping the birds and flying them for sport is cruel, as many of them die as they are transferred to the start line and on their way back from exhaustion.

Mr Evans said: “There is a negative image. Some groups are opposed to anything about animals. They would like to see the end of any sport involving animals.

“The pigeons are lovely and the racers go out of their way to take care of them and do their best.”


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