On the night of May 22, 2012 I turned on the floodlight in the backyard to see about storm damage. What I found was a pigeon on the tall fence instead. He was soaked and exhausted looking. He allowed me to get close enough to capture and I brought him in and borrowed the dog’s crate for a makeshift cage. I figured I’d allow him to dry out and then let him go the next day.
He had a band on his leg. A google search with the alphanumeric ID resulted in an owner located several hundred miles away. Turns out this pigeon had been in a 600 mile race and had gotten off course from the inclement weather.
And thus began my venture into the world of homing pigeons.
I never heard back from the owner so the next day I sat the crate, door ajar, on the back porch in the sunlight and waited. He had eaten seed and drank water. He seemed okay. I watched as he flew west and disappeared across the Ohio river.
I continued to learn more and became fascinated with these birds. That autumn I found one for sale at a local trade days fair and that’s where I met Gina and John Bender. John, a pigeon expert of 50 years. He holds titles in state and world competitions for racing and roller pigeons. He’s even written a book about his experiences which you can buy from Amazon here.
He explained the pigeon I bought was called a Blue Barless – no bars on its wings. Later, he gifted me with a light black grizzle – the white with black tipped feathers. They were a joy to have around.