What do we as fanciers know about our bird’s?
Well to answer this question its probably better to start with what we do know, so with this in mind we’ll start with the basics which hopefully all fanciers will be aware of so I’ll keep it short.
The Rock dove or common pigeon from the Columbidae family known for it’s long range foraging and it’s amazing skill to find it’s way home. This trait was the exploited by pigeon fanciers which lead to the formation of the modern day variant we call the racing pigeon. The modern racing pigeon was created by selective breeding for the traits of homing abilities, speed and endurance by testing them racing against other fanciers competing to achieve the same goal. The natural progression was that fanciers to improve their own families started to share, swap or purchase the best of each other’s stock hence the introduction of the piece of paper with the notes on to show the lineage of the said bird’s. What we all rely on nowadays to prove the breeding and racing results of the family Namely a pedigree. A good example of a pedigree should contain five generations of the individual racing pigeons ancestors including ring numbers, colour, sex and their racing results including any remarks. It is critical that this data is accurate to aid any future fanciers to make informed decisions when breeding or racing the pigeon for which the pedigree accompanies. Saying all that this would be all fine and dandy in a perfect world but we don’t especially when we factor In the human element commonly known as human error!I hear you say yes but we have computers now! Yes we do but computers only give back out what data we humans put in yes I’ll give you that it may be more legible than a person scrawling hand writing but it’s still the same information! Here’s a few examples of common mistakes on pedigrees:
Spelling mistakes, wrong ring numbers inaccurate race results and blank spaces where information of the bird should be. Nowadays pedigrees can be also quite a work of art containing logos, fancy border detailing and of cause the obligatory colour digital pigeon photo! Note to oneself “Don’t let this distract you from the information on the pigeon!” So we now have our all singing all dancing high tech pedigree with all the relevant information on it! What could be wrong? Well lots here’s a simple scenario. You purchase a bird off a genuine fancier believing it to be a close relative of a great performing pair. The fancier who sold it to you had used the information off the pedigree that he had been supplied with when he purchased his bird’s which because the original vendor had mistakenly documented his as being sons and daughters instead of grandchildren of performing pigeons they were further away from the performance bird’s than you were led to believe!
Now I like to think that all fanciers have integrity, honesty and a sense of pride in our sport but I also knowing the capabilities of humans to deceive when money becomes involved that there is and always will be a small percentage of unscrupulous fanciers that will embellish the truth to make you part with your hard earned cash for what could be termed as an inferior product. So just something to be aware of that pedigrees can be falsified for monetary gains! So in conclusion regarding pigeon pedigrees it’s not all bad news they can be very useful for helping the fanciers to make decisions to enhance your breeding and racing. They can add a monetary value to your bird’s should you choose to sell a couple for corn money. But the pedigree is not the pigeon a wise fancier will only part with his or her money after physically checking the pigeon its self for the basics health, constitution and form. It would also help to see the environment and family of bird’s it came from. Once you have your pigeon the only way to ascertain if your bird is fit for purpose whether that be breeding or racing is to test it and see, with the caveat that you the fancier is the one that provides the bird with the tools to do the job! So remember do your research so you make a considered purchase it can make the difference between joy and success or pain and heart ache.
A short answer to the original question:
Do fanciers know their pigeons? Well regarding pedigrees they can help and are useful but really it’s you the fancier who needs to get to know your bird’s to help them reach and maximize their potential.
Yours in sport
Dave Bunker Brierley