Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't let the pigeon lose the race

So, I'm noodling around with an idea for my next book. While I have absolutely no story (heh), I know it revolves around pigeon racing.

Here's what I know about pigeon racing:


So when I learned that the national convention of the American Pigeon Racing Union was being held nearby, well, dang, how could I NOT go, right?

AND - there was going to be a Junior race (for kids who race pigeons). Oh, yeah!

It was totally fascinating.

I talked to lots of kids about raising and training their pigeons.

For this race, the pigeons flew 217 miles!!! From Ilion, NY to Somerset, MA.

Five hours straight.

Isn't that amazing??

And they find their way back to their loft!!??

Here is the loft:

These are breeders (as opposed to racers):

A fancy schmancy fantail pigeon:

Here they come!! This part was SO exciting!! They literally made a huge shadow over the ground and circled around and around in a big flock - having just flown FIVE HOURS and 217 miles:

Swooping down to the loft:

Landing on the loft. (They just flew in from New York and, boy, are their wings tired.)

A couple of stragglers:

When they enter the loft, they walk over a pad that scans their band and sends their time to a computer.

The kids I talked to were awesome. They told me about building their lofts out of scrap wood from the dump...and which pigeons were their favorites....and how sometimes they lose them, etc. etc.

Okay, now all I need is a story.


Sara said...

You've got me hooked, Barbara! I'm pretty sure a story will come swooping around looking for YOU soon.

Anonymous said...

So interesting.
I think Sara is right!

Anonymous said...

My uncle Stooge raced pigeons, which lived in a coop over his parents' garage. I remember waking up to the comforting sounds of their cooing. On Sundays we ate the losers.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, it was really nice reading about what you saw and felt watching the birds come home and talking to the children that bred tham and love them and had traveled many miles themselves to watch them compete in this very special national race sponsored by the American Racing Pigeon Union. As a pigeon sport enthusiast myself, it makes me great to have someone who is not part of the sport see, understand and enjoy what this sport of nature gives to us and our families. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to search us out, and share our sport with children and the world.

TamraW said...

That is so cooooool!!!

And unique!

John F. said...

It was a great day for all the kids, and i'm glad you had a fun time i know it was fun hosting it................

Anonymous said...

lmaoo johnny boy your wicked cute.

john is my dad and he's inlove with birds. everytime i go over he's either in the backyard with his bamboo stick teaching the pigeons, or somewhere in the coop, or in the garage with the other birds. my mom, my sisters,my friends and i always joke around with him about it. my friend texted me last night and said, "jess is your dad giving out birds for Halloween because i see birds everywhere" hahaha its so funny. but he loves it and it's very interesting.

LOVE YOU xoxox beesha

Barbara O'Connor said...

John and Beesha: Thanks for stopping by! I had a fantastic time at the race. It was such fun and everyone was so nice and helpful.

Anonymous said...

Nice blogg

Anonymous said...

What is amazing is there is atleast 20+ Birds in that Group comming in and even though they all arrived at the same time it is the First to step on that pad and get clocked that wins! That looks like 20+ First Place birds to me!