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L J Parkinson 20-03-18

Parkinson. LJ 


I had an email from a past fancier who obviously still has a lot of interest in pigeon racing, “Hi Les. My spirits were lifted when I just read about you having taken delivery of a kit of pigeons, then sank just as quickly again as I further read the original buyer took them. When you have pigeons in your blood it must be hard to work, as you do, involved so deeply daily with the website and NWCC and have nothing flying for your own enjoyment? I think I have mentioned in the past that I am an ex-fancier (now 60) and would like a few race birds to maybe keep an interest. You mentioned OLR, they are, as I see it, a potential future for many, being well organised with good prizes for the lucky ones and where the birds feeding/training needs are catered for.  With that in mind I recently twice contacted a very highly regarded and nationally famous owner of a stud of well-regarded Vandenabeele pigeons with a view to purchasing a youngster or two for one loft racing. I didn't even get the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let alone a reply, which saddened me a little. Then, while walking my springer spaniel in local woodland before Christmas, I came across a brightly coloured race ring lying in the mud, glistening like brand new I picked it up and reported it. The fancier who owned the ring contacted me to thank me for reporting it and, when he found out I was an ex fancier, he told me to keep his number and if I ever wanted to start again with pigeons to contact him and he would breed me some for free! He has a well-known family of winning birds, apparently, but he too lifted my spirits and gave me back a little faith in pigeon fanciers as a whole. They are not all about money, thank goodness. I would never expect anything for free, but it was an extremely kind and thoughtful offer. Where I live at the moment is not ideal for keeping pigeons, but I may have some to have a go at one loft races if I move to somewhere I can keep some again in the future. Go for it, Les, get a few breeders and get involved again via OLR? You know you would enjoy it and life if too short not to enjoy. Regards. Keith”


Well Keith things have changed because the saga continues, the young birds that we ended up with were supposed to go, which I mentioned in my last notes, and after two days of promises they were not collected so are still here and now staying, plus they are now too old to move and get flying out anyway, so are better staying here. It was odd how it happened really because we were talking in the office and Elizabeth came in and listened to what we had to say, and she said keep them here then so that was my que to keep them, didn't need telling twice. They are not in the best of places because they have no aviary, but they are here, so we shall make the best of them, another job to keep me busy. Knowing they are now staying I am looking forward to watching them grow and to see how many make up to how I like to see them in the stock loft, if they don't then they will not last. I am often asked what I look for in a stock bird, that is OK if they are from the pigeons that you have been racing and breeding from for a period of time and well established in your loft. You get to know the characteristics of a family and therefore are always looking for those things that stand out and attracted you to the pigeon in the first place, but a new line that you have not had experience with is different. What can prove a strong point in one family might be an insignificant pointer in another family, it is a fact that different families or lines have different qualities when you are handling them. Some fanciers, like myself prefer to see the tail go down slightly when handling them, while others which has been said to me don't like it when they have the tail going down when handling. Personally, I have not had a pigeon that I have clocked from over 600mls whose tail has not gone down slightly and we have clocked a few, not sent big numbers but what I have sent have not done bad. A good strong back is what I like to see solely because I am looking at the distance events and when I was selecting pigeons for the likes of Tarbes that’s the first thing I looked for. That does not necessarily apply to pigeons to cover all distances because the vast majority of sprint to middle distance birds I have handled have a straight line when they are in the hand. To me it is all down to preference of what we want in our loft's, plus the fact that the owner has to know how to work them for the distance that they have in mind. It wouldn’t do for us all to be looking at the same distances. Keith believe me when I say there are many very good fanciers about who give other fanciers and new starters pigeons, even those who market what they have. They don’t all just take from the sport there are many who also give, we have a good sport but there are always going to be a few who keep what they have and that will happen in all walks of life. 


Well my young birds are down to 11 after 7 left the loft, 6 being to a fancier who called about another matter and I was showing him what they were like. It ended up with him taking 6 all from the same place and he is going to race them for me, 18 was too many in that area anyway, the other, well he was just one of those statistics in a pigeon loft. I am really pleased with the way they are making up and it will be interesting as the weeks go by seeing them grow. One thing us for certain, a small team like these will be easy to look after and keep an eye on in case anything goes wrong. I have already got my eye on 4 that look sharp and a bit better than the others but as we all know things can soon change with young birds, through their growth they can change from one month to the next. I am now in the stage of basketing them and taking a good look at them to see what they were like, I have never gone to this length before with the young birds. I set a plan out to asses them and put the details in a sealed envelope, then do the same thing a few days later and then again, a few days after that. I then left those notes for a few days before looking at them and then after reading the notes I went through them see if I varied my opinion of them from one inspection to the next and if so what that is. If I had a normal racing team and stock birds I would not have time to do such things but as it is I have time on my hands, so it will be a test of how I see them as they mature, and will my opinion change over a few weeks of looking at them. I must admit that I have already done the one thing we shouldn’t do and that is pick one out from the start, if this had been in the racing loft this would have been the first to decide to leave home. What has been standing out is the number of down feathers blowing about, I never had so many when I was racing and had a full young bird team. They always say that down feathers are a sign of the birds are in good condition and when handling they are. I suppose this could be down to the smaller area that they are in and of course there are no doors opening to let them out for exercise and the down feathers blowing out into the garden at the same time. Still no matter what, it is a sign that the birds are in the right condition which is always a good sign. The droppings are also continuing to look good, they are sound and healthy looking. I wonder how much the cold weather has had to do with it. If the weather was wet and damp they could be looking different, but at the time of writing it isn’t so we will see how the next few weeks go.


Had a great conversation with Brian Walsh about pigeon racing from the 50's onwards, some was before my time of racing, but I did hear bits and pieces about what was going on via Mush Walton and his father who I spent a lot of time at their lofts. Brian called about a completely different matter but conversation escalated when Les Kilshaw was mentioned and I said he was a real nice man who I had visited in the early 80's. Brian then went on to tell me that he spent a great deal of time with Les and a couple of the stories that occurred between them. Anyway, as we were just about finishing the conversation I said to Brian that it was a pity I did not have a tape going to record it all because others would have enjoyed hearing such things as I did on this occasion. Brian did finish by saying that he will probably get back to me on that and we can sort something out, we need to Brian, who does have a good memory. These are the type of stories that can make reading your weekly paper interesting, there are some real good stories out there, but the problem is getting the information out of fanciers. There are some shy fanciers out there and they may be in your own club, fanciers who have good stories to tell. We have all experienced something happening in the sport that others will enjoy reading about, as in many cases getting that information is not easy. 


This weekend sees the start of the Charity sale for Terry Sails with all funds raised going to the local Hospital. There are a good selection of pigeons for sale and they start on line via on Sunday 25th March 2018. As with all such charity sales on Elimar 100% on the sale price will go to the charity. Terry also thanks Walkers Transport for their kindness in transporting the pigeons FOC for this sale. Also, a big thank you to all the people donating and also buying the pigeons without whom the sale would not continue and the BHW for the advertising. This is yet another occasion when the pigeon fraternity are showing how generous they are when it comes to charitable events.

Les J Parkinson. 11 Rushton Drive, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 0NJ.

Tel: 01606836036 Mobile 07871701585.

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