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Joe Murphy Column 13-09-19

The Joe Murphy Column


Received an email from Philip Cooper who wrote, ‘Hello Joe l have been reading your article about you and Kevin’s and other people's young bird losses. Don't know if you have seen ‘birds, wildlife and fish in nature’ and what they do to evade a predator They cluster together into large groups or flocks and try to confuse whatever is attacking them by staying safe in numbers. Do you think it could be that if a bird of prey attacks these young pigeons that they clutch into a group of large numbers and would fly in whatever direction needed to escape the hunter and would then become lost. Hence the large numbers resulting in today's problems, just a thought Joe yours in the sport of pigeon racing Philip Cooper’. I think Philip is right and this is one of the main reasons we are seeing so many youngsters failing to return home not only from racing but from training tosses as well, my thanks to Philip for his email.


A New Alternative

I received a phone call from my mate Derek Hay who was on the national management committee with me a few years ago. Derek read in my column about Kevin and my young bird losses and he wanted to sympathise with us as he had had this in the past and knows how we are hurting. Derek said ‘Joe young bird racing is getting harder and the pigeon fraternity are NOT prepared to do anything about it. I have been thinking of how we can change the disastrous young bird racing we have experienced in recent years and I'm sure this idea would help not just you and Kevin but other pigeon fanciers. We should race our young birds 6 races (3 x 60 miles, 3 x 100 miles).  However hear is the crunch!!!! These races could be held from the end of September to the 1st or 2nd week in November.

This may sound a bit radical but here are Derek’s reasons for these assumptions. No 1; you wouldn't need to darken your young birds at the early part of the year they can be treated as natural. These young birds would have almost completed the moult in time for the start of the above racing dates. No 2; There would be No Stress, NO young bird sickness to worry about during the season - because these viruses are usually all finished by the start of August. No 3; Global warming has changed the seasons and in the last 3 years we have had fantastic weather in the months of October and November, and No 4; Hawk attacks are almost unheard of in these months. Joe I cannot see a downside to this idea and I think it is worth a try. You will get fanciers saying the season is long enough or I we go on holiday at this time.

I'm trying to sort out a serious problem within our pigeon sport and the more fanciers THINK about change and these horrendous young bird losses the better. We need to do something or more and more people will give up keeping racing pigeons. I would love to hear the opinions of other fanciers who read my views in your column. Wishing you and Kevin all the best for the future yours Derek’.        

While continuing in the same element I received an email from my dear friend Rob Glover who wrote, ‘Hi Joe, I’m sorry to hear of you and Kevin’s young bird losses, I hope some more turn up, but it seems to be happening everywhere nowadays. I've managed to have my worst year ever, and I don't know why, I know that we all have a bad year sometime down the line. The federation I'm in has only managed 1 Saturday race with the youngster’s; we have had 1 on Friday and 2 on Sundays and 1 weekend they bought them back to the clubs. Last weekend (Saturday) 3 members had decent returns when doing the clocks, but the other 10 had moderate to poor returns, I had 8 missing on the night from 32, had 1 back late Sunday, 1 yesterday and your red cock today.

As I was not racing until Sunday this weekend I took the youngsters for roughly a 20 mile training toss yesterday (Friday) and I wish I hadn't bothered, I've still got 2 missing, I had 2 return yesterday badly cut up on the wires, and another today and again badly damaged on the wires. I'm hoping that the damage will not be permanent, as the 3 that as hit the wires are cracking young cocks, but 2 have slight knocks on 1 wing, which is not a good sign. Keep up the good work in your column and I’ll speak to you soon yours Rob’.


Race Results


 Angus Federation

Kenny Droog writes; the result of the Ripon race flown on 29th August had the convoy of 189 birds liberated at 08:00 hours. David Liddle had a great race with 3 hens arriving together and one of them trapped quickly to win the race by one second! The winner is bred from his own family and the dam is an 11 year old daughter of David`s Maidstone combine winner from 2005. She has been flirting with a young cock and who was also his 1st bird timed from Tow Law. The 2nd pigeon wins 3rd fed is also from his own family and missed the Tow Law race as she had just laid an egg. Her mate was lost at Tow Law and she was flirting with another cock before the Ripon race but is now sitting in a bowl with another hen so we will see where that goes. The 3rd pigeon wins 4th fed and is bred from a son of Gilmour Brothers of Leven’s famous ‘Robbie’s Boy’ winner of 1st open SNFC Falaise. This son has bred several good birds since he was gifted to David by Ian Gilmour. He is also 11 years old but there’s still life in the old devil. David Glen had a super race and wins 2nd, 5th and then had 5 together to win 12th to 16th fed. Jim McCafferty has been coming well lately and wins 6th and 7th fed, Ian Scott wins 10th, 17th and 20th places with Willie MacKnight coming in at 11th place and flying some eight miles further than the above chaps. Never far away are the Macaulay Ferguson and Curren partnership who win 8th, 9th and 18th federation. This race was flown on a Thursday and hats off to David Glen for getting a very good race for everyone who sent.

East section winners are as follows; Les McKay of Arbroath is 1st 3rd 4th 5th 6th & 9th with D & D Hay of Gourdon in 2nd & 10th places. G Campbell of Montrose is 7th & 8th.

Club winners are as follows; Forfar 170 birds winner D J Liddle; Gourdon 4 birds winner D & D Hay; Arbroath 8 birds winner Les McKay; Montrose 7 birds winner G Campbell.    


David Liddle


Jock Scott & Les McKay


Arbroath Racing Pigeon Club Ripon on 29/08/2019 at 08:00 hrs

1 members sent 8 birds with Les McKay taking the first 8 positions his winner did it in 3 hours 22 minutes with his 7 bird timed at 3 hours 47 minutes.

Ayrshire Fed's

For the Ayrshire federation’s 4th young bird race was due to be flown from Arniston, but due to the council road works, this liberation site was unavailable so the nearest and most suitable the top table recommended was Cockenzie, roughly 5 miles further taking us to about the 76 miles to the furthest flyers in the fed.  As usual when changes are made to the programme, the usual shouts these changes have been made to suite particular sections within the federation, but in reality, it is about getting the right races point that the top table believe will get us the best returns and feedback from the members right across the federation was just that, with good returns. Jim had the Cockenzie convoy of 760 birds up and away at 08-40 into west to south west wind for a race of between 58 to 76 miles to the top end of the federation.

Once again the feedback from the clubs was their members had a good race with most saying they had 99% of their birds home a checking time. Leading the way into the federation this week taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd fed on 1157.5, 1157.5 and 1157.1 clocking 3 birds in 2 seconds is John Simpson of Ardeer HS. His 1st federation winner for John was a natural dark chequer cock flying to the perch bred down from a pair of gift pigeons from Paddy Docherty of Linwood, a man who is no stranger to topping the Glasgow federation himself as well as some top performances in the SNFC.  The 2nd federation winner for John is a darkness chequer hen sitting on eggs. On her sire’s side is Paddy Docherty crossed with George Willie & Paul Macaloney (from the wee Wullie line) with the dam being bred by his good friend Ian Cameron down from his top pigeon ‘Alba Mac’ another pigeon full of the best of the Macaloney bloodlines. 3rd federation is a natural dark chequer hen sitting on eggs and is a Paddy Docherty crossed with George Willie & Paul Macaloney pigeon. John would like to thank Paddy for the gift and swap birds, GWP Macaloney and his good friend Ian Cameron for their pigeons and most importantly his son John Simpson Junior for all the work and time he spends helping, as pigeon racing just would not happen for John if it was not for his son John Junior’s help.

North Section 415 birds; 1st, 2nd and 3rd John Simpson, Ardeer HS 1157.5, 1157.5 and 1157.1

Central Section 113 birds; 1st is H Pollock of Irvine NTHS 1034.2. 2nd H Wallace of Darvel HS 1031.7, 3rd R McFedries of Irvine NTHS 1028.1

South Section 232 birds; 1st 2nd and 3rd Boyd Bros of Whitletts & District 965.9, 961.8 and 961.4

Other Club winners not mentioned above.

Cowan & Findlay (Darvel HS) 1150.0; Mr & Mrs J R Ramsay & Son (Dalry HS) 1142.9; J McNeil (Kilwinning HS) 1028.8; J & A Bunce (Kilmarnock Invitation) 999.7; J Auld (Cumnock & District) 902.9. D MacTaggart (Crosshouse HS) 764.6 and J Sloan (Dalmellington PC) 563.7

Joe, I have also attached a photo of John Simpson who took the 1st x 3 places in the federation, and once again many thanks’ for all your help Joe yours Archie McIntyre.


John Simpson


Almond Valleys Federation

News from Lynne Stewart who wrote ‘Hi Joe, Almond Valley Federation were at

Otterburn on 31st of August with 603 birds liberated at 15-30 hours.

Taking the first 3 places plus 7th and then 20th to 23rd open are Freddie Jamieson & son of East Calder. Jimmy Young is 4th 5th 6th 10th and 19th open. Geordie Harris of Bonnyrigg is 8th and 11th to 14th open. J Leadbetter from the same club is 8th with John Bird of West Calder winning 15th 16th & 18th open. Vic Couper makes up the top 20 winning 17th open.  

Club Winners are as follows;

Balerno 90 birds; J Fairley 1027.793, 1027.647, D Bald 1004.622, 1003.322 Bonnybridge 278 birds; G Harris 1146.411, J Leadbetter 1119.020, G Harris 1078.509, 1078.509

Carnwath 31 birds; J Stokes 756.301, J Dorman 756.065, J Stokes 734.763, 642.203

East Calder 142 birds; F Jamieson & Son 1176.741, 1175.793, 1171.638, J M Young 1163.677

West Calder 39 birds; J Bird 1061.826, 1061.680, 1033.221, 967.356

Any member that timed in in the national races can you put a claim in for trophies to federation secretary Lynne by the end of September.


News from Colin Bain who phoned me to say he was having problems with his computer but managed to give me the result of the Otterburn 2 flown on 24th August. 5 members sent 152 birds, these were liberated into a south wind and Douglas Bald was 1st with a dark chequer cock on darkness doing a velocity of 1599. In 2nd 3rd & 4th place are Colin Bain & W Fairley with their first bird a blue pied hen from SNFC Silver Award winner ‘Abigail’ crossed with a John Ellis of Dundee hen. In 3rd place is a blue chequer pied hen a granddaughter of ‘Abigail’ doing a velocity of 1555 and the 4th bird is a blue cock doing 1544 and he is the same way bred as their first pigeon who won 2nd club.’

Central Federation


Broxburn & Uphall RPC

News from Bernie of the Wakefield race held on 1st September with 120 birds liberated at 07-00 hours into a light west wind. 1st club 3rd federation is Gordon Mackenzie with a darkness blue hen she is a Gabby from the stock loft. Gordon is 2nd club 4th fed with a blue bar cock a Heremans-Ceusters on the darkness system.

3rd club 5th fed is Gordon again with a blue bar cock a Gabby again on darkness from the stock loft. Gordon also won 16th 17th & 18th fed. While John McNeill won 12th 15th 19th & 20th open. Also a very big well done to Broxburn fancier Mark Doran who won the federation and also won the Scottish Central Combine, ‘great stuff’. Thank you once again Joe for all your assistance in promoting our club in your weekly column, yours Bernie.’


East of Scotland Federation

News from Tom McEwen regarding the Wakefield race flown on 31st August with the convoy liberated at 07-20 hours into a south to south east west wind. Topping the federation and taking 2nd & 4th open with his 1st x 2 birds doing a velocity of 1846 is Graham Wardhaugh of Dirleton who had a great race. John Bird of Prestonpans club was in fantastic form finishing 3rd 8th 9th & 10th open. Then we have Tom Hunnam of Port Seton keeping up the good work in 5th open. Jim McNeill of Tranent club is there again with 6th open and Rab Waddell of Prestonpans completes the top ten winning 7th open.

Prestonpans HS is won by John Bird with a blue hen from Heremans-Ceusters crossed Vandenabeele bloodlines. 2nd club is Tam Hunnam with a white cock from Braspenning crossed bloodlines. 3rd club is Rab Waddell with a blue cock from Vanderbilt bloodlines. That’s it again for this week Joe yours in sport Tom McEwen’, 


Tam Hunnam


Traprain Homing Society

News from John Baillie who writes ‘Hi Joe, hope is all well with you please find our result for the Wakefield race. The birdage was down this week with the majority of members unsure of the weather forecast for Saturday. Plus we heard most feds had delayed basketting till the Sunday. Tony went ahead with our race as there was a good forecast down at Wakefield and the probability of rain in Northumbria. The birds were liberated at 07-20 hours into a strong south to south west wind. The young birds made light work of it with probably the best returns at the clocks this young bird season. Taking 1st and 2nd is the partnership of Sinclair Thomson & son Sinclair. Their winner is bred from their SNFC Maidstone winner ‘Alfie’ and their 2nd bird is bred from ‘Seton Queen’ the SHU Dewar Trophy winner when paired to their blue cock who won a SNFC Silver Award. In 3rd position are Newcombe & Black this bird was bought at the Traprain Breeder/Buyer and was bred by Lawrie & McGregor from Auchendinny.  

The clubs annual quiz takes place this year on Friday 18th of October, starting at 19-15 hours. Tom McLeod has as usual got a fantastic panel; from Belgium we have Urick Lemmings, a Professional Pigeon Fancier with various satellite lofts throughout the world. We then have Alfie Hawthorn another well-known and great flyer. To finish off we have this year’s SNFC Gold cup winner, backed up with other fantastic results this season and previous seasons Mr Andy Miller or as we all know him as ‘Wee Miller’.  So looks like another fantastic night ahead, tickets will go fast, so if you require tickets phone Tom McLeod on 07428592919. That's it for another week with only the Newark and Buckingham races to come. Many thanks once again yours John B’.


Fife Federation

The federation of homing pigeon societies sent 493 birds to Ripon on the 3rd September with the convoy liberated at 06-45am into a light south west wind. Birdage for the east section was as follows; Kennoway 140 birds; Leven 11 birds; Tayport 4 birds; St Andrews 87 birds and Methilhaven 97 birds. The East section and Federation open positions are both won by Brain Chalmers of Kennoway who takes the first 10 places in both. The centre section has Novar sending 26 birds with no entry from Glenrothes club. Sean Diamond takes the first 10 places in the section. The west section birdage was as follows; Lochgelly 26 birds; Dunfermline 53 birds; Crossgates 49 birds. Alastair McCudden of Crossgates club takes the first 3 places plus 6th section J Hynd & son of the same club is 4th 5th 8th & 12th with J Robertson of Dunfermline club in 7th spot. Pete Sweeney makes up the west section by winning 9th place.



Pentland Hills Federation

News from Andy Miller who informs us that the federation breeder/buyer result from the Wakefield race was won by Dale Renwick breeder and the buyer was Mr & Mrs Lindsay each will receive the sum of £110.00. The Peterborough young bird open will be flown on Wednesday 4th of September with basketting at Edmonstone between 18-00 and 19-00. Next week Newark federation open race: prize money will be £500.00 members must use federation open pool sheet - birdage will be £1-00 to be paid/entered on the open pool sheet. Also next week is the Newark Gold Ring race: with 52 entries and the prize money is £1040-00p. Good luck to all who compete. Joe, for the 5th young bird race of the season this was flown from Wakefield a distance of 160 to 175 miles to the members on Saturday the 31st of August. Race controller Tony Young liberated at the 1373 birds sent by 12 clubs at 07-20 in a south to south west wind. This turned out a fast race in good weather with a strong tail wind, and good temperatures. Winning both organisations and taking 1st & 2nd place are Danderhall member from the village of Whitecraigs namely Helen Aitken & Sons. Their winner is of Van den Bulck origin. The sire himself was a federation winner while the dam was purchased from Steve Foster from England! F Robertson of Danderhall takes the next 3 places with Stark & Benson of Bonnyrigg club in 6th place. D & J Allen OF Woodburn club are 7th with Edinburgh Premier K Dick in 8th place 3 yards ahead of G Thomas of Easthouses club and making up the top 10 is J Moyes of Arniston. 

Club Winners 

Danderhall 503 birds; Aitken 1803 Aitken 1799 F. Robertson 1789

Bonnyrigg 73 birds; Stark & Benson 1787 Massey 1627 Massey 1625

Woodburn 89 birds; Allen 1786 Brown & Black 1765 Brown & Black 1711 Edinburgh Premier 108 birds; Dick 1775 Black 1767 Gilchrist 1753

Easthouses 6 birds; G Thomas 1772

Arniston 166 birds; Moyes 1770 Milne 1732 W. Pryde & Son 1702

Castlebrae 45 birds; Willis 1752 McCormack & Fraser 1708 A. Mitchell 1696 Sighthill 82 birds; Keenan 1729 Miller 1685 Keenan 1677

Loanhead 22 birds; Murray 1635 Murray 1625 Murray 1604

Edinburgh West 23 birds; Lamb 1609 Lamb 1609 Lamb 1593


New Lothian 26 birds;


Traprain 205 birds; Thomson 1777 Thomson 1771 Newcombe & Black 1754

Others 25 Birds;

The Newark Open race is next week with the prize money £500.00


New Lothian RPC

The New Lothian RPC with the Pentland Hills Federation had their fourth race of the 2019 season from Wetherby, a distance of 138-150 miles for the members. Race controller Tony Young gave the go ahead to liberate with No Wind. Winning 1st N/L and Fed is the consistently in-form loft of Willie Pryde & Son John, a.k.a. Bubba! Their timer a yearling cock was a batch of 14 which were given to John from his cousin Alan Power, who finished with the pigeons at the end of last season. John subsequently broke these birds to his loft during the winter months and is flying them all on a celibate system. Breeding of this one is a Koopman. From the Wakefield race flown on Saturday 31st August 40 lofts sent 925 birds these were liberated at 07-20 hours into a south to south west wind. Helen Aitken & sons of Danderhall take the first 2 places with club mate F Robertson winning the next 3 places with the birds all on the same minute. Stark & Benson of Bonnyrigg are 6th with D & J Allen of Woodburn club next 8th spot is filled by K Dick of Edinburgh Premier club with J Moyes of Arniston in 9th place. J & S Black of Edinburgh Premier club are 10th with Woodburn’s Brown & Black in 11th spot. B Black of Danderhall takes the next 2 places winning £230 with their first youngster.

Peterborough Open

Pentland Hills federation held their open young bird race from Peterborough on Wednesday 4th September 2019 with 31 lofts prepaying 114 birds with 26 actual lofts sending 76 birds. These were liberated at 08-30 into south west turning west wind. Prize money was £2,000 paid out in 16 prizes as follows; £1,000 - £350 - £200 - £120 - £80 - £50 - 10 x £20. Taking the top spot is Sinclair Thomson & son Sinclair of Traprain club winning £1430.00. They are also 6th open winning another £307.  F Robertson of Danderhall is 2nd 3rd & 4th winning £2875.00. The Woodburn loft of Brown & Black are 5th 11th 14th & 15th winning a total of £470.00. A Young of Danderhall is 8th winning £100 with L Mitchell of Castlebrae 9th winning and £28-50 the 10th spot is won by Mr & Mrs Keenan of Sighthill club lifting £20.00 and John Bird of East of Scotland is 12th and £20 with A Mitchell of Castlebrae wins 13th open and £20.00 with W Kinnear & son of Danderhall are 16th & 18th and lift the last £20 with Mr & Mrs Keenan of Sighthill club in 17th place. S McVey of Danderhall is 19th open with S Lapinski of Woodburn in 20th place and last but not least is A R Pringle of New Lothian. The total pay-out was £5310.50 and the officials would like to thank John Jamieson for convoying the pigeons, to Gordon Verth for race marking/checking and to Danderhall RPC for allowing the federation to use their premises. Signed A Young President, and R Graham Secretary


A S Thompson & Son

Joe’s Joke

There was this guy at a bar, just looking at his drink. He stays like that for a half hour. Then a big trouble making truck driver steps next to him, takes the drink from the guy, & just drinks it all down. The poor man starts crying. The truck driver says, "Come on man, I was just joking. Here, I'll buy you another drink. I just can't stand to see a man cry." "No, it's not that," the man replies, wiping his tears, "This day is the worst of my life. First, I oversleep & I go in late to my office. My outraged boss fires me. When I leave the building to go to my car, I find out it was stolen. The police say they can do nothing. I get a cab to go home, & when I get out, I remember I left my wallet. The cab driver just drives away. I go inside my house where I find my wife in bed with the gardener. I leave my home, come to this bar, & just when I was thinking about putting an end to my life, you show up & drink my poison."



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