Você está na página 1de 49

Pigeon racing is the sport of releasing specially trained racing pigeons, which then return to their homes over

a carefully measured distance. The time it takes the animal to cover the specified distance is measured and the bird's rate of travel is calculated and compared with all of the other pigeons in the race to determine which animal returned at the highest speed. Pigeon racing requires a specific breed of pigeon bred for the sport, the "Racing Homer". Competing pigeons are specially trained and conditioned for races that vary in distance for approximately to 100 to 1000 km. The winner of a pigeon race is the bird with the highest velocity, measured in ypm or mpm; this calculation demands that the distance be divided into yards, then divide the yards by the number of minutes it took the bird to return. Since races can often be won and lost by seconds, many different timing and measuring devices have been developed. The traditional timing method involves rubber rings being placed into a specially designed clock, whereas a newer development uses RFID tags to record arrival time.

While there is no definite proof, there are compelling reasons to think the sport of racing pigeons may go back at least as far as 220 AD or possibly earlier.[1] The sport achieved a great deal of popularity in Belgium in the mid 19th century. The pigeon fanciers of Belgium were so taken with the hobby that they began to develop pigeons specially cultivated for fast flight and long endurance called Voyageurs.[2] From Belgium the modern version of the sport and the Voyageurs which the Flemish fanciers developed spread to most parts of the world. Once quite popular, the sport has experienced a downturn in participants in some parts of the world in recent years, possibly due to the rising cost of living, aging fanciers, and a severe lack of public interest. One recent development in the sport of pigeon racing is "one loft racing", where birds are raced against each other under the same training regime, in an effort to test the best birds rather than the best trainer.

Clontarf Pigeon Club releasing racing pigeons in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland Contents [hide] 1 History 2 Racing 2.1 Traditional timing method

2.2 Electronic timing method 3 One-loft racing 4 Training 5 Hazards 6 Breeding 7 Controversy 8 By region 8.1 The Americas 8.1.1 United States 8.1.2 Canada 8.1.3 Brazil 8.2 Asia 8.3 Oceania 8.3.1 Australia 8.4 Europe 8.4.1 UK 8.4.2 Belgium 8.4.3 Romania 8.4.4 Turkey 8.5 Africa 8.5.1 South Africa 9 See also 10 References 11 External links [edit]History

Pigeons are the oldest domesticated bird. The predecessors of modern day racing pigeons were pigeons bred for their homing ability, primarily to carry messages. "Pigeon Posts" have been established all over the world and while mainly used in the military, some are still in service today. Modern pigeon racing originated in Belgium in the mid 19th century.[3] The sport was aided by several new technologies of the era. The advent of the railroad permitted pigeons to be sent to distant release points quickly and at modest cost. In addition the creation of massproduced, sophisticated timing clocks brought accurate and secure timing to the sport. These clocks were designed with special compartments where an entry band, removed from the returning race bird was placed. When struck, the clock recorded the time and also placed the band in a compartment that could only be opened by race officials. The importance of homing pigeons in the centuries before electronic communications, such as the telegraph and telephone, is seldom recognized. However the Reuters News Agency, the world's largest information provider, began as a pigeon service carrying closing stock prices between Belgium and Germany, basically between the Western and Eastern terminus of the telegraph in Europe. Also the use of homing pigeons by Financier Nathan Rothschild to gain advance news of Napoleon's unexpected defeat at Waterloo is thought to have led to a fortune being made in the bond market of the day. [edit]Racing

"It is the sport with a single starting gate and a thousand finish lines."[4] In short, competing birds are taken from their lofts and must race home. The time taken and distance are recorded and the fastest bird is declared the winner. Races are generally between 100 and 1000 km in distance. In the United States flights of up to 1800 kilometres have been recorded.[5] Provided it survives the many hazards associated with racing, a single pigeon could compete from about 6 months of age and still be in competition at over ten years of age. Such feats are uncommon, however, and the average racing career rarely exceeds three years.[citation needed]. Hazards can also come from weather conditions on the day of the race. Pigeons can become grounded and disoriented, and therefore not finish the race. In one instance in Madison, Wisconsin in 1941, a family found a pigeon on their property. Since the bird was sporting an identifying leg band, the Wisconsin Conservation Commission was called, who identified the owner as a man from Green Bay.[6] In the early days of racing, paint was used to identify birds for owners. Belgium then developed a 1/8 inch brass leg band, that was sent to racers in America to use.[7] Since then, to compete in a race, it must wear a permanent, unique numbered ring or band that is placed on its leg at about 5 days of age. For a race to be conducted, the competing pigeons must be entered into the race, usually at the organisation's clubhouse, and taken away from their home to be released at a predetermined time and location. The distance between the bird's home loft and the racepoint is carefully measured by GPS and

the time taken by the bird to return is measured using one of the two acceptable timing methods. Sometimes in some leagues there are 2 divisions: one for the young birds (usually yearlings in their first year of competition) and another for older birds. [edit]Traditional timing method

Inside an older pigeon clock

Some old style pigeon clocks use thimbles. The traditional method of timing racing pigeons involves rubber rings with unique ses and a specially designed pigeon racing clock. The ring is attached around the bird's leg before being sent to race. The serial number is recorded, the clock is set and sealed, and the bird carries the ring home. When the first bird returns, its trainer removes the ring and places it in a slot in the clock. The time that the ring was placed in the clock is recorded as the official time that the competing bird arrived home. From this timestamp an average speed is measured and a winner of the race can be found. Although serving its purpose, this method has proved somewhat problematic for a few reasons: The pigeon's "official time" is not the actual time it arrived, it is the time the ring was removed, placed in the clock and recorded, which could be many vital seconds later. Exceptional pigeons may arrive home first on multiple occasions; knowing it is going to have the ring removed speedily, which may be uncomfortable, the pigeon could be reluctant to enter the loft for the trainer. [edit]Electronic timing method The latest development and preferred method for timing racing pigeons is the Electronic Timing System. The bird's arrival is recorded automatically. When using an electronic system, the pigeon fancier doesnt even have to be at the loft to clock the birds as they return.[8] Birds are fitted with a band that has a tiny RFID chip in it which can be read when the bird comes home. At the home loft the electronic scanning records the pigeons arrival. The pad or antenna is placed at the entry point to the loft entrance and as the pigeon crosses it the electronic band is scanned. The clock is attached to the antennas. The serial number of the transponder ring is recorded along with the time of arrival. This is very similar to transponder timing systems used in human races.[9] In February 2008 the members of the Penygraog Homing Society Racing Pigeon Club in Wales won an award to fund a new electronic timing device. The club was able to obtain the device thanks to funding

from the All Wales award initiative. Club secretary John Williams said: "The electronic timer certainly makes it a lot easier for us".[10] [edit]One-loft racing

One-Loft Racing is the process of training birds bred by many different breeders in the same loft, under the same trainer and in the same conditions (as opposed to trainer against trainer in their own lofts and usually with their own birds). It is thought to be the fairest method of proving which bloodline or breeder is best and usually provides the highest amount of prize money. Pigeons are recorded by electronic timing systems scanning the birds as they enter the home loft with winners decided by as little as 100th of a second. The birds are all taken to the same release point and they return to the same home loft, so therefore it is the fastest bird to complete the journey from A to B. One loft racing is now becoming very popular all around the world with fanciers able to compare their bloodlines on an equal basis against the many other pigeons. [edit]Training

Racing pigeons are housed together in a specially designed dovecote or loft. From about 4 weeks of age until the end of its racing career, the racing loft is the pigeon's home and is where it returns to on race day. After 22 to 28 days in the nest (depending on the owners preference) the young birds are removed and placed in a section of a large loft or in a smaller loft built for the purpose. After a few days of learning how to locate the water and eating by themselves they are allowed to wander out of the loft and peck around in the garden, while doing this they are constantly observing their surroundings and becoming familiar with them. At about age 6 to 7 weeks the birds will begin taking off, flying in very small circles around their loft and owners house. As their confidence grows they gradually wander farther and farther from home until they are out of sight and can remain so for as much as 2 hours before returning. When a few trainers fly their pigeons in the same area, these flying "Batches" (as flocks of pigeons are called) can number in the thousands. It does not, however, help them much in relation to finding their home from long distances away, a fundamental of pigeon racing. As confident flyers, the young pigeons are taken on progressively longer 'training tosses', driven a distance away from their home and released. This is like the format of a real race, however on a much smaller scale and it is usually not timed in the same way as a race. This practice of loft flying and tossing continues throughout a pigeon's career. Training methods are as varied as the pigeons themselves. Some fanciers believe their system is the secret to their success and guard these hard learned lessons closely. Most fanciers will explain their basic strategy but some may be reluctant to share the details of their success. One of the most popular systems is widowhood. This system uses the birds desire to reproduce as motivation to try to give the bird a sense of urgency on race day. The use of widowhood is usually begun by first allowing the racer to

raise a baby in their nest box. After the baby is weaned the hen is removed and often the nestbox is closed off, from then on the only time these birds are allowed to see their mate or enter the nest box is upon returning from training or a race. This conditioning is one of the key elements in a lot of racing programs. Due to advancements in technology researchers have been able to use small Global Positioning Systems to track the flight paths that their birds follow. Jan Van Stalle, began using small GPS devices to document the flight patters of high flyers in 2009 and is expecting to publish a full report on the subject in early 2012. Small GPS systems have recently began to hit the consumer market. Companies like PigeonTrack and GEM Supplements currently sell GPS units for novice to advanced race trainers to use to gather data. [edit]Hazards

The Peregrine Falcon is a major predator of racing pigeons. As pigeon racing takes place over great distances in the sky, instead of on a racetrack, there are many hazards that could befall a pigeon during racing as well as training. The main hazard encountered by racing pigeons is predation by birds of prey.[11][12] The killing of valuable pigeons by wild predators has led to some pigeon fanciers being suspected of killing birds of prey such as falcons.[13] Another hazard that racing pigeons encounter is flying into objects they sometimes cannot see, mostly when flying at high speeds or in darker weather conditions. The most common obstruction are electricity pylons or TV aerials.[14] Pigeon fanciers will often have one of their pigeons return home with wounds or missing feathers from the belly or flanks region. It is thought that racing pigeons rely on the Earth's magnetic field to find their way home. Some evidence has surfaced indicating that mobile phone towers may be interrupting the birds navigation.[15] although no published research has investigated this theory. [edit]Breeding

A pair of young racing pigeons, 9 days old.

Pigeons are sexually mature at about six months of age. However, fanciers will often wait until the pigeon is at least a few months older before breeding. The first egg is laid and not incubated until the clutch is complete, with eggs being laid every other day. A hen bird will usually only lay two eggs in a clutch. The incubation period is 17 days. Pigeon breeders are careful in selecting birds to pair together so as to continue improving the breed and gain a competitive edge. It is this selective breeding that has given rise to the racing pigeons of today, capable of finding their way home from over 1600 km away and flying at speeds in excess of 130 km/h with a tail wind but average 60 km/h on a calm day[citation needed]. Hens are often capable of laying upwards of 12 eggs per year, and squabs usually leave the nest at approximately 34 weeks of age. [edit]Controversy

A report commissioned by Scottish National Heritage and the Scottish Homing Union found that on average 56% of birds released each season do not make it home. In 1996 more than 34,000 birds were lost in Scotland and 8,000 returned injured.[16] According to the report, birds who aren't considered fast enough and aren't wanted for breeding are "culled" killed by suffocation, drowning, neckbreaking, gassing, or decapitation.[17] Between 2010 and 2012, PETA conducted an investigation into the practices of pigeon racing in the US. It found that there were casualty rates of 60 percent or more among birds during races and training due to weather, predators, electrical lines, and hunters.[citation needed] Races that are particularly fatal are referred to as "smash races." At the 2011 American Racing Pigeon Union Convention, 827 out of the original 2,294 birds survived training flights. In April 2012, PETA presented the findings from a 15-month investigation to 17 law enforcement agencies. PETA's lawyers said they had hundreds of pages of evidence on the illegalities in pigeon racing and alleged a $15 million illegal gambling market. PETA asserted that only 40 percent of pigeons survive a race.[18] PETA also found that some pigeon racers used performance-enhancing drugs on their pigeons.[19] Bronx Homing Pigeon Club president Lou Bernardone has said, There is no gambling. We give trophies. You get nice big plaques with your name on it and everything.[20] [edit]By region

[edit]The Americas [edit]United States The sport was introduced into the United States about 1875, although regular racing did not begin until 1878.[21]

The sport of pigeon racing is well established in the US[22], and growing. According to the American Racing Pigeon Union, one of two large accrediting groups, there are 15,000 registered lofts in the U.S.[23] Although the sport is banned in Chicago[24], it was popular throughout the twentieth century in the New York area, particularly Hoboken, New Jersey and Coney Island, where it still has devotees.[25][26][27] Shady Hills, Florida is home to a pigeon racing club and hosts an annual racing event. The Racing Pigeon Digest is a USA printed journal dedicated to racing pigeons. [edit]Canada The sport of pigeon racing has increased in Canada with Pigeon Clubs and Ladies Auxiliary popping up in cities and towns. CRPU - The Canadian Racing Pigeon Union is an organization that is dedicated to the Growth, Preservation and Support of Pigeon Racing in Canada. [edit]Brazil The "Brazilian Pigeon Racing Grandprix" is the biggest pigeon race in South America. The Sergipe's Pigeon Racing Association and the government from Aracaju City, organizes this event. [edit]Asia Pigeon racing is becoming increasingly popular in parts of Asia, especially China, Pakistan, Philippines, Japan, Taiwan and Bangladesh.[citation needed] Its popularity in India is now on a rise, and youngsters are particularly involved in this hobby, especially in places like Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Tuticorin.[citation needed] In Bangladesh there are three pigeon racing associations which are looking after the sport and are organizing many races. There are thousands of registered pigeon fanciers in Bangladesh and more people are getting involved in this sport.[citation needed] Clubs in Chennai, india holds the record of long distance races of upto 1300 miles(2100kms) mark in India.[citation needed] Taiwan has more racing pigeon events than any other country in the world, and can point to between 2 and 3 million birds. Nearly 500,000 people race pigeons on the island, and each year, prize money for races reaches the billions of NT dollars.[28] [edit]Oceania [edit]Australia The largest Racing Organisation in Australia is the Central Cumberland Federation. In Australia, velocities are recorded in meters per minute. The state of Queensland also has a number of clubs and organisations. The biggest of these is the Qld Racing Pigeon Federation Inc (QRPF). Located in Brisbane, the QRPF has a long history dating back to the 2nd World War. Each year the QRPF organises pigeon races for its some 80 members. These races start at approximately 145 km in distance and

continue on a gradual basis out to distances of over 1000 km. A specialised transporter is used to transport the birds to the release points. This transporter enables the birds to be fed and watered on route before mass release at a predetermined time for their flight back to various home lofts. Many thousands of pigeons compete in races each weekend during the winter months... An innovative new One Loft Race is the Australian Pigeon Punt Race held in Victoria,Australia. The sport of pigeon racing has been declining around Sydney with pigeon club members gradually dying off as fewer younger people take up the sport. The high cost of feeds and fuel have also contributed to the decline.[29] [edit]Europe [edit]UK The first regular races in Great Britain was in 1881.[30] The British Royal Family first became involved with pigeon racing in 1886 when King Leopold II of Belgium gifted them breeding stock. The tradition continues to this day, with a bird of Queen Elizabeth II even winning a race in 1990.[31] The sport is declining in the UK with membership of recognized clubs and federations falling by about five per cent annually.[32] The National Flying Club is a British pigeon racing club, and open to anyone in England and Wales.[33] In the United Kingdom Pigeon Racing is regulated by 6 independent organisations. Irish Homing Union (IHU) [34] North of England Homing Union (NEHU) [35] North West Homing Union (NWHU) [36] Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) [37] Scottish Homing Union (SHU) [38] Welsh Homing Union (WPHU) In 2007 the British Parliament banned pigeons racing from the mainland of continental Europe to Britain because of the risk of bird flu.[39] A British MP is supporting fanciers to have the ban lifted. Labour's MEP Brian Simpson, from Golborne, believes that it is unfair to allow concerns about avian flu to throttle the fanciers' sport.[39] Mr Simpson said, "But what is clearly apparent now is that pigeon are low-risk in regards to avian flu and the decision to ban continental pigeon racing was wrong."[39] [edit]Belgium The Janssen Brothers (Louis, Charel, Arjaan and Sjef) are a famous and very successful pigeon racing family from Arendonk, Belgium.

Louis Janssen, born 1912, is the last of the Janssen Brothers still alive.[40] Descendants of their pigeons can be found racing all around the world. Another famous and successful pigeon fancier is Karel Meulemans. Karel, born in Retie, also lives in Arendonk. As often occurs in smaller communities there is much competition between the families Meulemans and Janssen. [edit]Romania Pigeon racing in Romania is one of Europe's hot spots in the sport. Many pigeon breeders join the (FCPR) National Association every year, triggering more and more competitive challenges. Another aspect is the image that has changed in the last decade in regards of pigeon racing, since nowadays it stands for a fine art within the country, with high prizes and bets. A high collaboration with pigeon fanciers from Belgium, Holland, Germany and so forth is also observed. [edit]Turkey The sport is popular in Turkey. In May 2008 a nine part, 1,150-kilometer pigeon race from the town of Manisa to Erzurum was organized with participants from many pigeon associations across the country.[41] [edit]Africa [edit]South Africa South Africa is the home of the richest One-Loft Race in the world, the Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race.[42] The Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race pits 4,300 birds from 25 countries against each other for a share of $1.3m in prize money. The runners-up win cars and smaller monetary prizes, while the overall winner can expect to pocket US$200,000. Sun City's "one-loft" race, sees birds from across the world air-freighted to South Africa as squabs, months before the race, and trained to orientate to a single loft. Then on race day, after being released 550 km out on the South African veldt, the birds all race back to the same destination.[43] [edit]See alsoWe all know that pigeons are intelligent pets, messengers and war heroes. But how many of us know that the bird is a good racer? In ancient days, due to their homing instinct, pigeon races were conducted. Even today, it is a popular sport in Belgium and other European countries. In Asia, the game receives a great deal of appreciation in China, Japan, and Thailand.

K. Palaniappan, president, New Madras Racing Pigeon Association, says that though the sport is not very popular in India, a small group of people, especially pigeon breeders, are acquainted with the sport. He says that Tamil Nadu has approximately 40 racing pigeon forums, of which Chennai has 10. In other States, the number does not exceed even five. Calcutta and Bangalore has two each.

Mr. Palaniappan says that the State should declare pigeon race as a traditional sport such as cock-fight, bull-fight, and horse race. In this game, trained pigeons, particularly the Racing Homers breed (for which the homing instinct is high), are released from a point and are expected to return to their lofts within the stipulated time.

The bird which is bred for the race is tagged with a permanent ring bearing a four-digit number around its legs. It will have details such as year of birth, sex, species, the society with which it has been registered and it's registered breeder. The racing pigeons are usually checkers, blues, red checkers, and blues with white flight.

In India, still the traditional method of recording the time of a racing bird is followed. The method is that an inner ring number and outer ring number is attached to the leg of the bird on the day of the sport.

The inner ring number is not known to the breeder of the bird at the time of its release for the race. When the bird reaches its loft, the breeder gets to know the inner ring number and conveys the number over phone to the society. The bird that arrives first into its loft or has taken the minimum time is declared as the winner.

To be accurate, velocity per minute is calculated. This minimises the small variations in distance (in air route) from a single starting point to different loft points.

But other countries have adopted the advanced Radio Frequency Identification Method or Radio Collaring to record time. In this method, an electronic chip is attached to the bird and a corresponding electronic clock with antennas which registers time is kept at the loft point. The registered time is indicated through a master clock at the club's point.

Financial constraints

We are planning to buy a clock manufactured by Benzing, Southern Germany. The clock for a breeder's purpose costs Rs. 20,000 and the master clock, which has a capacity to manage the timing of 1,000 birds

at a time, for the use of the club, is Rs. 50,000. Not every breeder can afford this amount, says Mr. Palaniappan.

He pointed out that the electronic chips are manufactured by a firm at Madras Export Processing Zone, Tambaram, and they are being exported to Belgium where the software would be inserted. If we need to buy those chips, we have to import the same from Belgium. he adds.

Mr. Palaniappan says that it is believed that pigeons are able to fly back to their homes through their ability to sense direction, magnetic field of the earth, and smell. So, various factors are considered before deciding on the place to release the birds for the race.

As a strong odour emanates from Eucalyptus trees, a place where there is a good density of the tree is avoided. Next, a natural disaster such as earthquake, cyclone, or any other should not have hit the place and a rocket should not have been launched in the recent past, as there might be disturbances in magnetic field of the earth. Also, a coastal area is avoided.

Problems faced

As many people are not aware of the sport, we encounter with problems. When we take the birds in boxes (each box containing 20 pigeons) for the race, we are questioned by many Government authorities who mistake that the birds are being taken for some illegal activity. Hence, we have obtained the necessary no objection certificates' from the departments concerned and produce them as and when required.

The society has been permitted by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, the Commissioner of Police, and the Southern Railways to take the birds to other States. An amount of Rs.100 for each bird, which weighs around 24 grams, is being paid to carry them in train. The same amount is collected for a dog. In such aspects we expect the Government to offer us concession, he adds.

A pigeon's life span is 15 years. From six months to six years, the bird is fit for the race, of which the peak period is from four to five years. Up to 50 Km (in air route) the training is given by the breeder and above that the training will be given by the club.

For short distance race (200 to 300 km), the birds are released from Kavali and Vinukonda of Andhra Pradesh. They are expected to return within four hours. For medium distance (400 to 500 Km), the race begins from Miryalaguda and Warangal of Andhra Pradesh. The stipulated time is seven to nine hours. For the long distance race (750 to 1,750 km), the following places are considered Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh; Chandrapur and Nagpur in Maharashtra; Bhopal and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. The duration given is two to seven days.

Mr. Palaniappan says that the target of their club is to release the birds from Delhi to Chennai, which is approximately 1,750 km. So far, the forum has achieved the 1,500-km slot, (from Gwalior to Chennai).

The sport is usually conducted during January because of the normal wind pattern. Mr. Palaniappan says that proper medicines are not available here, in case the birds fall sick. We usually administer the medicines meant for hens by reducing the dosage. Whereas, other countries have tonics for racer pigeons and different packages of feeds meant for racing, breeding, mating. Above all, they are offered at a subsidised cost.Distance between Madurai (Tamil Nadu) and Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) (India) The Distance between Madurai (Tamil Nadu) and Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) is : 127.88 kilometers (km). The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 147.06 km to 159.85 km

In Other Units: 79.46 miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 91.38 miles to 99.32 miles 69 nautical miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 79.35 nautical miles to 86.25 nautical miles Note: The distance is straight line distance (may be called as flying or air distance) between the two locations calculated based on their latitudes and longitudes. This distance may be very much different from the actual travel distance. The approximately estimated travel/road distance also can be very much different (if road is not straight or land is not available) than the actual. Please scroll down to see google maps for better idea.Distance between Chandrapur (Maharashtra) and Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) (India) The Distance between Chandrapur (Maharashtra) and Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) is : 1247.94 kilometers (km).

The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 1435.13 km to 1559.93 km

In Other Units: 775.43 miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 891.74 miles to 969.29 miles 673.38 nautical miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 774.39 nautical miles to 841.72 nautical miles Note: The distance is straight line distance (may be called as flying or air distance) between the two locations calculated based on their latitudes and longitudes. This distance may be very much different from the actual travel distance. The approximately estimated travel/road distance also can be very much different (if road is not straight or land is not available) than the actual. Please scroll down to see google maps for better idea.The Distance between Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) is : 1137.94 kilometers (km). The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 1308.63 km to 1422.43 km

In Other Units: 707.09 miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 813.15 miles to 883.86 miles 614.03 nautical miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 706.13 nautical miles to 767.54 nautical miles Note: The distance is straight line distance (may be called as flying or air distance) between the two locations calculated based on their latitudes and longitudes. This distance may be very much different from the actual travel distance. The approximately estimated travel/road distance also can be very much different (if road is not straight or land is not available) than the actual. Please scroll down to see google maps for better idea. Pigeon racing is the sport of releasing specially trained racing pigeons, which then return to their homes over a carefully measured distance. The time it takes the animal to cover the specified distance is measured and the bird's rate of travel is calculated and compared with all of the other pigeons in the race to determine which animal returned at the highest speed. Pigeon racing requires a specific breed of pigeon bred for the sport, the "Racing Homer". Competing pigeons are specially trained and conditioned for races that vary in distance for approximately to 100 to 1000 km.

The winner of a pigeon race is the bird with the highest velocity, measured in ypm or mpm; this calculation demands that the distance be divided into yards, then divide the yards by the number of minutes it took the bird to return. Since races can often be won and lost by seconds, many different timing and measuring devices have been developed. The traditional timing method involves rubber rings being placed into a specially designed clock, whereas a newer development uses RFID tags to record arrival time.

While there is no definite proof, there are compelling reasons to think the sport of racing pigeons may go back at least as far as 220 AD or possibly earlier.[1] The sport achieved a great deal of popularity in Belgium in the mid 19th century. The pigeon fanciers of Belgium were so taken with the hobby that they began to develop pigeons specially cultivated for fast flight and long endurance called Voyageurs.[2] From Belgium the modern version of the sport and the Voyageurs which the Flemish fanciers developed spread to most parts of the world. Once quite popular, the sport has experienced a downturn in participants in some parts of the world in recent years, possibly due to the rising cost of living, aging fanciers, and a severe lack of public interest. One recent development in the sport of pigeon racing is "one loft racing", where birds are raced against each other under the same training regime, in an effort to test the best birds rather than the best trainer.

Clontarf Pigeon Club releasing racing pigeons in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland Contents [hide] 1 History 2 Racing 2.1 Traditional timing method 2.2 Electronic timing method 3 One-loft racing 4 Training 5 Hazards 6 Breeding 7 Controversy

8 By region 8.1 The Americas 8.1.1 United States 8.1.2 Canada 8.1.3 Brazil 8.2 Asia 8.3 Oceania 8.3.1 Australia 8.4 Europe 8.4.1 UK 8.4.2 Belgium 8.4.3 Romania 8.4.4 Turkey 8.5 Africa 8.5.1 South Africa 9 See also 10 References 11 External links [edit]History

Pigeons are the oldest domesticated bird. The predecessors of modern day racing pigeons were pigeons bred for their homing ability, primarily to carry messages. "Pigeon Posts" have been established all over the world and while mainly used in the military, some are still in service today. Modern pigeon racing originated in Belgium in the mid 19th century.[3] The sport was aided by several new technologies of the era. The advent of the railroad permitted pigeons to be sent to distant release points quickly and at modest cost. In addition the creation of massproduced, sophisticated timing clocks brought accurate and secure timing to the sport. These clocks were designed with special compartments where an entry band, removed from the returning race bird

was placed. When struck, the clock recorded the time and also placed the band in a compartment that could only be opened by race officials. The importance of homing pigeons in the centuries before electronic communications, such as the telegraph and telephone, is seldom recognized. However the Reuters News Agency, the world's largest information provider, began as a pigeon service carrying closing stock prices between Belgium and Germany, basically between the Western and Eastern terminus of the telegraph in Europe. Also the use of homing pigeons by Financier Nathan Rothschild to gain advance news of Napoleon's unexpected defeat at Waterloo is thought to have led to a fortune being made in the bond market of the day. [edit]Racing

"It is the sport with a single starting gate and a thousand finish lines."[4] In short, competing birds are taken from their lofts and must race home. The time taken and distance are recorded and the fastest bird is declared the winner. Races are generally between 100 and 1000 km in distance. In the United States flights of up to 1800 kilometres have been recorded.[5] Provided it survives the many hazards associated with racing, a single pigeon could compete from about 6 months of age and still be in competition at over ten years of age. Such feats are uncommon, however, and the average racing career rarely exceeds three years.[citation needed]. Hazards can also come from weather conditions on the day of the race. Pigeons can become grounded and disoriented, and therefore not finish the race. In one instance in Madison, Wisconsin in 1941, a family found a pigeon on their property. Since the bird was sporting an identifying leg band, the Wisconsin Conservation Commission was called, who identified the owner as a man from Green Bay.[6] In the early days of racing, paint was used to identify birds for owners. Belgium then developed a 1/8 inch brass leg band, that was sent to racers in America to use.[7] Since then, to compete in a race, it must wear a permanent, unique numbered ring or band that is placed on its leg at about 5 days of age. For a race to be conducted, the competing pigeons must be entered into the race, usually at the organisation's clubhouse, and taken away from their home to be released at a predetermined time and location. The distance between the bird's home loft and the racepoint is carefully measured by GPS and the time taken by the bird to return is measured using one of the two acceptable timing methods. Sometimes in some leagues there are 2 divisions: one for the young birds (usually yearlings in their first year of competition) and another for older birds. [edit]Traditional timing method

Inside an older pigeon clock

Some old style pigeon clocks use thimbles. The traditional method of timing racing pigeons involves rubber rings with unique ses and a specially designed pigeon racing clock. The ring is attached around the bird's leg before being sent to race. The serial number is recorded, the clock is set and sealed, and the bird carries the ring home. When the first bird returns, its trainer removes the ring and places it in a slot in the clock. The time that the ring was placed in the clock is recorded as the official time that the competing bird arrived home. From this timestamp an average speed is measured and a winner of the race can be found. Although serving its purpose, this method has proved somewhat problematic for a few reasons: The pigeon's "official time" is not the actual time it arrived, it is the time the ring was removed, placed in the clock and recorded, which could be many vital seconds later. Exceptional pigeons may arrive home first on multiple occasions; knowing it is going to have the ring removed speedily, which may be uncomfortable, the pigeon could be reluctant to enter the loft for the trainer. [edit]Electronic timing method The latest development and preferred method for timing racing pigeons is the Electronic Timing System. The bird's arrival is recorded automatically. When using an electronic system, the pigeon fancier doesnt even have to be at the loft to clock the birds as they return.[8] Birds are fitted with a band that has a tiny RFID chip in it which can be read when the bird comes home. At the home loft the electronic scanning records the pigeons arrival. The pad or antenna is placed at the entry point to the loft entrance and as the pigeon crosses it the electronic band is scanned. The clock is attached to the antennas. The serial number of the transponder ring is recorded along with the time of arrival. This is very similar to transponder timing systems used in human races.[9] In February 2008 the members of the Penygraog Homing Society Racing Pigeon Club in Wales won an award to fund a new electronic timing device. The club was able to obtain the device thanks to funding from the All Wales award initiative. Club secretary John Williams said: "The electronic timer certainly makes it a lot easier for us".[10] [edit]One-loft racing

One-Loft Racing is the process of training birds bred by many different breeders in the same loft, under the same trainer and in the same conditions (as opposed to trainer against trainer in their own lofts and usually with their own birds). It is thought to be the fairest method of proving which bloodline or breeder is best and usually provides the highest amount of prize money. Pigeons are recorded by

electronic timing systems scanning the birds as they enter the home loft with winners decided by as little as 100th of a second. The birds are all taken to the same release point and they return to the same home loft, so therefore it is the fastest bird to complete the journey from A to B. One loft racing is now becoming very popular all around the world with fanciers able to compare their bloodlines on an equal basis against the many other pigeons. [edit]Training

Racing pigeons are housed together in a specially designed dovecote or loft. From about 4 weeks of age until the end of its racing career, the racing loft is the pigeon's home and is where it returns to on race day. After 22 to 28 days in the nest (depending on the owners preference) the young birds are removed and placed in a section of a large loft or in a smaller loft built for the purpose. After a few days of learning how to locate the water and eating by themselves they are allowed to wander out of the loft and peck around in the garden, while doing this they are constantly observing their surroundings and becoming familiar with them. At about age 6 to 7 weeks the birds will begin taking off, flying in very small circles around their loft and owners house. As their confidence grows they gradually wander farther and farther from home until they are out of sight and can remain so for as much as 2 hours before returning. When a few trainers fly their pigeons in the same area, these flying "Batches" (as flocks of pigeons are called) can number in the thousands. It does not, however, help them much in relation to finding their home from long distances away, a fundamental of pigeon racing. As confident flyers, the young pigeons are taken on progressively longer 'training tosses', driven a distance away from their home and released. This is like the format of a real race, however on a much smaller scale and it is usually not timed in the same way as a race. This practice of loft flying and tossing continues throughout a pigeon's career. Training methods are as varied as the pigeons themselves. Some fanciers believe their system is the secret to their success and guard these hard learned lessons closely. Most fanciers will explain their basic strategy but some may be reluctant to share the details of their success. One of the most popular systems is widowhood. This system uses the birds desire to reproduce as motivation to try to give the bird a sense of urgency on race day. The use of widowhood is usually begun by first allowing the racer to raise a baby in their nest box. After the baby is weaned the hen is removed and often the nestbox is closed off, from then on the only time these birds are allowed to see their mate or enter the nest box is upon returning from training or a race. This conditioning is one of the key elements in a lot of racing programs. Due to advancements in technology researchers have been able to use small Global Positioning Systems to track the flight paths that their birds follow. Jan Van Stalle, began using small GPS devices to document the flight patters of high flyers in 2009 and is expecting to publish a full report on the subject in early 2012. Small GPS systems have recently began to hit the consumer market. Companies like PigeonTrack and GEM Supplements currently sell GPS units for novice to advanced race trainers to use to gather data.

[edit]Hazards

The Peregrine Falcon is a major predator of racing pigeons. As pigeon racing takes place over great distances in the sky, instead of on a racetrack, there are many hazards that could befall a pigeon during racing as well as training. The main hazard encountered by racing pigeons is predation by birds of prey.[11][12] The killing of valuable pigeons by wild predators has led to some pigeon fanciers being suspected of killing birds of prey such as falcons.[13] Another hazard that racing pigeons encounter is flying into objects they sometimes cannot see, mostly when flying at high speeds or in darker weather conditions. The most common obstruction are electricity pylons or TV aerials.[14] Pigeon fanciers will often have one of their pigeons return home with wounds or missing feathers from the belly or flanks region. It is thought that racing pigeons rely on the Earth's magnetic field to find their way home. Some evidence has surfaced indicating that mobile phone towers may be interrupting the birds navigation.[15] although no published research has investigated this theory. [edit]Breeding

A pair of young racing pigeons, 9 days old. Pigeons are sexually mature at about six months of age. However, fanciers will often wait until the pigeon is at least a few months older before breeding. The first egg is laid and not incubated until the clutch is complete, with eggs being laid every other day. A hen bird will usually only lay two eggs in a clutch. The incubation period is 17 days. Pigeon breeders are careful in selecting birds to pair together so as to continue improving the breed and gain a competitive edge. It is this selective breeding that has given rise to the racing pigeons of today, capable of finding their way home from over 1600 km away and flying at speeds in excess of 130 km/h with a tail wind but average 60 km/h on a calm day[citation needed]. Hens are often capable of laying upwards of 12 eggs per year, and squabs usually leave the nest at approximately 34 weeks of age. [edit]Controversy

A report commissioned by Scottish National Heritage and the Scottish Homing Union found that on average 56% of birds released each season do not make it home. In 1996 more than 34,000 birds were lost in Scotland and 8,000 returned injured.[16] According to the report, birds who aren't considered fast enough and aren't wanted for breeding are "culled" killed by suffocation, drowning, neckbreaking, gassing, or decapitation.[17] Between 2010 and 2012, PETA conducted an investigation into the practices of pigeon racing in the US. It found that there were casualty rates of 60 percent or more among birds during races and training due to weather, predators, electrical lines, and hunters.[citation needed] Races that are particularly fatal are referred to as "smash races." At the 2011 American Racing Pigeon Union Convention, 827 out of the original 2,294 birds survived training flights. In April 2012, PETA presented the findings from a 15-month investigation to 17 law enforcement agencies. PETA's lawyers said they had hundreds of pages of evidence on the illegalities in pigeon racing and alleged a $15 million illegal gambling market. PETA asserted that only 40 percent of pigeons survive a race.[18] PETA also found that some pigeon racers used performance-enhancing drugs on their pigeons.[19] Bronx Homing Pigeon Club president Lou Bernardone has said, There is no gambling. We give trophies. You get nice big plaques with your name on it and everything.[20] [edit]By region

[edit]The Americas [edit]United States The sport was introduced into the United States about 1875, although regular racing did not begin until 1878.[21] The sport of pigeon racing is well established in the US[22], and growing. According to the American Racing Pigeon Union, one of two large accrediting groups, there are 15,000 registered lofts in the U.S.[23] Although the sport is banned in Chicago[24], it was popular throughout the twentieth century in the New York area, particularly Hoboken, New Jersey and Coney Island, where it still has devotees.[25][26][27] Shady Hills, Florida is home to a pigeon racing club and hosts an annual racing event. The Racing Pigeon Digest is a USA printed journal dedicated to racing pigeons. [edit]Canada The sport of pigeon racing has increased in Canada with Pigeon Clubs and Ladies Auxiliary popping up in cities and towns. CRPU - The Canadian Racing Pigeon Union is an organization that is dedicated to the Growth, Preservation and Support of Pigeon Racing in Canada. [edit]Brazil

The "Brazilian Pigeon Racing Grandprix" is the biggest pigeon race in South America. The Sergipe's Pigeon Racing Association and the government from Aracaju City, organizes this event. [edit]Asia Pigeon racing is becoming increasingly popular in parts of Asia, especially China, Pakistan, Philippines, Japan, Taiwan and Bangladesh.[citation needed] Its popularity in India is now on a rise, and youngsters are particularly involved in this hobby, especially in places like Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Tuticorin.[citation needed] In Bangladesh there are three pigeon racing associations which are looking after the sport and are organizing many races. There are thousands of registered pigeon fanciers in Bangladesh and more people are getting involved in this sport.[citation needed] Clubs in Chennai, india holds the record of long distance races of upto 1300 miles(2100kms) mark in India.[citation needed] Taiwan has more racing pigeon events than any other country in the world, and can point to between 2 and 3 million birds. Nearly 500,000 people race pigeons on the island, and each year, prize money for races reaches the billions of NT dollars.[28] [edit]Oceania [edit]Australia The largest Racing Organisation in Australia is the Central Cumberland Federation. In Australia, velocities are recorded in meters per minute. The state of Queensland also has a number of clubs and organisations. The biggest of these is the Qld Racing Pigeon Federation Inc (QRPF). Located in Brisbane, the QRPF has a long history dating back to the 2nd World War. Each year the QRPF organises pigeon races for its some 80 members. These races start at approximately 145 km in distance and continue on a gradual basis out to distances of over 1000 km. A specialised transporter is used to transport the birds to the release points. This transporter enables the birds to be fed and watered on route before mass release at a predetermined time for their flight back to various home lofts. Many thousands of pigeons compete in races each weekend during the winter months... An innovative new One Loft Race is the Australian Pigeon Punt Race held in Victoria,Australia. The sport of pigeon racing has been declining around Sydney with pigeon club members gradually dying off as fewer younger people take up the sport. The high cost of feeds and fuel have also contributed to the decline.[29] [edit]Europe [edit]UK The first regular races in Great Britain was in 1881.[30] The British Royal Family first became involved with pigeon racing in 1886 when King Leopold II of Belgium gifted them breeding stock. The tradition

continues to this day, with a bird of Queen Elizabeth II even winning a race in 1990.[31] The sport is declining in the UK with membership of recognized clubs and federations falling by about five per cent annually.[32] The National Flying Club is a British pigeon racing club, and open to anyone in England and Wales.[33] In the United Kingdom Pigeon Racing is regulated by 6 independent organisations. Irish Homing Union (IHU) [34] North of England Homing Union (NEHU) [35] North West Homing Union (NWHU) [36] Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) [37] Scottish Homing Union (SHU) [38] Welsh Homing Union (WPHU) In 2007 the British Parliament banned pigeons racing from the mainland of continental Europe to Britain because of the risk of bird flu.[39] A British MP is supporting fanciers to have the ban lifted. Labour's MEP Brian Simpson, from Golborne, believes that it is unfair to allow concerns about avian flu to throttle the fanciers' sport.[39] Mr Simpson said, "But what is clearly apparent now is that pigeon are low-risk in regards to avian flu and the decision to ban continental pigeon racing was wrong."[39] [edit]Belgium The Janssen Brothers (Louis, Charel, Arjaan and Sjef) are a famous and very successful pigeon racing family from Arendonk, Belgium. Louis Janssen, born 1912, is the last of the Janssen Brothers still alive.[40] Descendants of their pigeons can be found racing all around the world. Another famous and successful pigeon fancier is Karel Meulemans. Karel, born in Retie, also lives in Arendonk. As often occurs in smaller communities there is much competition between the families Meulemans and Janssen. [edit]Romania Pigeon racing in Romania is one of Europe's hot spots in the sport. Many pigeon breeders join the (FCPR) National Association every year, triggering more and more competitive challenges. Another aspect is the image that has changed in the last decade in regards of pigeon racing, since nowadays it stands for a fine art within the country, with high prizes and bets. A high collaboration with pigeon fanciers from Belgium, Holland, Germany and so forth is also observed. [edit]Turkey

The sport is popular in Turkey. In May 2008 a nine part, 1,150-kilometer pigeon race from the town of Manisa to Erzurum was organized with participants from many pigeon associations across the country.[41] [edit]Africa [edit]South Africa South Africa is the home of the richest One-Loft Race in the world, the Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race.[42] The Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race pits 4,300 birds from 25 countries against each other for a share of $1.3m in prize money. The runners-up win cars and smaller monetary prizes, while the overall winner can expect to pocket US$200,000. Sun City's "one-loft" race, sees birds from across the world air-freighted to South Africa as squabs, months before the race, and trained to orientate to a single loft. Then on race day, after being released 550 km out on the South African veldt, the birds all race back to the same destination.[43] [edit]See alsoWe all know that pigeons are intelligent pets, messengers and war heroes. But how many of us know that the bird is a good racer? In ancient days, due to their homing instinct, pigeon races were conducted. Even today, it is a popular sport in Belgium and other European countries. In Asia, the game receives a great deal of appreciation in China, Japan, and Thailand.

K. Palaniappan, president, New Madras Racing Pigeon Association, says that though the sport is not very popular in India, a small group of people, especially pigeon breeders, are acquainted with the sport. He says that Tamil Nadu has approximately 40 racing pigeon forums, of which Chennai has 10. In other States, the number does not exceed even five. Calcutta and Bangalore has two each.

Mr. Palaniappan says that the State should declare pigeon race as a traditional sport such as cock-fight, bull-fight, and horse race. In this game, trained pigeons, particularly the Racing Homers breed (for which the homing instinct is high), are released from a point and are expected to return to their lofts within the stipulated time.

The bird which is bred for the race is tagged with a permanent ring bearing a four-digit number around its legs. It will have details such as year of birth, sex, species, the society with which it has been registered and it's registered breeder. The racing pigeons are usually checkers, blues, red checkers, and blues with white flight.

In India, still the traditional method of recording the time of a racing bird is followed. The method is that an inner ring number and outer ring number is attached to the leg of the bird on the day of the sport.

The inner ring number is not known to the breeder of the bird at the time of its release for the race. When the bird reaches its loft, the breeder gets to know the inner ring number and conveys the number over phone to the society. The bird that arrives first into its loft or has taken the minimum time is declared as the winner.

To be accurate, velocity per minute is calculated. This minimises the small variations in distance (in air route) from a single starting point to different loft points.

But other countries have adopted the advanced Radio Frequency Identification Method or Radio Collaring to record time. In this method, an electronic chip is attached to the bird and a corresponding electronic clock with antennas which registers time is kept at the loft point. The registered time is indicated through a master clock at the club's point.

Financial constraints

We are planning to buy a clock manufactured by Benzing, Southern Germany. The clock for a breeder's purpose costs Rs. 20,000 and the master clock, which has a capacity to manage the timing of 1,000 birds at a time, for the use of the club, is Rs. 50,000. Not every breeder can afford this amount, says Mr. Palaniappan.

He pointed out that the electronic chips are manufactured by a firm at Madras Export Processing Zone, Tambaram, and they are being exported to Belgium where the software would be inserted. If we need to buy those chips, we have to import the same from Belgium. he adds.

Mr. Palaniappan says that it is believed that pigeons are able to fly back to their homes through their ability to sense direction, magnetic field of the earth, and smell. So, various factors are considered before deciding on the place to release the birds for the race.

As a strong odour emanates from Eucalyptus trees, a place where there is a good density of the tree is avoided. Next, a natural disaster such as earthquake, cyclone, or any other should not have hit the place

and a rocket should not have been launched in the recent past, as there might be disturbances in magnetic field of the earth. Also, a coastal area is avoided.

Problems faced

As many people are not aware of the sport, we encounter with problems. When we take the birds in boxes (each box containing 20 pigeons) for the race, we are questioned by many Government authorities who mistake that the birds are being taken for some illegal activity. Hence, we have obtained the necessary no objection certificates' from the departments concerned and produce them as and when required.

The society has been permitted by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, the Commissioner of Police, and the Southern Railways to take the birds to other States. An amount of Rs.100 for each bird, which weighs around 24 grams, is being paid to carry them in train. The same amount is collected for a dog. In such aspects we expect the Government to offer us concession, he adds.

A pigeon's life span is 15 years. From six months to six years, the bird is fit for the race, of which the peak period is from four to five years. Up to 50 Km (in air route) the training is given by the breeder and above that the training will be given by the club.

For short distance race (200 to 300 km), the birds are released from Kavali and Vinukonda of Andhra Pradesh. They are expected to return within four hours. For medium distance (400 to 500 Km), the race begins from Miryalaguda and Warangal of Andhra Pradesh. The stipulated time is seven to nine hours. For the long distance race (750 to 1,750 km), the following places are considered Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh; Chandrapur and Nagpur in Maharashtra; Bhopal and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. The duration given is two to seven days.

Mr. Palaniappan says that the target of their club is to release the birds from Delhi to Chennai, which is approximately 1,750 km. So far, the forum has achieved the 1,500-km slot, (from Gwalior to Chennai).

The sport is usually conducted during January because of the normal wind pattern. Mr. Palaniappan says that proper medicines are not available here, in case the birds fall sick. We usually administer the

medicines meant for hens by reducing the dosage. Whereas, other countries have tonics for racer pigeons and different packages of feeds meant for racing, breeding, mating. Above all, they are offered at a subsidised cost.Distance between Madurai (Tamil Nadu) and Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) (India) The Distance between Madurai (Tamil Nadu) and Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) is : 127.88 kilometers (km). The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 147.06 km to 159.85 km

In Other Units: 79.46 miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 91.38 miles to 99.32 miles 69 nautical miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 79.35 nautical miles to 86.25 nautical miles Note: The distance is straight line distance (may be called as flying or air distance) between the two locations calculated based on their latitudes and longitudes. This distance may be very much different from the actual travel distance. The approximately estimated travel/road distance also can be very much different (if road is not straight or land is not available) than the actual. Please scroll down to see google maps for better idea.Distance between Chandrapur (Maharashtra) and Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) (India) The Distance between Chandrapur (Maharashtra) and Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) is : 1247.94 kilometers (km). The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 1435.13 km to 1559.93 km

In Other Units: 775.43 miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 891.74 miles to 969.29 miles 673.38 nautical miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 774.39 nautical miles to 841.72 nautical miles Note: The distance is straight line distance (may be called as flying or air distance) between the two locations calculated based on their latitudes and longitudes. This distance may be very much different from the actual travel distance. The approximately estimated travel/road distance also can be very much different (if road is not straight or land is not available) than the actual. Please scroll down to see

google maps for better idea.The Distance between Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) is : 1137.94 kilometers (km). The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 1308.63 km to 1422.43 km

In Other Units: 707.09 miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 813.15 miles to 883.86 miles 614.03 nautical miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 706.13 nautical miles to 767.54 nautical miles

Note: The distance is straight line distance (may be called as flying or air distance) between the two locations calculated based on their latitudes and longitudes. This distance may be very much different from the actual travel distance. The approximately estimated travel/road distance also can be very much different (if road is not straight or land is not available) than the actual. Please scroll down to see google maps for better idea. dai murugan racing pigeons for sale in chennai..murugan is a excellent record maker in
racing pigeons and winner of long distance...adress.81.n.go.colony newperangalathur.ch.63....contact..8438404757PIGEON RACING in Chennai has a longer history than we often
credit it with. In 1976, the Madras Homing Pigeon Association was formed. The very next year, another - North Madras Homing Pigeon Association - was founded. Unfortunately, these two enterprises did not go far. A lack of interest led them to be abandoned. As a result, there was a long lull.

In 1981, as a ray of hope, Boldry, a pigeon fancier, imported two breeds of racing pigeons from the United States - Paulsion and Stassert (named after the men who bred these racers). In 1983, J. Dias shipped in seven pairs of the Sodenberg racing pigeon from the U.S. In the years that followed, Boldry left Chennai to settle down in Coimbatore and Dias left the city to put down roots in Pondicherry. However, they had left behind an invaluable treasure for pigeon fanciers (as they describe themselves) in the city. By introducing these birds in the city, the two men had given pigeon racing a new lease of life. They ushered in a revival of interest in pigeon racing. In 1984, the New Madras Racing Pigeon Association was born. Slowly, more and more pigeon fanciers got in on the act, and four more clubs saw the light of day. Unlike the ones in the 1970s, these clubs have stood the test of time. Today, Chennai has about 200 pigeon fanciers, each of whom has not less than 75 homing pigeons in his loft or pigeon house. Compare this with Bangalore, which has just one club with just 15 members!

Interestingly, pigeon fanciers in Chennai are not content with the birds they have. Some of them are pushing the envelope by bringing in more breeds. Rajasekharan of Royapuram has imported a few more foreign breeds. Prasad, president, Central Madras Homer Club, imports eggs of long-distance racing birds and has them incubated here. Dr. Noel Kannan of Kottivakkam, who has returned after a stint as a dental surgeon in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, boasts of a whopping 250 birds in his loft. The cream of this crop is the world-renowned Silvere Toye pigeons. In 1992, Dr. Kannan took time off from his practice and travelled across Europe. He went from country to country to pick the brains of famous pigeon fanciers and breeders. He met the abundantly popular Jeff Kirkland in Leicester, England, and Martha Vangeel (the Vangeels are renowned for popularising the Jan-Aarden bloodline) in Holland. However, the most memorable meeting was the one with Silvere Toye in Belgium. The homing pigeon named after him is among the best in the world. This pigeon costs an arm and a leg. Dr. Kannan bought five pairs of Silvere Toyes.

"Belgium is the Mecca of pigeon racing. It has over three lakh pigeon fanciers. Races are conducted all through the year. If you look up, you can see homing pigeons flying in all directions. You can see more pigeons than you can shake a stick at," says Kannan.

A.R. Dhanasingh, president of the All Madras Homer Club, and S. Balaji, a pigeon fancier, are on the same page. While Dhanasingh ships in racing tags from Belgium, Balaji buys medicine for his pigeons by Internet-shopping.

One fact that strikes you is the sense of cooperation between members of different clubs. Though a member takes pride in his club and extends a card-carrying loyalty to it, he does not hesitate to exchange notes with a pigeon fancier belonging to another.

The clubs engage with each other in a spirit of cooperation rather than competition. The reasons are not far to seek. One, the rules that govern their functioning are the same. Two, they train and race during the same period of the year, a factor that encourages bonding. Even the racing locales (for example, Kavali, Warangal, Balarshah and Sirpur) are more or less the same. Given this, the prime movers of this sport in the city are considering forming a federation of homing pigeon clubs in the city.

"We have run this proposal up the flagpole. Most of the city-based clubs have responded favourably to the idea. If clubs in other cities and towns of Tamil Nadu are interested, we may form a federation that will cover the entire State," says Palaniappan, secretary, New Madras Racing Pigeon Association.

Three cheers for unity!

***

The homing instinct

TO PUT it simply, homing pigeons (or racing pigeons) are equipped by breeding and training to fly home, often from great distances. They have an irrepressible and uncanny instinct to come back to their lofts. While flying back home, they are believed to use geomagnetic fields to find their bearings. But this does not mean they always manage to find their way back to the loft.

"In Chennai, the racing season starts in January and usually ends in April or May. During these races, the birds are released from places such as Kavali, Kasipet, Sirpur and Nagpur. During January and February, the wind is favourable. But in March, they are confronted with side wind. They contend with the worst during April, when they fly against the wind. More often than not, it is in April that they compete in the longest race - 925 km from Nagpur to Chennai. Such a wind can disorient them and they lose direction. Due to disturbances from birds of prey, these pigeons sometimes shoot off in a wrong direction. Some such pigeons return after many days, some others never," says Palani, president, New Madras Racing Pigeon Association.

"Sometimes, out of the 500 birds we release during races, only 50 return on time. Some of the `lost' birds return after three or four months. Some are known to have returned after three or four years," says Easwaran, president, Tamil Nadu Racing Pigeon Association.

Then there is the problem of medicine. "A pigeon's illness is often infectious. When such an illness hits the loft, they (pigeons) drop like flies. The disease called Ronycot is a case in point. We do not have vaccines against many such killer diseases. We have to import them," says Ravi, president, Chennai Homing Pigeon Fanciers' Club.

"To most veterinarians here, a pigeon is an unknown quantity. They do not seem to be equipped with the knowledge to treat pigeons. They just tell us, `Nip the problem in the bud by killing the diseased bird'. We expect more from them than such an advice," says Balaji, a pigeon fancier.

Another problem is the cost of maintaining a loft with, say, a hundred pigeons. The feeding expenses alone take quite a bite out of a fancier's resources. Building a good loft can often break the bank. Many fanciers have spent a fortune on their lofts, drawing protests from family members.

Despite these problems, they continue to pursue the hobby because they have an obsessive attachment to their pigeons and a desire a see them win. hennai, Dec. 3: Pigeons are hot

property in Tamil Nadus capital. They have come a long way from the time they were fancied as couriers and assigned to carry intelligence messages in wartime Britain. Thoroughbred pigeons are now providing racing enthusiasts a kick in Chennai and other parts of the country.

Several clubs have sprung up in old Chennai, bracing for long-distance pigeon races from Calcutta and New Delhi, with the birds famed homing ability proving handy for race-lovers.

Pigeons will be released at a show in Calcutta next month the birds flight back to Chennai, if they make it that far, will be watched with great interest. The Calcutta-Chennai route was tried two years ago, but the long eastern coastline posed the birds difficulties.

The Calcutta Racing Pigeons Club is the oldest in India, with birds left behind by the British at Independence helping nurture the sport during post-Independence years.

S. Balaji, a veteran Chennai pigeon racer, says the club has organised races between Calcutta and Delhi. Y.S. Chen, P.S. Lee and Huang are among the pioneers of this peace birds sport in Calcutta, says Balaji, an avid racer himself.

Believe it or not, there are now anywhere from 300 to 500 pigeon fanciers in Chennai and even a racing pigeons federation has been formed to coordinate the activities of all the pigeon clubs, he says. I have taken this as my only vocation in life even if it is an expensive proposition.

Balaji is by no means the only one passionate about pigeon-rearing in Tamil Nadu. He teamed up with a like-minded friend Ravichandran to buy 40 birds from a landlord in Salem. The duo now has 100 birds in their pigeon loft, on the roof of Balajis house. We dont want to sell even one of them, though the racing phenomenon has placed a premium on these birds, the bird-lovers said.

There are at least five racing pigeon clubs here and the roots of this fancy can be traced back to the 1980s when Jimmy Diaz, an American living in Chennai, imported 14 pigeons from the US.

The then Karnataka finance minister Ghorpade bought a pair of red pigeons from that lot, recalls Balaji. We much later came to know that they were a 500-miles winner, he adds.

The descendants of those American birds are doing the rounds of Chennais racing circuit, with their racing value having caught the bird lovers eye.

Some have imported books from the US and the UK to read up about pigeon science and learn how to rear these birds. The hobby doesnt come cheap: the mortality rate of the pigeons is high and all their medicines have to be imported.

Club rings with the punch mark of the club and serial numbers are given to each pigeon once it is enrolled at a club. After the young ones are hatched, we have to train them for at least three months, says Balaji. The first sorties are across short distances, from Chennais suburbs to the pigeons lofts.

The trial runs, starting from a distance of two km and extending till 70 km, help the birds hone their homing instinct. The runs also help the birds learn to tackle several hazards like predators or losing their way en route.

Chennais racing enthusiasts held their first long-distance pigeon race in January 1995, recalls Ravichandran. That race was staged from Bitragunta in Andhra Pradesh, 190 km away, to Chennai.

During races, the liberator drives the pigeons across to a pre-selected race point from where they are released. The date and time each bird is released is conveyed by phone to a coordinating club official in Chennai along with the number of participants. The official appoints referees who have to be present at each pigeon owners residence to note when the birds return.

Flight that caused a flutter


Three clubs entered their pigeons for a 600-km race

READY TO TAKE WING A pigeon being banded before the race

The pigeon-racing season (January-April) follows a pattern. In the first half, short distance races are conducted. Although prizes are given away to the winners, these races are only as good as warm-ups. The real glory lies in winning the long distance races. Because they are more arduous and separate the best pigeons from the less talented. .

With a 600-km Karim Nagar to Chennai race that took place on February 15 and 16, the city has entered the more exciting second half of the season. Two more big races - Wardha (900km) and Bhopal (1,200km) - will take place in March.

Three clubs (the New Madras Racing Pigeon Club, the Tamil Nadu Homer Pigeon Racing Association and the Chennai Homing Pigeon Fanciers Club) participated in the event, organised by the Chennai Racing Pigeon Society.

The participants assembled at a common place and banded the birds with rubber rings (which would be removed after the race). Every pigeon was entered in the fray by jotting down its identification details found on a permanent metal ring it wears on one leg. As a last-minute preparation, some participants were seen feeding their birds with energy drinks. The birds were put back in wire-mesh boxes and transported to Karim Nagar. To prevent foul play, a member from each club went to the location. The birds were all released at the same time on February 15. Most of them reached their lofts before the three pigeon fanciers returned to the city.

Racing pigeons are markedly different from regular and show pigeons. While all pigeons possess the homing instinct, racing pigeons possess it in large measure. All things being equal, a normal pigeon might cover the distance between Chennai and Villupuram in about four hours, while the trip would take a racing pigeon just a little over an hour.

PRINCE FREDERICK

Chennai: To hear K. Pazhaniappan tell it, rarely has a new mode of communication wreaked such dire punishment upon an older one. Cell-phone towers! he says, with a hint of gnashed teeth. Theyre everywhere now, and they throw our pigeons off track. Suresh Kumar (left), who owns 60 pigeons, and K. Pazhaniappan whose Beta Loft houses 150 pigeons (Photo by: Arjoon Manohar/Mint) As the secretary of the quarter-century-old New Madras Racing Pigeon Association, or the NMRPA, Pazhaniappan has had to field many frazzled pigeon fanciers, as those who keep the birds are known. And its not just pigeons have you seen any sparrows or parrots around, since these towers started springing up? Pazhaniappan asks. Chennai is the Indian nucleus of pigeon racing, home to more than 200 fanciers and six distinct clubs; in second rank is Kolkata, with fewer than 100 fanciers. Here, it isnt so much Tennysons the moan of doves in immemorial elms as the gurgling of pigeons from backyard cages or terrace lofts. But like all Indian cities, much to Pazhaniappans chagrin, Chennai is also rife with cell-phone towers. NMRPAs members arent the first to complain. A pigeons navigational ability is thought to depend on the earths magnetic field, and a study by the Swiss Bird Study Organisation has discovered that a cellphone towers electromagnetic emissions tend to confuse the birds. In Britain, a group of pigeon fanciers in Durham attempted to stop the construction of a new Orange cellphone tower on the same grounds. One friend, Pazhaniappan remembers, released 20-odd young birds from his terrace soon after a tower sprouted near his house. Every one of them vanished. Only his next batch of young birds, which grew up getting used to the towers signals, could navigate around it. The pigeon-racing passion is a relic of the British Raj. The British used to be active breeders of tumbler birdspigeons that would just hover around your house endlessly and then settle back into their coops, says Pazhaniappan. Then the British left, but their birds stayed. Painstaking passion Noel Kannan, a retired physician with 250 birds in his beach-house backyard, points out that Mumbai and New Delhi rapidly became too crowded to raise birds. There are a couple of clubs in Bangalore and Kolkata still, he says. But the sport has a longer history in Chennai, and somehow it has grown in popularity, not declined. Racing these pigeons is considerably more complex than having them simply circle a house. The birds are first trained painstakingly; pigeon fanciers release groups of young pigeons first at a distance of 10km, then 20km and gradually extend the range past 400km. But because of these towers, or predator hawks, or pesticide-tainted water, some birds never return, even from 10km away, says Suresh Kumar, an owner of 60 pigeons. Out of 100 birds released from 100km away, he estimates, a fancier could lose as many as 40; from 1,000km away, on average, only one in 10 returns. The pigeon-racing season in India runs from January to April, before the acute summer heat sets in. Little expeditions of pigeon fanciers set out in vans or on trains, carrying medical certificates and police clearances and forestry permits, and their birds in flat steel boxes. Once in Bhopal, or Nagpur or New Delhi or anywhere else, the pigeons are released early in the morning. At their fastest, they fly 900m a minute 54kmph, roughly the speed of a cruising car. Around the time they are expected back in Chennai, the fanciers will wait in each others houses to record the time of arrival. There are no great prizes for winning these races, just what the clubs manage to put up, says S. Manohar, treasurer of the NMRPA. R. Eswaran, the secretary of the Tamil Nadu Homing Pigeon Racing Association, adds: In fact, we even hesitate to call it racing, because we dont want people to think were gambling on the results. Peace, love, wisdom Pazhaniappans 150 pigeons reside in a matrix of orange-and-cream chicken-wire cages, called the Beta Loft, on the terrace of the Beta Matriculation School, which he started. Even the schools symbol is a pigeon, garbed by the words Peace, Love, Wisdom. That is what the birds signify to me, he says. To extract one of his pigeons, Pazhaniappan steps inside his loft, softly cooing, Ok, ok, ok to calm his birds down. His selected specimen, like the rest, is prosperous, shiny and plump. On one leg, a printed band reads Beta Loft; the other legs band gives the NMRPA number and year of birth of the pigeon. For a loft of 100 birds, we spend around Rs2,000 every month, on feed, medicines, vitamin and mineral supplements, says Pazhaniappan. His pigeons are fed mostly from mixtures of corn, ragi, maize and peas, stored in huge Asian Paints cans in his stairwell. Over the last few years, as avian flu scares restricted the import of birds, pigeon fanciers have struggled to bring in robust pigeons from abroad. One gentleman in south India still smuggles the occasional bird in from Australia; another secretes eggs in imported jars of condiments.

But most of us have had to learn to breed pigeons from scratch, says Kumar. We learnt to track parentage, examine the tail and keel of a bird. Everybody has their own ideas, but there are some fundamentals, some basics. For Kumar, a birds eyesight is the most important quality. The inner muscle inside the pupil shows long-distance capacity. The irishe pronounces it Irishshows stamina. Its all highly scientific. But then, he adds a little sheepishly, These are theories. After all, we cant speak to the bird. There may be some practical problem that we may never know about. Almost invariably, these fanciers come to love the birds more than the sport. Kannan stayed in a job in Saudi Arabia for 20 years because he couldnt bear to leave his pigeons. P. Krishnaraj, who rears 50 birds, spends two hours with them every day: Just sitting among them, thats all. Most of these fanciers were sucked into the hobby in their early teens. Usually, its passed on as a sort of family tradition, says Pazhaniappan. Krishnarajs grandfather raced pigeons; so did Manohars uncles. I must be an exception, Pazhaniappan says. But really, this is like a cancer. Once it gets into your blood, you cant get it out. When his new house was under construction for a year, Manohar had to lodge his birds elsewhere. I missed them so much that I would come to Pazhaniappans house every evening, he says. Only then could I sleep at nights. On Manohars mantelpiece rest pictures of his wife and children, as in every house. But the biggest, least dusty photo is of Night Flyer, his Nagpur-Chennai race winner. Ive lent him to a friend now, to breed, he says. But Ill have him back soon.

Training Pigeons for flight-What I know


The pigeon training starts 2-3 weeks before the flying season. Its mid April here in Chennai as May is the start of flying season. It starts with diet food like millets for the birds. They are put in open under sun for 2-3 hours daily along with diet food. The idea is to make them loose extra weight and get them used to the weather. After the birds loose extra weight (in 2 weeks), they are left to fly. For about a week the flight time would be uneven. Some fly for an hour, some for 30 minutes and some would just fly for 5 minutes. Those that pick up timing from 2nd weeks are less problematic ones and we dont have to do any special thing for them other than proper feed and care. When birds dont pick up timing initially, it does not mean they are bad fliers. There could be several reasons for it and we need to spend focussed effort to bring the best out of them. Some of the reason I could point for birds not timing right away are:

They might have health problems. We need to closely watch their activities, food intake, excrete and check for any symptoms. Its best to treat them and not fly them anymore. Stress: Pigeons might have stress due to various reasons like over crowding inside loft, they might be in masti condition (mating stage), hawk chase etc,.

When birds are healthy and without any signs of stress(dullness, not picking up enough food etc,.) but still do not fly, I try the following options:

Make them swim for 5 minutes in a big basket of water. I hold the bird with its legs and allow it to swim. Swimming makes their body fit and we can see improvements. I mix turmeric powder in water and feed them.Dont know specific reasons but learnt this from other pigeon fancier friends. Feed mix made from dry ginger powder(sukku) and jaggery (vellam).

Posted by Prabhu at 7:37 PM 7 comments: Links to this post

2010 young birds


These are the young ones I have this year for flying. The flying season starts from mid April. The weather here is best for the birds to fly from December to mid March but that is when the hawks are super active here. From April it becomes hot and humid but Hawks are not active during this time of year. I tried to fly birds in Feb and March but wasnt able to fly for more than couple of days.Hawks were ferocious and I lost 4 birds.

Posted by Prabhu at 12:30 PM 2 comments: Links to this post TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2009

Past 2 months....
Some update on whats happening recently at my loft. I stopped flying birds from mid October as it started raining here and also hawks have arrived. Hawks season will be till mid March here. Have been busy breeding the birds for past 2 months. I currently have around 10 young ones and hope to have atleast few of them perform well next season. The flying season will start from March. I lost 4 birds recently. It looks like they have been stolen :( . 3 among them were very good tumblers.I got them after lot of effort and lost them before breeding them. Have added more "security measures" for the loft now :) . Prabhu
Posted by Prabhu at 3:41 PM No comments: Links to this post WEDNESDAY, JULY 29, 2009

My Tumbler Pigeons

Young brown tumbler

Both these young ones are from same pair.

Sabja male

Guldhar male

Jack male paired with below jack female

Jack female paired with above jack male


Posted by Prabhu at 2:53 PM 11 comments: Links to this post MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2009

My first homer pair


Yesterday I got a pair of homers. The male is a Grizzle bird and I am not aware of the exact bloodline. The female bird is a sabja (blue bar) and was breed from a Chinese bloodline. They both are kind of scared and dull now. The friend who gave them advised me to handle them very carefully as they take months to get used to the new place. He advised me not to touch them and leave them alone for couple of weeks. I am eager to breed them and check the performance of their young ones.
Posted by Prabhu at 12:02 PM 2 comments: Links to this post TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 2009

Kit Flying Vs Flying alone


In Europe, US and most part of Middle East too the races for both Tipplers and Tumblers are held for a kit of birds. The minimum kit size if 3 birds and the flight time is considered as the flight time of the bird which lands first. If a bird fly separately from its kit for more that 1 hour or 30 minutes in some clubs, the bird/whole kit gets disqualified.

In TamilNadu, most of the races are for individual birds and not for kits. In some clubs although the race is for individual birds, they are allowed to fly as a kit. But in Chennai, flying as kit is not allowed. Here if a bird joins with other bird, its considered useless. People put lot of effort to breed birds such that they get the bloodline which can fly alone. These blood lines surprisingly fly alone even if several birds are released from same loft at the same time. All of these keep flying alone for several hours. They fly as a kit but not more than few minutes. Its surprising to see such varied kind of interest among fanciers. Pigeon fanciers here say that its very easy to have birds which fly as kit but the real challenge is to get birds that can fly alone. I myself have 3 tipplers which are flying now and they are flying for 4-5 hours daily. But they are flying as a kit. I cant participate with them in race as they will get disqualified. The good thing is that if I release just one of them on a day, the bird if flying alone for same 4-5 hours . This is a good sign because many birds wont fly for long hours if they are released alone . I can try to selectively breed them somehow and try to get the "flying alone" capability.

Tippler races this Year in Chennai


There would be more than 10 clubs for Tipplers and Tumblers in Chennai. The races here are conducted during April-May time frame. I followed couple of Tippler races this year. One was conducted by Mr.Ayya Samy who is a famous person for pigeons in Chennai. He is called as "Pallipataar" among fanciers here as he resides in a place named PalliPattu which is near Tidel Park . I dont know the club name for the other one. Sadly none of the birds won both these races this year. In Pallipattar's club race 18 people participated and of which just 2 birds crossed the 3rd day. Both these birds were eliminated on 4th day as they did not cross the 5 hour mandatory flight timings. Here are some of the rules for Tippler race in Chennai:

The bird has to fly a minimum of 5 hours a day from 8AM to 1PM for five continuous days.If it clocks 7 hours a day for first 3 days and clock 4.5 hours alone on 4th day, it is a foul and bird will be eliminated. The bird has to fly alone and should not fly as a flock with other birds for more than 1 hour continuously. . It has to fly separately even if you have other birds flying from your loft or near by loft. It can join and fly with other birds but not more than 60 minutes continuously. While on flight, the birds has to come near your house (may be the area covering 100 to 200 mts radius from your house) once every 30 minutes. Some birds go far from their lofts (more than 5 kms away) while on flight. They have to return back and be spotted within closer proximity to their loft every 30 minutes. If a birds does not come near the loft area for more than 30 minutes it will get eliminated. Birds will fly very high and get into the clouds sometime. The temperature at higher altitude will be cool and they love flying high. Sometimes birds go so high that they will not be visible to naked eyes. A bird should not be at such heights for more than 30 minutes. The loft owner should be able to show the bird to the referee once every 30 minutes. When the bird goes to higher altitude and disappear, it has to be spotted at higher altitudes within next 30 minutes. Once spotted at higher altitude, the next spotting should be at comparable altitude.If they spot the bird at very low altitude, its a foul. The reason is to avoid situation where the bird flies to long distance, takes rests and then come back. Before the race, you can tell the referee two spots near the loft where the bird can land after flight. If the birds lands at any other spot even on your own loft/nearby

its a foul. The owner has to handover the bird to the referee for inspection after it lands.

These rules are very challenging and its very difficult to train birds to win races. Many birds fly for long hours but they wont fly alone. Birds which fly alone are very few. Some breeds get too high and stay there for more than 30 minutes which will disqualify them. It takes lot of experience to breed birds carefully to get these desired characteristics.
Posted by Prabhu at 8:28 PM 1 comment: Links to this post MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2009

Pigeon breeds/varieties
There are several varieties of domestic pigeons each having unique characteristics. A broad classification would be like this:

Fancy Pigeons: These are non-performing pigeons which are kept as show birds like love birds, parrots etc,. There are several varieties of fancy pigeons.All of them are interesting in looks. They do not have strong homing instincts like homer pigeons nor do they have capability to fly for long hours. In fact many of them can not even fly. These are kept for their unique looks by the fanciers. I don't think there are races for these pigeons. Homer Pigeons: These pigeons have strong homing capability and they can return to their loft even from 100s of kms away. The homer pigeons are mostly bigger in size with strongly built body. They feed on bigger size grains. Homer pigeons are the widely breed ones in Europe and US. There are several clubs for homer races that are operated in a very professional manners. Tumblers/Rollers: These pigeons have the following unique characteristics: a) They can fly very high compared to homers. They fly so high that they become invisible to nakedeyes. While flying they can do somersaults in air. They do somersault multiple timecontinuously. This is very unique character of rollers. They have very bad homing instinctsand cannot return back home from just few kilometers distance. They fly close to their loft (within 2kms radius). Tumblers are more common in Asia and middle east.

Tipplers: Tipplers pigeon's unique characteristics is the capability to fly for long duration. They can fly continuously for more than 20 hours based on the climatic conditions. Theydon't do somersaults like rollers. They have better homing insticts than Tumblers and can return from distances upto 10 kms. Tipplers are more common in Asia and middle east.
Posted by Prabhu at 7:43 PM 1 comment: Links to this post TUESDAY, MAY 26, 2009

Pigeon homing in Chennai


Chennai is one of the cities in India which has large number of Pigeon fanciers. Kolkatta too is famous for Pigeon homing. You can see hardcore Racing homer enthusiasts as well as Tipplers and Tumblers fanciers. There are 3-4 well established Homer pigeon clubs and they conduct racing ranging from 100+ kms to as long as 1000 kms (ChennaiBhopal). They have also started having multi-state races where clubs from Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka join together and conduct the long distance races. Homer races are held during December-January time. When it comes to Tipplers and Tumblers, there are several clubs in Chennai. They have couple of clubs for every 10-15 km area. Tippler racers are conducted in April-May and Tumbler races happen in June. Chennai is known for its very rigid rules for Tippler and Tumbler races. Tippler pigeons fly maximum of 7-8 hrs a day in Chennai as the climate is hot and humid. At places like Bangalore and Kerala, tipplers fly for 15+ hours due to pleasant weather. Tumblers fly for max 4-5 hrs in Chennai where as at cooler places Tumblers itself fly for 7-8 hours. I do not have details on possible number of fanciers in Chennai but my guesstimate is there are anywhere between 2000-3000 fanciers in Chennai and its suburbs.

You are welcome ...


Today, pigeon racing is a sport for the whole family in a highly social environment. It combines animal husbandry with the natural desire for competition. Pigeon Races have brought this popular sport into the 21st Century. Working alongside traditional timing systems and home lofts, these enhancements increase the scope and appeal of the sport for the modern pigeon fancier flying in the India and internationally.

The main aim of this site is to honor and spread the sport of racing pigeon of which very little is known amoung most of us. Pigeon racing in India are kept and raced from a very long time known to man . pigeon racing is one of the finest and surprising sport ever found by man.

Pigeons In War

At the outbreak of World War 2 thousands of Britains pigeon fanciers gave their pigeons to the war e to act as message carriers. During the period of the war nearly a quarter of a million birds were used the army, the RAF and the Civil Defence Services including the police, the fire service, Home Guard a

even Bletchley Park. Pigeon racing was stopped and birds of prey along the coasts of Britain were cu so that British pigeons could arrive home unhindered by these predators. There were tight controls o keeping of pigeons and even rationing for pigeon corn.

Homing pigeons were used not only in Western Europe by British forces but also by American, Canad and German forces in other parts of the world during the war Italy, Greece, North Africa, India and Middle and Far East. One pigeon, GI Joe, saved the lives of thousands of British troops who were preparing to take an Italian town after the US Air Force had bombarded the Germans. However, the British forces found no resistance from the Germans and so entered the town unchallenged. Unfortunately the USAF were already en route to bomb the town and with radio contact broken GI Jo over a mile a minute (60 mph) back to the base. He arrived back just in time for the air raid to be ca off before the USAF would have bombed our troops.

All RAF bombers and reconnaissance aircraft carried pigeons and, if the aircraft had to ditch, the plan co-ordinates were sent back with the pigeon to its RAF base and a search and rescue operation was effected. Thousands of servicemens lives were saved by these heroic birds that flew often in extrem circumstances.

During World War II homing pigeons were seconded into the National Pigeon Service from Britains fanciers including one from the Royal Lofts. In fact one pigeon, Royal Blue, was the first pigeon to br message from a force-landed aircraft on the continent. On the 10th October 1940 this young bird wa released in Holland. He flew 120 miles in 4 hours 10 minutes reporting the information regarding the situation of the crew. After the war, the Dickin Medal was instituted. Commonly known as the Anim it was awarded to 53 animals including 32 homing pigeons including Royal Blue.

Pigeons carried their messages either in special message containers on their legs or small pouches lo over their backs.

Quite often pigeons were dropped by parachute in containers to Resistance workers in France, Belgiu and Holland. This was often quite precarious as it was a bumpy landing and very dangerous for the Resistance workers if they were caught with a British pigeon.

Aircrew carried their pigeons in special watertight baskets and containers, in case the aircraft had to into the sea.

Pigeon lofts were built at RAF and army bases but the mobile lofts had to be constructed so that the could move easily over land. The Dickin Medal was awarded for any animal displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during World War II and its aftermath. Of the 53 Dickin Medals presented, 32 went to pigeons.

The founder of the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals, Mrs Maria Dickin, instituted the award, pop referred to as the Animal VC, and was made only upon official recommendation and was exclusive to animal kingdom.

One of the most famous pigeons was called White Vision. It received its Dickin Medal for delivering message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an air crew while serving with the RAF in October 1943. This hardly tells the story! A Catalina flying boat had to ditch the Hebrides at 0820 hrs one morning. Sea rescue operations were hindered by very bad weather an search was impossible because of thick mist. At 1700 hrs that afternoon White Vision arrived at her with a message giving the position of the ditched aircraft and as a result the search was resumed, th aircraft sighted and rescue of the crew effected. White Vision had flown 60 miles over heavy seas ag a headwind of 25 miles per hour with visibility only a hundred yards at the place of release and three hundred yards at the place of arrival.
Pigeons In War

At the outbreak of World War 2 thousands of Britains pigeon fanciers gave their pigeons to the war e to act as message carriers. During the period of the war nearly a quarter of a million birds were used the army, the RAF and the Civil Defence Services including the police, the fire service, Home Guard a even Bletchley Park. Pigeon racing was stopped and birds of prey along the coasts of Britain were cu so that British pigeons could arrive home unhindered by these predators. There were tight controls o keeping of pigeons and even rationing for pigeon corn.

Homing pigeons were used not only in Western Europe by British forces but also by American, Canad and German forces in other parts of the world during the war Italy, Greece, North Africa, India and Middle and Far East. One pigeon, GI Joe, saved the lives of thousands of British troops who were preparing to take an Italian town after the US Air Force had bombarded the Germans. However, the

British forces found no resistance from the Germans and so entered the town unchallenged. Unfortunately the USAF were already en route to bomb the town and with radio contact broken GI Jo over a mile a minute (60 mph) back to the base. He arrived back just in time for the air raid to be ca off before the USAF would have bombed our troops.

All RAF bombers and reconnaissance aircraft carried pigeons and, if the aircraft had to ditch, the plan co-ordinates were sent back with the pigeon to its RAF base and a search and rescue operation was effected. Thousands of servicemens lives were saved by these heroic birds that flew often in extrem circumstances.

During World War II homing pigeons were seconded into the National Pigeon Service from Britains fanciers including one from the Royal Lofts. In fact one pigeon, Royal Blue, was the first pigeon to br message from a force-landed aircraft on the continent. On the 10th October 1940 this young bird wa released in Holland. He flew 120 miles in 4 hours 10 minutes reporting the information regarding the situation of the crew. After the war, the Dickin Medal was instituted. Commonly known as the Anim it was awarded to 53 animals including 32 homing pigeons including Royal Blue.

Pigeons carried their messages either in special message containers on their legs or small pouches lo over their backs.

Quite often pigeons were dropped by parachute in containers to Resistance workers in France, Belgiu and Holland. This was often quite precarious as it was a bumpy landing and very dangerous for the Resistance workers if they were caught with a British pigeon.

Aircrew carried their pigeons in special watertight baskets and containers, in case the aircraft had to into the sea.

Pigeon lofts were built at RAF and army bases but the mobile lofts had to be constructed so that the could move easily over land. The Dickin Medal was awarded for any animal displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during World War II and its aftermath. Of the 53 Dickin Medals presented, 32 went to pigeons.

The founder of the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals, Mrs Maria Dickin, instituted the award, pop referred to as the Animal VC, and was made only upon official recommendation and was exclusive to animal kingdom.

One of the most famous pigeons was called White Vision. It received its Dickin Medal for delivering message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an air crew while serving with the RAF in October 1943. This hardly tells the story! A Catalina flying boat had to ditch the Hebrides at 0820 hrs one morning. Sea rescue operations were hindered by very bad weather an search was impossible because of thick mist. At 1700 hrs that afternoon White Vision arrived at her with a message giving the position of the ditched aircraft and as a result the search was resumed, th aircraft sighted and rescue of the crew effected. White Vision had flown 60 miles over heavy seas ag a headwind of 25 miles per hour with visibility only a hundred yards at the place of release and three hundred yards at the place of arrival.
Pigeons In War

At the outbreak of World War 2 thousands of Britains pigeon fanciers gave their pigeons to the war e to act as message carriers. During the period of the war nearly a quarter of a million birds were used the army, the RAF and the Civil Defence Services including the police, the fire service, Home Guard a even Bletchley Park. Pigeon racing was stopped and birds of prey along the coasts of Britain were cu so that British pigeons could arrive home unhindered by these predators. There were tight controls o keeping of pigeons and even rationing for pigeon corn.
Pigeons In War

At the outbreak of World War 2 thousands of Britains pigeon fanciers gave their pigeons to the war e to act as message carriers. During the period of the war nearly a quarter of a million birds were used the army, the RAF and the Civil Defence Services including the police, the fire service, Home Guard a even Bletchley Park. Pigeon racing was stopped and birds of prey along the coasts of Britain were cu so that British pigeons could arrive home unhindered by these predators. There were tight controls o keeping of pigeons and even rationing for pigeon corn.

our members

Mr.P.Gowri shankar

Mr.

Mr.M.Lenin

Mr.M.Raja mohamed

Medical consultant : DR.Venkareshwaralu .MVSC

Friend's clubs
SALEM RACING PIGEON ASSOCIATION ( SRPA )

PEARL CITY RACING PIGEON CLUB ( PCRPC )

TRICHY RACING PIGEON CLUB ( TRPC )

MADURAI RACING PIGEON CLUB ( MRPC )

RAMANAD RACING PIGEON CLUB ( RRPC )

ALL MADRAS RACING PIGEON CLUB ( AMRC )

TRICHY RACING PIGEON CLUB ( TRPC ) TRICHY RACING PIGEON CLUB ( TRPC )

TRICHY RACING PIGEON CLUB ( TRPC ) PEARL CITY RACING PIGEON CLUB ( PCRPC ) RAMANAD RACING PIGEON CLUB ( RRPC ) KILAKKARAI PIGEON CLUB ( KPC ) PEARL CITY RACING PIGEON CLUB ( PCRPC ) RAMANAD RACING PIGEON CLUB ( RRPC ) KILAKKARAI PIGEON CLUB ( KPC ) NAGARKOVIL HOMING PIGEON FANCIERS ASSOCIATION ( NHPFA )

Pigeons In War

At the outbreak of World War 2 thousands of Britains pigeon fanciers gave their pigeons to the war e to act as message carriers. During the period of the war nearly a quarter of a million birds were used the army, the RAF and the Civil Defence Services including the police, the fire service, Home Guard a even Bletchley Park. Pigeon racing was stopped and birds of prey along the coasts of Britain were cu so that British pigeons could arrive home unhindered by these predators. There were tight controls o keeping of pigeons and even rationing for pigeon corn.

Homing pigeons were used not only in Western Europe by British forces but also by American, Canad and German forces in other parts of the world during the war Italy, Greece, North Africa, India and Middle and Far East. One pigeon, GI Joe, saved the lives of thousands of British troops who were preparing to take an Italian town after the US Air Force had bombarded the Germans. However, the British forces found no resistance from the Germans and so entered the town unchallenged. Unfortunately the USAF were already en route to bomb the town and with radio contact broken GI Jo over a mile a minute (60 mph) back to the base. He arrived back just in time for the air raid to be ca off before the USAF would have bombed our troops.

All RAF bombers and reconnaissance aircraft carried pigeons and, if the aircraft had to ditch, the plan co-ordinates were sent back with the pigeon to its RAF base and a search and rescue operation was

effected. Thousands of servicemens lives were saved by these heroic birds that flew often in extrem circumstances.

During World War II homing pigeons were seconded into the National Pigeon Service from Britains fanciers including one from the Royal Lofts. In fact one pigeon, Royal Blue, was the first pigeon to br message from a force-landed aircraft on the continent. On the 10th October 1940 this young bird wa released in Holland. He flew 120 miles in 4 hours 10 minutes reporting the information regarding the situation of the crew. After the war, the Dickin Medal was instituted. Commonly known as the Anim it was awarded to 53 animals including 32 homing pigeons including Royal Blue.

Pigeons carried their messages either in special message containers on their legs or small pouches lo over their backs.

Quite often pigeons were dropped by parachute in containers to Resistance workers in France, Belgiu and Holland. This was often quite precarious as it was a bumpy landing and very dangerous for the Resistance workers if they were caught with a British pigeon.

Aircrew carried their pigeons in special watertight baskets and containers, in case the aircraft had to into the sea.

Pigeon lofts were built at RAF and army bases but the mobile lofts had to be constructed so that the could move easily over land. The Dickin Medal was awarded for any animal displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during World War II and its aftermath. Of the 53 Dickin Medals presented, 32 went to pigeons.

The founder of the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals, Mrs Maria Dickin, instituted the award, pop referred to as the Animal VC, and was made only upon official recommendation and was exclusive to animal kingdom.

One of the most famous pigeons was called White Vision. It received its Dickin Medal for delivering message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an air crew while serving with the RAF in October 1943. This hardly tells the story! A Catalina flying boat had to ditch the Hebrides at 0820 hrs one morning. Sea rescue operations were hindered by very bad weather an search was impossible because of thick mist. At 1700 hrs that afternoon White Vision arrived at her with a message giving the position of the ditched aircraft and as a result the search was resumed, th aircraft sighted and rescue of the crew effected. White Vision had flown 60 miles over heavy seas ag a headwind of 25 miles per hour with visibility only a hundred yards at the place of release and three hundred yards at the place of arrival.

Pigeons In War

At the outbreak of World War 2 thousands of Britains pigeon fanciers gave their pigeons to the war effort to act as message carriers. Durin the period of the war nearly a quarter of a million birds were used by t army, the RAF and the Civil Defence Services including the police, the fire service, Home Guard and even Bletchley Park. Pigeon racing wa stopped and birds of prey along the coasts of Britain were culled so th British pigeons could arrive home unhindered by these predators. Th were tight controls on the keeping of pigeons and even rationing for pigeon corn.

Homing pigeons were used not only in Western Europe by British forc but also by American, Canadian, and German forces in other parts of world during the war Italy, Greece, North Africa, India and the Middl and Far East. One pigeon, GI Joe, saved the lives of thousands of British troops who were preparing to take an Italian town after the US Force had bombarded the Germans. However, the British forces foun

no resistance from the Germans and so entered the town unchallenge Unfortunately the USAF were already en route to bomb the town and with radio contact broken GI Joe fly over a mile a minute (60 mph) ba to the base. He arrived back just in time for the air raid to be called of before the USAF would have bombed our troops.

All RAF bombers and reconnaissance aircraft carried pigeons and, if t aircraft had to ditch, the planes co-ordinates were sent back with the pigeon to its RAF base and a search and rescue operation was effect Thousands of servicemens lives were saved by these heroic birds tha flew often in extreme circumstances.

During World War II homing pigeons were seconded into the National Pigeon Service from Britains fanciers including one from the Royal Lo In fact one pigeon, Royal Blue, was the first pigeon to bring a messag from a force-landed aircraft on the continent. On the 10th October 19 this young bird was released in Holland. He flew 120 miles in 4 hours minutes reporting the information regarding the situation of the crew. After the war, the Dickin Medal was instituted. Commonly known as t Animal VC, it was awarded to 53 animals including 32 homing pigeon including Royal Blue. Pigeons carried their messages either in special message containers their legs or small pouches looped over their backs.

Quite often pigeons were dropped by parachute in containers to Resistance workers in France, Belgium and Holland. This was often quite precarious as it was a bumpy landing and very dangerous for th Resistance workers if they were caught with a British pigeon. Aircrew carried their pigeons in special watertight baskets and containers, in case the aircraft had to ditch into the sea.

Pigeon lofts were built at RAF and army bases but the mobile lofts ha to be constructed so that they could move easily over land.

The Dickin Medal was awarded for any animal displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during World War II and its aftermath. O the 53 Dickin Medals presented, 32 went to pigeons.

The founder of the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals, Mrs Maria Dickin, instituted the award, popularly referred to as the Animal VC, a was made only upon official recommendation and was exclusive to th

animal kingdom.

One of the most famous pigeons was called White Vision. It receive its Dickin Medal for delivering a message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an air crew while servin with the RAF in October 1943. This hardly tells the story! A Catalina flying boat had to ditch in the Hebrides at 0820 hrs one morning. Sea rescue operations were hindered by very bad weather and air search was impossible because of thick mist. At 1700 hrs that afternoon Wh Vision arrived at her loft with a message giving the position of the ditc aircraft and as a result the search was resumed, the aircraft sighted a rescue of the crew effected. White Vision had flown 60 miles over he seas against a headwind of 25 miles per hour with visibility only a hundred yards at the place of release and three hundred yards at the place of arrival.

Results

SIRUGUNUR TO DINDIGUL 137 Km. 22.01.2006 RANK 2 3 4 NAME DISTANCE 170 Kms 174 Kms 170 Kms 167 Kms Time Taken 144 min. 147 min. 146 min. 145 min. Points 3 2 1 2

Thank you for visiting. I hope that you enjoy the site and learning about the Fancy. Please contact us to find your nearest club to get started in this very rewarding sport.

orty-one pigeons were released from the sprawling Kasturchand Park in Nagpur on Thursday by a group of pigeon-racing enthusiasts. The pigeons will fly to their homes in Chennai.

"The birds will fly at a speed of about 1.5 km per minute. They will cover about 950 km and reach tomorrow [Friday] evening," Tamil Nadu Homer Pigeon Racing Association secretary E Eswaran said.

"Today's [Thursday] flying time would be around 11 to 12 hours. After a night halt, the birds will resume their onwards journey," Nagpur District Pigeon Club member Raju Gaonkar said.

Pigeons were gradually trained to fly 140 km, 210 km, 310 km, 410 km and 680 km before this race, he said.

The birds belong to the New Madras Racing Pigeon Association in Chennai, Umar Pigeon Fancy Club and Tamil Nadu Pigeon Racing Society, Eswaran said, adding, the cost of a bird ranges from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000.

FLYING BACKWARDS
ANIMALS, SPORTS

On most weekends between January and April, the charmingly-named 'pigeon fanciers' of Chennai can be found readying their prized fliers for a long journey. They pack the birds - up to 200 of them - into their cages, buy train tickets worth Rs.100 (appromimately $2) for each bird, organise various permits, and take them far enough and set them free to find their way home. Meanwhile, the fanciers catch the next train back home to wait for their birds and record their arrival time. But pigeon racing is far more complex than fairytales would have you believe. During long distance races, only one in ten pigeons will actually return, which makes the dedication of the fanciers all the more admirable. Pigeon racing in India came in and faded out with the British rule, but continues to gather fans in a small pocket of Chennai. The city is home to six full time pigeon racing clubs, and boasts of over 2000 fanciers who breed, raise and race their own pigeons. While pigeon racing seems to have a lot of scope for technology, the fanciers of Chennai havent let modernization get in the way of some good old fashioned sport. Their webpages look sweetly primitive, the scoring relies on the honour system, and the flights are timed by numbers handwritten on a ring on the birds foot. After the bird reaches home, the owner is must telephone the society to declare its arrival and check if it happens to be the winner. And just like that, both pigeon racing and nostalgia continue to live on.

The IT hub of Bangalore has seen many developments and happenings in its young history. But here is a group of 30-35 individuals who are gung-ho after a unique sporting event, racing of Homing Pigeons. This collective band of people are keeping and continuing the tradition alive today in the form of a club that has many records to its credit. One of the oldest and best clubs in the country, the Karnataka Racing Pigeon Club continues the legacy in Bangalore just like other clubs do in Chennai and Kolkatta. Pigeon racing as a sport, started in Bangalore in the 1920s by a club called as Bangalore Homing Society. For reasons unknown, it was discontinued.

But in 1973, it was started by a band of four members, Wilfred Williams, GA Rebeiro, GH Rebeiro and Kevin Stephens and thus, the Mysore Racing Pigeon Club was formed which was later renamed as Karnataka Racing Pigeon Club (KRPC). It was Lt Col HC Smith who served as president of the Club for 25 years, bringing in rules and regulations. Since its inception, the Karnataka Racing Pigeon Club has come a long way taking part in the annual Federation Cup. Patronised by M Y Ghorpade from the erstwhile royal family of Sandur, it has carved a name for itself by setting many a record in the world of pigeon racing. Way back in 1970, it had a unique accomplishment under its belt when its Homers returned from Parbani (700 km) on the same day. With India barely having 12 hours of sunlight, this was an achievement as the birds did 7,00 km before sundown many times while they also did Wardha (860 km) in two days and from Bhopal (1,000 km) in three days. However, the fastest time recorded in this race by K S Krishnamurthys Felix which traversed 1,150 km from Chindwara in MP to Bangalore in 25 hours and 14 minutes still remains followed by Mario, owned by Suresh, the current president of KRPC which too flew 1,000 kms from Chindwara. Although, the development of this sport is not as sophisticated as in US, UK or Belgium, nowadays, pigeon racing in India too has become more scientific and regulated. The selection of the bird, its offspring is very important. Even the combination of the feed that is given to the birds differ from fancier to fancier and it is a trade secret. Choosing the breed itself is an art as it depends on parametres like shape of the head, wing span, eyes and the shape of the tail. For instance, if it has a eagle head, a V-shaped body for good aerodynamics and has a single tail, the bird is considered to be good for racing long distances, says well known fancier (a term used to describe pigeon breeders) and racer Krishnamurthy who is known as Kitty in racing circles . The tribe of fanciers is still very miniscule in the country, however, once hooked on to this sport, it is very difficult to forego it. 56-year-old K Anand Rao, an electrical engineer, formerly with ITI, too began racing pigeons at a very young age. His birds have successfully clocked a distance of 860 km from Wardha to Bangalore. I have taken part in many races and this is a regular feature for me every year. This time, I am hoping to introduce 25 pigeons and will soon begin the training exercise, adds Rao who hopes to create a record. I started breeding Homing Pigeons in my own house as that is a pre-requisite for the birds to return to their homes. I have bred the best of the birds, won many races and my Felix, set a record of flying 1150 kms in 25 hours. He is now no longer with me as I have sold it. My elder daugher Priya Kallavi who is supportive many a time helps me in looking after my prized birds, concludes Kitty.

With the number of clubs doubling in recent years, Chennai is way ahead of other Indian cities in pigeon racing
Move over Kolkata. Chennai is the new pigeon-racing capital of India. With the number of clubs for the sport having doubled in recent years, the city is beak, wings and tail ahead of the competition. The first to appear on the countrys pigeon-racing map, Kolkata was once the destination for anyone with a passion for this hobby-sport. The Calcutta Pigeon Racing Pigeons Club is the oldest in India and the city produced a slew of legendary breeders and trainers of racing pigeons. But today, Chennai is unmatched in the number of pigeon fanciers and its ability to promote the sport in other centres. Chennai has eleven clubs and around 400 pigeon-racing enthusiasts. But if you factor in other pigeon sports that involve tumblers, tipplers and show pigeons, the city has around 4,000 pigeon fanciers, says K. Palaniapppan, president of the New Madras Racing Pigeon Association (NMRPA). To give a picture of how clearly Chennai is ahead of the other cities that boast a history of pigeon racing, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata have two clubs each and Pune has one. There are around 40 racing pigeon forums around Tamil Nadu and the sport is believed to thrive in Madurai, Tiruchi, Salem, Nagercoil, Coimbatore, Tuticorin, Dindigul, Ramnad, Kilakarai and Pamban partly because of the support and guidance from Chennai. Another senior member of the pigeon-racing fraternity, R.R. Prasad of Central Madras Homer Club says: From the days when we looked to guidance from Y.S. Chen and P.S. Lee, pigeon fanciers who made Kolkata synonymous with the sport, we have come a long way. In the 1980s, pigeons bred by these men were in a class by themselves. They were the first to do 1,000-km races. For their expertise and birds, Chen and Lee were much in demand. But in the last three decades, local patrons of the sport have made handsome contributions towards improving the breed qualities of pigeons and creating a situation of self-sufficiency.

All the key members of the clubs in Chennai are aware of, and also take pride in, the progress made since the 1970s, when two clubs Madras Homing Pigeon Association and North Madras Homing Pigeon Association introduced the sport to the city, but soon sputtered and stopped. In the 1980s, the sport revived as a result of initiatives taken by a handful of pigeon fanciers. They, in fact, went the extra mile to promote it. Importing breeds Pigeon fancier Boldry imported two breeds of racing pigeons from the United States, Strassert and Paulsion, followed by Jimmy Diaz who brought in Sodenberg racing pigeons from the United States. Logan pigeons came from Australia, thanks to efforts taken by Pat Casey, another pigeon fancier from Chennai. A Bangalore-based enthusiast Col. Smith imported Catrysse pigeons, which became popular in Madras, says Palaniappan. Continuing the good work, Noel Kannan brought five pairs of Silver Toye pigeons after a meeting with the man who cultivated the breed, Silver Toye from Belgium. R.R. Prasad and Rajasekharan are among others who have helped improve the quality of pigeons being raced in the city. Ever since a tight ban has been slapped on bird imports, local pigeon fanciers have relied solely on these birds, trying out a variety of combinations, such as breeding Catrysses with Paulsions, Cattrysses with Logans, Calcutta birds with Paulsions and so on. The ban on imports has helped unite the various city clubs into a cohesive unit. We go to one another for good birds. We exchange birds with and also buy them from fellow pigeon fanciers in the city, says Karate R. Easwaran, secretary of Tamilnad Homer Pigeon Racing Association. The South Indian Racing Pigeon Society which brings together pigeon racers from around South India for special events is an outward expression of this unity. Palaniappan says, Many factors contribute to this sense of fraternity. One of them is a need to combat the outrageous misconceptions about the sport. Because of its name, people associate it with other forms of racing where betting happens. We have even tried to change the name to long-distance pigeon sports to counter this notion. We conduct the races after obtaining no-objection certificates from the Forest Department, veterinarians and the Commissioner of Police, but still face problems while taking the pigeons to other States. For instance, we have encountered opposition often from forest officials in Andhra Pradesh and had explained what the sport is all about. Its frustrating when you are plagued by the same issues and keep clarifying the matter again and again. For this reason, the clubs organise their races at the same time this way, we can fight the ignorance together. Palaniappan hints at a mega event next year that would bring all the clubs together for a series of big races. It marks forty years of pigeon racing in Chennai, and it is made sweeter by the fact that the city is right there at the top. TIMELINE 1970s Two clubs Madras Homing Pigeon Association and North Madras Homing Pigeon Association kick-start the hobby-sport, but they run into rough weather. 1980s The sport is revived as a result of contributions by city-based pigeon-fanciers Boldry, Jimmy Diaz and Pat Cassey among them, they imported Paulsion, Stassert, Sodenberg and Logan, top-notch racing pigeons. 1990s The decade of consolidation. Building on the good work of the previous decade, a few pigeon-fanciers brought in eggs of excellent racing pigeons from other countries and had them incubated here. The number of clubs went up to five and there were around 150 pigeon-fanciers. Since 2000 The period of expansion. The clubs work more closely. Pigeon-fanciers exchange birds more freely than before. There are 11 pigeon-racing forums in Chennai they have had a hand in groups being formed in other cities around Tamil Nadu. Pheroz Kharegat discovers that 'kabutar-baazi,' once a leisurely hobby of the 'Nawabs,' is still being patronised by those who love its traditional charm but are also reinventing it with technology.

Pheroz Kharegat discovers that 'kabutar-baazi,' once a leisurely hobby of the 'Nawabs,' is still being patronised by those who love its traditional charm but are also reinventing it with technology.

Pigeon racing (kabutar bazi) did not end with the era of Maharajas and Nawabs and in keeping with the times has become a technologically advanced sport. Of the old veterans there are still a sizable number, mainly in old Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Hyderabad and other citadels of the Mughal era. For example Allauddin Mian ( name changed to protect identity) a prosperous mithai shop owner in Chandni Chowk is a classic example of the old traditions. Kabooter bazi was a sport of Nawabs, says Allaudin and adds, Not many people are doing it the old way anymore. Before independence, pigeon handling was the pastime of gentlemen. For men like Allaudin, a khalifa- or master - of the pigeon world, it still is. While there are thousands of pigeon handlers in old Delhi, there are only a few dozen khalifas, men who trained under earlier masters and for whom pigeon handling is a serious craft. To them, overt competition is crass. Allaudin has a

veritable pigeon empire, with perhaps a dozen coops scattered across the neighborhood. He has breeding coops and coops for sick birds. He has coops full of pigeons from India, Afghanistan, Iran and places he cant even name. He has workers to help care for them. On the other side of the spectrum, we have Dr Noel Kannan of Kottivakkam, Tamilnadu, who has returned after a stint as a dental surgeon in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and boasts of a whopping 50 birds in his loft. In 1992, Dr Kannan took time off from his practice and travelled across Europe. He went from country to country to pick the brains of famous pigeon breeders and in Belgium bought five pairs of the famous Silvere Toye racing pigeons worth Rs 1 lakh a pair and today he has dozens of these in his lofts. Today most of our metros have associations of racing pigeon enthusiasts and Chennai has the maximum number. There are now 300 to 500 pigeon handlers/racers at least five racing pigeon clubs in Chennai. An All India Racing Pigeons Federation has been formed to coordinate the activities of all the Indian pigeon clubs. Next comes Kolkata with its Kolkata Racing Pigeons Club which is the oldest in India. The third place goes to Bangalore where there are around 150 professional pigeon racers. The Coimbatore Racing Pigeon Association came into being last September and is already three races old. Pigeon racing is more of an endurance test. It involves transporting the birds from their lofts across the intended course of the race and then releasing them to see which one finds its way back to homestead the fastest. Before being released for the flight, each of the racing pigeons are tagged with a ring around their legs containing details of name, gender, age, address of the loft, and a certain identification number. The pigeon-racing season in India runs from January to April, before the acute summer heat sets in. Pigeon owners set out in vans or on trains, carrying medical certificates and police clearances and forestry permits, and their birds in flat steel cages.. Pigeons of a good bloodline can fly a 600-mile race in a day. If a racing bird is released at six am from Allahabad, it reaches its home in Kolkata by evening. So you can imagine the speed ( nearly 50 miles an hour) at which they fly with their sense of direction Once the pigeons return, observers on the rooftops match their colour, sex, number and identification band tied to their feet with the registration details to confirm the authenticity of the pigeons ownership. The pigeon, that clocks the fastest time to enter its own loft is declared the winner and its owner is presented with a trophy and a certificate. As the winning bird has to reach its loft first, some trainers fly female pigeons who are taking care of their young. The mothers desperate to return home, fly with increased effort. This is an exercise that may rankle animal lovers who have no stakes in pigeon racing but it goes on still. Some handlers separate males and females from their mates the day before, giving them an incentive to fly faster to be united with their loved ones. As the age of the bird also impacts its speed, races fall under two categories divided between old birds and new birds. There is also an open category in which birds of all ages can compete. To take care of a loft of 100 birds, one has to spend around Rs 2,000 every month, on feeding, providing medicinal help, vitamins and minerals, says Thamburaj, a pigeon breeder from Chennai His pigeons are fed mostly with mixtures of corn, ragi, maize and peas. It is estimated that out of 100 birds released from a 100 km away, a bird racer could lose as many as 40; as on an average, only one in 10 returns. The main danger to the racing pigeon comes from predators like eagles/vultures/falcons and international pigeon racing associations are trying to find out a solution. Today the greatest problem faced by pigeon race enthusiasts are the cell phone towers that have sprouted all over India, especially in metros. Experts believe that pigeons develop a keen sense of direction by following the position of the sun, stars and even the path of the earths magnetic field that draws or pulls them home from over hundreds of miles. With the radio signals of the the cell phone towers , all the pigeons go off track and many are lost. Source: Deccan Herland
Pigeon racing, once a passion with the high-flying Nizams of Hyderabad, seems to have taken wing again.

The birds were once used as messengers by the British old-timers say even in World War II but were almost forgotten until the contests revived interest in them.

The pigeon races now vie for a pride of place alongside Irani chai, Handi biryani, drum-beating other traditions associated with the Nizams that live to this day.

The Homer, Tumbler and Tugudi races are some of the pigeon contests. These are held mostly in the Old City, which used to be home to the Nizams, for four months from early spring to summer.

The Homer race is a competition in which the birds are left far away and have to return to base. The tumbler competition tests the endurance of the birds by getting them to fly long distances. Tugudi involves teams of pigeons and is like a relay race.

At the forefront of the efforts to revive the tradition is the Hyderabad Homer Pigeon Club, formed by a group of residents from the citys Santosh Nagar area.

Our membership is growing by the day with sports lovers who are fascinated by the pigeons ability to return home from faraway places, sometimes even after a year, said Hanifuddin, a young techie who is one of the members.

Homers are a breed of pigeons fit for racing when they are between eight months and five years old.

The rules of the game have not changed since the days of the Nizams. The birds are taken to points around 500km away but which are generally equidistant from the homes of the owners, called fanciers.

A chit with a secret code is tied to the claws of each bird. Once they are released into the air, the fanciers have to call the organisers and report the code. The bird that gets home first is declared the winner.

The condition for membership of our club is that they must be genuine pigeon lovers, says Abdul Samad, the vice-president.

Asked whether the race meant being cruel to the birds, Shaker Numan, the clubs president, said they were cared for like children.

There is no betting, nor are any awards given. The sport is practised only as a pastime among bird lovers, just like dog and horse-racing, or even rat racing in China, Numan, a doctor, said.

Some patrons like Hanifuddin couldnt resist talking about the feathers in their cap. Four of my birds topped the contests, flying home from 450km away, said the IT executive who monitored his pigeons by planting miniature trackers in their bodies.

But the sport is not limited to Hyderabad, with groups training pigeons for racing in other cities such as Bangalore, Chennai and Calcutta. I have participated in such a race in Bangalore, said businessman and club member Arif.

If Arif has raced his pigeons, Samad has been involved in grooming Homers for the past 15 years. He has 30 pigeons at his home in the Old City. His Homers include breeds such as Blue Checker, Blue Bar, Black Checker, Red Bar and others. I inherited the passion for birds from my uncle, who was a Nawab, he said.

Pigeon racing, once a passion with the high-flying Nizams of Hyderabad, seems to have taken wing again.

The birds were once used as messengers by the British old-timers say even in World War II but were almost forgotten until the contests revived interest in them.

The pigeon races now vie for a pride of place alongside Irani chai, Handi biryani, drum-beating other traditions associated with the Nizams that live to this day.

The Homer, Tumbler and Tugudi races are some of the pigeon contests. These are held mostly in the Old City, which used to be home to the Nizams, for four months from early spring to summer.

The Homer race is a competition in which the birds are left far away and have to return to base. The tumbler competition tests the endurance of the birds by getting them to fly long distances. Tugudi involves teams of pigeons and is like a relay race.

At the forefront of the efforts to revive the tradition is the Hyderabad Homer Pigeon Club, formed by a group of residents from the citys Santosh Nagar area.

Our membership is growing by the day with sports lovers who are fascinated by the pigeons ability to return home from faraway places, sometimes even after a year, said Hanifuddin, a young techie who is one of the members.

Homers are a breed of pigeons fit for racing when they are between eight months and five years old.

The rules of the game have not changed since the days of the Nizams. The birds are taken to points around 500km away but which are generally equidistant from the homes of the owners, called fanciers.

A chit with a secret code is tied to the claws of each bird. Once they are released into the air, the fanciers have to call the organisers and report the code. The bird that gets home first is declared the winner.

The condition for membership of our club is that they must be genuine pigeon lovers, says Abdul Samad, the vice-president.

Asked whether the race meant being cruel to the birds, Shaker Numan, the clubs president, said they were cared for like children.

There is no betting, nor are any awards given. The sport is practised only as a pastime among bird lovers, just like dog and horse-racing, or even rat racing in China, Numan, a doctor, said.

Some patrons like Hanifuddin couldnt resist talking about the feathers in their cap. Four of my birds topped the contests, flying home from 450km away, said the IT executive who monitored his pigeons by planting miniature trackers in their bodies.

But the sport is not limited to Hyderabad, with groups training pigeons for racing in other cities such as Bangalore, Chennai and Calcutta. I have participated in such a race in Bangalore, said businessman and club member Arif.

If Arif has raced his pigeons, Samad has been involved in grooming Homers for the past 15 years. He has 30 pigeons at his home in the Old City. His Homers include breeds such as Blue Checker, Blue Bar, Black Checker, Red Bar and others. I inherited the passion for birds from my uncle, who was a Nawab, he said.