All About Racing Pigeons
You must be wondering about how pigeons are raced. For those who are unaware of it, there are actually a lot of bird enthusiasts who are also aficionados of the sport. Racing pigeon is the sport genre that includes the flying of especially trained group of pigeons known as the "Racing Homer".
The training of these pigeons includes letting them fly between 100 up to 1000 km. When these birds are released to fly, the judges have to measure the bird's travel rate to cover the measured distance. The winning bird is the one that returns with the highest speed.
The History of Pigeon Racing
This racing sport instigated in Belgium in the middle of 19th century. The racing pigeons are considered to be the oldest among the domesticated birds. Their predecessors were the ones that were once bred due to their homing ability and capability to carry messages. You may have heard of the so called "Pigeon Posts" which were of course established across the globe mainly for military purposes. Some are still in service today though.
A Quick Look at Pigeon Racing
In this sport race, there is a single starting gate where the birds bred specifically for this are to start off. However, there are about a thousand finish lines. Simply put, the competing birds are then taken out of their lofts. The point is they must race home. The travel rate and the distance are put on record and the fastest to be able to race home is declared as the winner. In fact, racing pigeons in the United States has been recorded to have covered up to 1,800 km.
The pigeons start to race from 6 months up to ten years old. However, this may be rare. The common competitors usually cover up to three years of their racing career.
Henceforth, to be able to compete in the race, the bird must wear the uniquely numbered and permanent band or ring that it must wear from day 5 of its age. The racing pigeons are taken away from their comfort zones and into the racing organization's clubhouse or area. GPS is used to measure the distance between the race point and the bird's home.
Two Conventional Methods of Time Keeping
The traditional way of time keeping for pigeon racing makes use of the rubber rings that include the unique serial numbers and the especially designed pigeon racing clock. The ring is worn on the bird's leg. The serial number is hence recorded, then, the clock is set before it is sealed. The bird carries it home. As the bird returns to its home, the trainer takes off the ring and then places it into the clock slot. That is the time that is then recorded.
The electronic timing method consists of an automatic recording of the bird's arrival in its home. That includes the tiny RFID chip band in the bird's leg that can be read as it reaches home. The clock is affixed to some antennas and the serial number and time of arrival are also recorded.