I think I probably rescued more banded racing pigeons and rollers than anyone in the USA. I can usually persuade a banded bird to come to me faster than most other pigeons because they were born in captivity and have been cared for by humans. I think the number one reason the racing birds and rollers get separated from there flocks is because of hawks and falcons trying to attack a bird in their flock and they separate trying to save themselves and then they can't find the flock again and they are lost.
My white banded racing pigeon Baby Baby is sleeping on a pillow on my lap as I write this. I am not saying I am a spoiler or anything but you don't see a pigeon laying down and sleeping on a pillow on your lap everyday - Ha Ha Ha -
One day I was at McDonalds on PCH and there was a brown & white pigeon sitting on the top of this TV repair shop. I told this woman standing there I will bet you anything that is a banded racing bird up there. Then the woman starts walking to the bus stop about 40 feet away. A few seconds later before she gets to the bus stop I said see I told you and I was holding the bird to show her the band and it blew her away.
Then one day at the nursing home a block away from where I live where I feed the birds everyday there was a banded pigeon I spotted. I e-mailed my friend Bruce Caron who has aviaries and I ask him if I should rescue it and have him put it in his aviaries and he said yes. I walked up there and rescued another banded pigeon instead of the bird I went up there looking for and I was sitting back here with the bird at my computer within 17 minutes of the time I left. So later the same day I went back up there to try and find the banded pigeon I originally went up there to look for and I was back here sitting at the computer with the bird within 19 minutes from the time I walked out of here.
It's kind of funny really but then I think that is why god hand picked me for this journey. Both pigeons went to Bruce's aviaries to live out the rest of their lives in luxury and I hope they realize how good their life is going to be from this point on.
I didn't include this information about the banded racing and roller pigeons in the last story because it was such a happy story with a happy ending.
It took me a long time to learn a lot of the things that are really going on. I use to return every banded pigeon I rescued to the different racing and roller clubs.
My friend Terry Whatley is founder of - Village Pond Rescue And Rehabilitation - in South Orange County California and she has rehabilitated thousands of different kind of birds for 20 years including pigeons god bless her. She also is a computer programmer and she is the coordinator of http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/ - It is one of the biggest and best websites in the world on pigeons and forums to discuss problems with pigeons.
editor's note: here is another good website about pigeons:
Since Terry has such computer knowledge she use to track down the owners of the banded birds I rescued from information on there bands so they could be returned to there owners. Some bands on the birds actually have the owners name and phone number. Some have electronic bands that you scan like a micro chip that have various information on them. Some bands just have the clubs name and the birds I.D. number and the year the bird was born. I had heard at different times that some of the clubs get the birds back and they snap the bird's neck. When I tried questioning anyone of authority they usually denied it. Then one day I was talking to someone I deal with for products and that is the reason I should not mention his name. But he has been in one of the biggest racing clubs for probably 40 years. So I came out and ask him one day if they snap the birds neck and he said no we don't snap the birds neck. But after talking to him about 10 minutes he accidently slipped and said we twist the birds neck. I kind of understand their reasoning but I don't like it at all.
I think when the racing clubs no longer want the birds for whatever reasons there should be some other options rather than simply twist the birds neck and kill it. Now don't get me wrong as the clubs do find homes for a small percentage of the birds. But I do think the majority of the birds no longer wanted by the clubs do get there necks twisted because it is fast and easy and convenient for them. I will list the different reasons I am aware of that the clubs do this to the birds.
# 1 - the birds are homing pigeons and will keep coming back to the flock if they are released when they are no longer wanted.
# 2 - because the birds got separated from there flock and mingled with pigeons on the street the clubs are afraid of diseases the birds could bring back to the other birds. They could be quarantined for the appropriate amount of time but a lot of clubs simply won't take the time to do it.
# 3 - The club is not satisfied with the birds performance
# 4 - the clubs don't want other people using the birds bloodline - here is one example - I rescued a racing pigeon being trained for the world cup race. It was worth thousands I was told because of the bloodline just like horses in racing.
# 5 - the clubs justify in there own minds twisting the birds necks and killing them. They say oh the poor bird just couldn't make it out there on its own after being fed only the best of diets etc. And really we are only doing this in the birds best interest.