[CT Birds] racing pigeons

Milan Bull mbull at ctaudubon.org
Wed Sep 10 09:00:20 EDT 2014

Hi Dave:

The bird you found is undoubtedly a racing pigeon that ran out of gas. We get a number of calls from folks who wake up with a pigeon with two bands walking around their yard.

Surprisingly, there are a number of pigeon clubs in CT and the northeast that race their birds in the fall.  The silver band will have the AU letters stamped on it, designating the bird is part of the American Union of pigeon clubs, the other leg usually has a colored band indicating the specific club and bird.

It is a fairly sophisticated organization.  Some of the breeding racers are worth big bucks.  Like horses, the contest winners don't race again, but are sold as breeding stock.

Generally, a truck picks up the racers from all participating clubs of a Friday night, then drives to a specific location (in Ohio) and at a given time on early Saturday morning, drops the panel, and all the birds are released at once.

The various clubs hold a picnic at their roost sites and wait for the birds to return.  The first bird back that enters the roost wins.  Many of the birds are equipped with a chip that clicks off a timer when the bird enters the roost.

A fair amount of money is wagered on these birds, and when the first bird back sits outside the roost instead of going in, it creates angst and pandemonium with the owners!

In some cases the birds get lost, run out of energy, and look for people and food.  This is probably what you found.

We used to try and track the owner, and it is possible with the ID band, but we found that the owners were not interested in any birds that were not "contenders" !!!

Not much you can do.  If you feed and water the bird it may determine that you are the new  roost so you get a pal that won't leave.

This is probably more information than you ever wanted, but hope it helps!



More information about the CTBirds mailing list