Reports by Joe Murphy
Received a letter from John McLellan from Cornwell who writes: ‘Dear Joe I have a small 12 x 8 loft and because of neighbours etc. I race 12 cock birds. I have raced pigeons for 40 years and won my share with a small team. In the last 2 years my cocks have returned well each night from training (bang on time). 2 years ago when they were sent to the 1st race 80 miles, I did not clock and have never seen them since? This year the same has happened at the 1st race. WHY? They are never raced as youngster but this has NEVER been a problem before. My stock has won the Cornish Combine on my occasions so what is happening? Like I’ve said, at home they fly for 40 to 60 minutes and return well from training (20 miles) all week but never when raced. Hope you can help me out - yours John.’
I replied: 'It could be that the birds panic when in with so many other birds in such a large convoy and once liberated just follow the others and are lost. It could also be because the birds have not had a drink and are dehydrated and become disoriented. I have been discussing this with other fanciers as the young bird losses this year are horrendous, not just up here but everywhere in the UK. There could be many reasons for this with the first being ‘young bird sickness’, as many people have it and do not let on and continue to send their birds to the races and this disease spreads in the baskets. I would say that the biggest problem with young bird losses is HEALTH PROBLEMS. I have even known of fanciers who have vaccinated their birds for paramyxovirus and sent them to the race the same week and we wonder why we have losses. Far too many fanciers have a ‘don’t care attitude’ and are not as professional or observant as they should be and it is their management which lets the pigeons down. Many youngsters are not properly basket trained and do not know how to drink or eat in a basket. The majority of youngsters are caught, put in a basket then in the car, taken away and liberated together to fly home. They are never trained single or taught to come home on their own and the majority just follow the tail in front of them and once lost then that is it as they do not have the brains to make it back home. It is worse when they go to the first race as many will have never spent a night in a basket let alone a transporter and when you add that they do not know how to find water it is a major problem. When liberated they are up with hundreds if not thousands of pigeons for the first time and they panic. Many years ago my federation used to have training tosses with the transporter and in the early races we liberated the birds in 3 sections to try to help them get used to this environment. A couple of years ago the convoyer/driver wanted to try this and he was giving up his time free etc. Do you know, he could not get enough names of people to go with him as they were not interested and it was costing them NOTHING so what chance have you got? I’m not sure, is the problem is worse this year due to the Olympics being held in London as there is more TV networks set up and communications masts with signals being passed around the world? When you hear that 330 billion people are watching the Olympics throughout the world it makes you WONDER if it is doing something to our birds’ navigations skills. Needless to say our weather plays a major part in any race as does the wind and I think everyone will agree this has been the wettest summer we have had for years. There is the K Factor, which some people believe in while others think it is a load of bull (sorry I did not put it in this week I was so busy that I forgot all about it). One thing that is for certain, we have experienced these heavy losses of youngsters for more years than I care to remember and have we done anything about it? NO, we just carry on regardless. I have said it many many times, if people took their dogs to Crufts and had the losses we experience now how m,any would go back the following year? NONE. Yet we continue year after year and at some point people will realize and wake up and say ‘enough is enough’ but just now pigeon fanciers just carry on accepting these losses year after year. It is the craziest thing you can imagine and we are prepared to accept this by breeding double the amount of youngsters so that we are left with half of them for the following year. Why oh why spend money on stock pigeons and then throw their babies away in a race basket without properly training them? I for one cannot understand this!!! The writing is on the wall and we need to waken up and smell the coffee.'
Barcelona Challenge Loft
Received an email from Colin Grieve of Greengairs who wrote: ‘Hi Joe, having just read your article on birds bred at the Barcelona Challenge lofts I thought you may be interested that I have some information on a blue cock FR 08 530244. Tand his cock has bred 3rd open Bovington 5000+ birds in the SNFC this same pigeon also topped East of Scotland Fed on another occasion. Plus this year I was 2nd west section SNFC Maidstone with another of his children so he was well worth the £30 (I think) I paid for him. His breeding is Crammond & Langstaff on one side with Sid Barkel on the other. I have bought a few birds from the Barcelona lofts over the years and would not hesitate to do so again. Just thought you would be interested in this information, also well done on your own birds’ performances in the France Loft. All the best - Colin Grieve, Greengairs.’ I have also received a few phone calls on my birds’ performances in the Barcelona Challenge loft especially from the Narbonne race. One lad said: ‘To send 6 babies over and to have the 6 of them fly 504 miles and all be in the loft for next year to go to Barcelona is a fantastic achievement, well done.’ This fancier is as straight as they come and I was well pleased with his remarks as I know he meant every word.
Scottish Pigeon Fancier of the Year - 2012
The winner of the Joe Murphy / BHW Sporting Challenge award for this year is John Bosworth of Elphinstone. His positions are as follows:
Ypres - 1707 birds. 2nd open. Co-efficient 0.11.
Alencon - 1204 birds. 11th open. Co-efficient 0.91.
Niort - 226 birds. 5th open. Co-efficient 2.21.
Clermont - 1622 birds. 80th open. Co-efficient 0.49.
Total birdage 3675 birds. Total Co-efficient 3.72.
John was the only fancier in the whole of Scotland to be on every channel result in 2012 and is a worthy winner of our award. I have written to him and he has phoned me back to say that he is delighted to accept the award and will be attending the Sporting Challenge annual presentation in the Hillcroft Hotel in Whitburn on Friday 2nd November 2012 starting at 19.00. John is going to confirm nearer the time if he is bringing some friends to the evening and confirmed the prices of tickets are £20.00 per person. Well done once again on winning this prestigious award and I look forward to meeting up with you at the presentation. I have included a photo of John taken many years ago at the SNFC presentation.
John Bosworth (left) and Isiah Stewart
Quality charity Late Bred Sale
Received a phone call from Davy Young of Uddingston who along with his good friend Jim Cullen is going to hold a charity late bred sale in aid of St Andrews Hospice (Airdrie) and the Lanarkshire Kidney Patients Association Monklands Hospital Ward 1. Both these charities are fully self-funding and rely entirely on donations hence 100% proceeds from this sale will go directly to the above two charities. The late bred sale is to be held in Uddingston pigeon club on Sunday 2nd September 2012 with viewing 18-00 hours and the sale starts at 19-30 with the auctioneer being David McCaig. This is no ordinary sale as some of Scotland’s top fanciers have kindly donated from their very best winning bloodlines (i.e. young birds direct from National winners and federation winners). If you wish more information then please contact Davy Young on 07939590167 or Jim Cullen on 07949263703. I hope the sale is a success as these two lads have worked very hard for these charities and knowing the pigeon fraternity as I do they will support this worthy cause.
Dear Joe, I am very pleased to announce that "The Pigeoneers" UK Film Premiere will be at the Enigma Cinema, Bletchley Park Museum in September 2012. Details for the UK Premiere will follow shortly. "There’s no doubting that The Pigeoneers, Alessandro Crosier’s documentary about the use of pigeons by the military, is a labor of love..... It seems downright unpatriotic not to celebrate the accomplishments of these birds who served valiantly and who were rewarded with such honors as the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Medal......” By Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, June 11, 2012. The Pigeoneers DVD Release date will be October 11, 2012. To pre-order The Pigeoneers now on DVD, please visit our online store. Free Shipping on all pre-orders USA only (International Pre-Orders take $9.00 off shipping costs). For more details, please visit our online store: http://store.pigeonsincombat.com Hope all is very well with you and yours Best regards Al Croseri Director, Producer, Screenwriter Alessandro Croseri Productions 301 East 21st Street New York, NY 10010 212 677 6833. www.pigeonsincombat.com
Blast from the Past
This week’s photo is of the late great Jock Traill of Thornton in Fife who was hailed as one of the best 600 miler fanciers in his time. The reason I have put Jock’s photograph in was I received a phone call from George Chalkley of London who is a race controller for the north road fliers. While at the club on Sunday past they had been speaking about good Scottish fanciers and George mentioned Jock Traill and to his amazement no one had heard of him. He won 1st open SNFC Niort 690 miles in 1996 with SPARK (named after the initials of his family. His daughter Senga was the instigator of this name as it was her password for her computer).
The late great Jock Traill of Thronton
The following year Jock won 1st open SNFC Nantes 620 miles with Nancy (named after his wife) then some lowlife broke into his loft and killed all the pigeons (including his winners) and the only birds he had left were at the federation race. Obviously he was distraught but the great thing about this was of the pigeons who returned from the race one, a blue hen, went on to be 2nd open SNFC Nantes and he named her Survivor. Jock was well respected by all fanciers for his outstanding achievements especially at the longer distance events. So George you can now show your club mates this as proof that Jock Traill was a top pigeon man.
Angus Federation Arbroath club had 3 members sending 102 birds to Ridsdale with Charlie Cameron taking the first 3 places in the club; his winner was bred from a Malfait cock who was 20th open SNFC Clermont this year when mated to a daughter of Snowcap winner of 4th open SNFC Reims. The 2nd bird was bred from a Len Downie cock bred from a son of Len's ‘Pencil Cock’ mated to a Malfait hen. 3rd bird’s sire is a son of Snowcap mated to a black hen Serendipity who has 5 SNFC positions including 6th Ypres; 13th Reims and 15th Eastbourne to her credit.
Fife Federation news from Alex Wight who informs us that the federation 1825 birds were liberated at 13-20pm at Witton Castle on 11th August topping the federation and center section is Glenrothes & Leslie member Brian Kinnear (see photograph) on a velocity of 1284. Second are club mates Turpie & McCord in 2nd 4th 5th & 6th section with M McMurchie in 3rd & 8th place. Novar Jocky King is 7th & 9th with Maxwell & Bethune of Glenrothes & Leslie club in 10th place the birdage for the Section was as follows Glenrothes & Leslie 171; Novar 147 and Perth 43 birds. East Section is won by Brian Chalmers of Kennoway who took the first 5 positions; Jim & Gary Peggie of Methilhaven are 6th with Dave Brown of Leven in 7th 8th & 9th positions. J Honeyman of Kennoway makes up the top ten places; birdage from the section was as follows Andrews 69, Leven 178, Methilhaven 130, Kennoway 148 and Tayport 18 birds. The west section is won by J Thomson of Lochgelly with G Morrison of the same club in 2nd 4th & 7th section places; club mate A Graham is 3rd with another Lochgelly member Ian Hopkins in 5th place. Jock Hynd & son Ian from Crossgates are 6th 8th & 10th section and Dom Gallagher of Lochgelly makes up the top ten places by winning 9th position. The birdage for the west section was as follows; Lochgelly 197, Dunfermline 91, Valleyfield 20 and Crossgates 279 birds. Other club winners are D Jack from Tayport; St Andrews won by Dave Baldie & son; Perth won by McCord & Turpie Valleyfield won by R Graham and Dunfermline won by Frank Mitchell my thanks to Alex for the result.
Brian Kinnear of Pitlessie
Dunfermline had 8 members sent 91 birds to Witton Castle first birds over the pad was to Frank Mitchell and he done it in style by taking the first three places his winner on a velocity of 1100.7 it is from his family of the late Jock Trail from Thornton down from his 1st open SNFC Niort winner his second pigeon scored from last week’s race and was from club mate Wattie Sharp bred this one from his Frank Sheeder bloodlines velocity of 1100.4 Franks 3rd pigeon is the same breeding as the winner and was doing a velocity 1100 you will see Joe that these birds were slit by decimals well done Frank. Alex McInnes wins the nomination with Eric Reid winning the 2 bird yours in sport Walker’.
Glenrothes & Leslie news from Maxie who informs us that 9 members sent 171 birds to the 3rd race taking 1st position this week for the 3rd race in a row and also topping the federation is Brian Kinnear with a blue chequer hen on darkness starting to look at a young cock. Sire is a son off Stichy when paired to a daughter of Tom & Scott McEwen Petite Rose. Dam is a bird received from John Harcus of St Andrews that won 1st club Ripon and 1st club 55th open SNFC Eastbourne as a yearling. 2nd place is won by Turpie & McCord with a blue chequer hen on darkness sire being a son of the Belgian cock crossed with a Braspenning hen that won 9th open Ypres. The dam is from a Braspenning hen crossed with N Black & sons of Drumore. 3rd place goes to Mick McMurchie with a dark chequer hen sent to her 1st race. That is it for this week Joe yours in sport Maxie.
Pentland Hills federation
The New Lothian RPC with the Pentland Hills Federation held their fourth young bird race from Thirsk, on August 18th, a distance of 130 to 140 miles for the 60 members who sent 1863 birds. Winning 1st New Lothian & 1st Federation is Alastair Lawson who resides in Gorebridge and baskets with the Edinburgh Central club. He timed a natural youngster flying to the perch, of Kipp crossed Casaert breeding bred by former Gorebridge fancier Paul Morrison who now flies in Bo’ness. Heavy losses have been reported by some fanciers, but as usual there is also good returns reported as well. Alastair was also 7th placed in the race. 2nd Willie Kinnear & son Barry of Danderhall lifting the bulk of the pools; 3rd are W Pryde & son of Woodburn with I & I Hunter of Danderhall in 4th place followed by Jimmy Pryde of Woodburn in 5th place he is followed by club mates P Forbes & son in 6th place. Nolan & Farwell of Danderhall take the next 4 places Traprain H S, racing with the Pentland hills fed from Thirsk a distance of approximately 135 miles for most fanciers. The birds were liberated at 13-15 pm in a west south west wind. Taking 1st club on a velocity of 1329 is J Mark from Tranent with a blue hen bred from Eijerkamp X Hambrecht lines. When asked if the bird was flying to the perch I was told "quote No it was racing to Jimmy!! Unquote” 2nd club was J & G Whitson from Pencaitland on a 1318 velocity with a blue cock which was purchased at Traprain annual Y B sale. Bred by club mate G Hunter the cock was racing to the perch 3rd club was Karen Newcombe Macmerry on a 1305 velocity with a blue hen racing to the perch bred from Raymond Moleveld’s crossed Dirk Seper lines Returns were about half for most members when we read the clocks at 6.30pm cheers Karen.
Glasgow Police are hunting the ‘Knitting needle thug’ who has stabbed 6 people in the last 48 hours, believing the attacker may be following some kind of pattern.
Please continue to keep the news flowing; to Joe Murphy Mystical Rose Cottage 2 Flutorum Avenue Thornton by Kirkcaldy KY1 4BD or phone 01592 770331 or to my NEW EMAIL ADDRESS at: firstname.lastname@example.org REMEMBER THE J IN THE MIDDLE or log onto www.elimarpigeons.com www.Pigeonportal.com www.fancierchat.com or www.racingpigeonsuk.com who wish my weekly contribution portfolio on pigeon topics from Scotland.
© Compiled by Joe Murphy