Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No Futurity Race

There will be no Futurity Race for me this year.  I had only one of my 10 futurity birds left.  For some reason, this was a particularly high loss season.  She had been out 165 miles when I lost all of the remaining futurities so I held her back and just gave her deep training drops along with the rest.  On her 4th drop from 64 miles, she did not come home.  That was Sunday.  On Monday evening, while driving home on the divided highway I saw a dead bird - a pigeon!  It had to be a pigeon the size and color were right and there's not a lot of pigeons in the suburbs so it stood out (still amazing that I noticed it).  I pulled over and walked back.  Yup!  A pigeon wearing the same blue race bands I use.  I grabbed it's foot and pulled it back from the road to flip it over (I can't imagine what the passing cars thought of my actions).  Sure enough, it was my last futurity bird.  What a strange thing!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

It's been busy.  I missed a real high point.  After 5 seasons of Young Bird Racing, I finally won! 

National Database-1        EVANSVILLE RACING PIGEON CLUB         09/17/11-12:44
                                   Mt. Vernon IN
                                 Weekly Race Report                      Page 1
                             Open and Junior Category
Name: FT. CAMPBELL 1              Young Bird Race             Flown: 08/31/2011

Release(A): 07:00  Birds: 188  Lofts: 8            Station: FT. CAMPBKY (0201)
Weather (Rel) PC, SE 5, 60 deg  (Arr) PC, SE 7, 80 deg

POS NAME          BAND NUMBER        CLR  X ARRIVAL   MILES   TOWIN      YPM  WS Cus Pts  NDB Std Pts
  1 THREET ROB/30 5311   AU 11 EVV   BB   H 08:46:02  91.384  00.00 1516.795    187         97  
  2 THREET ROBERT 5393   AU 11 EVV   GRIZ H 08:46:14   2/30   00.12 1513.892    186         95  
  3 THREET ROBERT 5324   AU 11 EVV   BLK  H 08:46:25   3/30   00.22 1511.355    185         92  
  4 HELFRICH S/30 11323  AU 11 HELF  BB     08:48:19  92.274  01.14 1499.335    184         89  
  5 HELFRICH STEV 11306  AU 11 HELF  BC     08:48:20   2/30   01.15 1499.104    183         87  
  6 HELFRICH STEV 11310  AU 11 HELF  BCWF   08:48:20   3/30   01.15 1499.104    182         84  
  7 HELFRICH STEV 11327  AU 11 HELF  BB     08:48:20   4/30   01.15 1499.104    181         81  
  8 HELFRICH STEV 11307  AU 11 HELF  BC     08:48:21   5/30   01.16 1498.874    180         79  
  9 HELFRICH STEV 11329  AU 11 HELF  BC     08:48:22   6/30   01.17 1498.643    179         76  
 10 HELFRICH STEV 11390  AU 11 HELF  BC     08:48:27   7/30   01.22 1497.492    178         73  
 11 HELFRICH STEV 11321  AU 11 HELF  BC     08:48:33   8/30   01.28 1496.112    177         71  
 12 HELFRICH STEV 11360  AU 11 HELF  RC     08:48:48   9/30   01.43 1492.674    176         68  
 13 HELFRICH STEV 11366  AU 11 HELF  BB     08:48:53  10/30   01.48 1491.532    175         65  
 14 HELFRICH STEV 11328  AU 11 HELF  QUAL   08:49:05  11/30   02.00 1488.797    174         63  
 15 HELFRICH STEV 11314  AU 11 HELF  BB     08:49:06  12/30   02.01 1488.570    173         60  
 16 HELFRICH STEV 11402  AU 11 HELF  BBWF   08:49:06  13/30   02.01 1488.570    172         57  
 17 HELFRICH STEV 11394  AU 11 HELF  BKSP   08:49:09  14/30   02.04 1487.888    171         55  
 18 HELFRICH STEV 11401  AU 11 HELF  BCSP   08:49:11  15/30   02.06 1487.434    170         52  
 19 HELFRICH STEV 11311  AU 11 HELF  BB     08:49:14  16/30   02.09 1486.753    169         49  
--------------------------------- Above are 10 percent -------------------------
The next race - no so good.  70th place and I dropped 7 birds (out of 31). 
We flew the first two on Wednesdays to avoid dove season opening weekend. 
I picked up 2 birds just in time for race 3. I held back the two stragglers and sent
24 birds.  I only got back 8 race day!  So, at the end of the day I now had 10 birds.
I had 31 only four days earlier.  Very depressing.  I did get several birds in the top 
10% and 20% though.

National Database-1        EVANSVILLE RACING PIGEON CLUB         09/17/11-12:49
                                    Haubstadt IN
                                 Weekly Race Report                      Page 1
                             Open and Junior Category
Name: COLUMBIA 5                  Young Bird Race             Flown: 09/10/2011

Release(A): 07:00  Birds: 159  Lofts: 8           Station: COLUMBIA, TN (0203)
Weather (Rel) PC, Calm, 52 deg  (Arr) Cloudy, WSW-5, 75 deg

POS NAME          BAND NUMBER        CLR  X ARRIVAL   MILES   TOWIN      YPM  WS Cus Pts  NDB Std Pts
  1 SIMPSON DON/8 4434   AU 11 EVV   BKCK H 10:57:52  179.426 00.00 1327.593    316         97  
  2 SIMPSON DON   4430   AU 11 EVV   BLCK C 11:01:08   2/8    03.16 1309.527    314         94  
  3 GOODWIN DO/30 4561   AU 11 EVV   BC   H 10:50:01  169.333 05.32 1295.631    312         91  
  4 HELFRICH S/30 11307  AU 11 HELF  BC     10:50:49  167.769 08.24 1279.229    310         87  
  5 GOODWIN DON   4596   AU 11 EVV   BBWF H 10:54:57   2/30   10.28 1268.427    308         84  
  6 SIMPSON DEB/6 4485   AU 11 EVV   BLCK H 11:10:33  179.426 12.41 1260.363    306         81  
  7 SIMPSON DEBBI 4483   AU 11 EVV   BLCK H 11:10:35   2/6    12.42 1260.220    304         78  
  8 THREET ROB/24 5323   AU 11 EVV   BB   C 10:58:39  167.476 16.37 1235.086    302         75  
  9 HELFRICH M/30 4859   AU 11 EVV   BC   C 11:03:58  167.945 21.18 1211.598    300         72  
 10 HELFRICH STEV 11306  AU 11 HELF  BC     11:03:53   2/30   21.28 1210.692    298         69  
 11 HELFRICH MARK 4114   AU 11 EVV   BB   C 11:04:10   2/30   21.30 1210.606    296         65  
 12 HELFRICH STEV 11315  AU 11 HELF  BBWF   11:03:56   3/30   21.31 1210.444    294         62  
 13 HELFRICH MARK 4802   AU 11 EVV   RB   C 11:04:58   3/30   22.18 1206.652    292         59  
 14 BUTCH GARR/15 4314   AU 11 EVV        H 11:02:17  165.270 23.10 1200.609    290         56  
 15 BUTCH GARRISO 4324   AU 11 EVV        H 11:07:23   2/15   28.17 1175.801    288         53  
 16 SIMPSON DEBBI 4480   AU 11 EVV   BLCK H 11:33:48   3/6    35.55 1153.361    286         50  
--------------------------------- Above are 10 percent -------------------------
 17 SIMPSON DON   4040   AU 11 EVV   BLCK C 11:33:50   3/8    35.57 1153.220    284         47  
 18 SIMPSON DEBBI 4482   AU 11 EVV   BB   C 11:33:52   4/6    36.00 1153.045    282         43  
 19 SIMPSON DON   4041   AU 11 EVV   BLCK H 11:33:55   4/8    36.03 1152.834    280         40  
 20 SIMPSON DEBBI 4050   AU 11 EVV   GRIZ C 11:33:58   5/6    36.06 1152.631    278         37  
 21 SIMPSON DON   4435   AU 11 EVV   BLCK C 11:36:45   5/8    38.53 1141.039    276         34  
 22 GOODWIN DON   4509   AU 11 EVV   BB   H 11:24:04   3/30   39.34 1128.607    274         31  
 23 HELFRICH STEV 11314  AU 11 HELF  BB     11:23:12   4/30   40.47 1121.839    272         28  
 24 GARRISON B/16 4275   AU 11 EVV   RDCK H 11:37:03  163.374 01:00 1037.857    270         25  
 25 BUTCH GARRISO 4312   AU 11 EVV        H 11:47:32   3/15   01:08 1011.660    268         21  
 26 BUTCH GARRISO 4353   AU 11 EVV        H 11:47:32   4/15   01:08 1011.649    266         18  
 27 BUTCH GARRISO 4322   AU 11 EVV        H 11:47:35   5/15   01:08 1011.473    264         15  
 28 BUTCH GARRISO 4306   AU 11 EVV        H 11:47:37   6/15   01:08 1011.320    262         12  
 29 GARRISON BUTC 4218   AU 11 EVV   BLCK H 11:51:48   2/16   01:15  985.396    260          9  
 30 THREET ROBERT 5321   AU 11 EVV   BLK  C 12:12:15   2/24   01:30  943.969    258          6  
 31 THREET ROBERT 1229   AU 11 APA   BC   H 12:20:15   3/24   01:38  920.365    256          3  
 32 SIMPSON DON   4432   AU 11 EVV   BLCK H 12:43:44   6/8    01:45  918.702    254          0  
--------------------------------- Above are 20 percent -------------------------

Today's race was one of the best for my birds - not sure how I did against the
other but 9 out of 10 came in at the expected time.  I may only have 11 birds left,
but the are pretty good based on that race.  Gotta go - they are waiting on a bath
(since they can hear that I gave the breeding loft baths).  :-) 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicken Guts Made Me Late

Not my pic - Never got that close.
I left 15 minutes early for my usual pre-work training drop of 42 miles.  Tyson has a chicken processing plant down that way.  Evidently, a truck full of "chicken guts" jack knifed and closed the south-bound parkway down.  Another truck, trying to get around, somehow jack-knifed and closed the north-bound lanes.  So much truck traffic was being diverted off onto the nearest exit - that pretty soon two trucks wrecked on the exit and they closed THAT exit down.  What a mess!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jumping up another 22 miles

I woke up at 4:30am.  "Might as well get the birds down the road", I thought.  I love it that time of morning.  It was cool.  I even saw my breath when I first exhaled on the back deck.  Your eyes are so completely dark adjusted it seems like there are so many more stars.  I get my preview of the winter constellation, Orion, rising over the trees.  I'm pretty sure that out of place star west of Taurus is Jupiter - unless my eyes are so dark adjusted that Saturn seems that bright (unlikely). 

The birds are easy to load.  And very quiet - except one: Ug! That ugly common has trapped back in!  I took him off 42 miles and he came back two days later after (as far as I know) only being in the loft one day.  Impressive homing instinct for a mature, untrained common barn pigeon.  Let's see if he can come back from 64 miles.

I was early.  The site is higher so just as I got there the elevation rose so that the sun rose.  I would give it another 12 minutes while the birds settled.  I gave the common a 12 minute head start.  ;-)  When I released them, they circled only once and then headed on an exact bearing for home.  Sixteen beat me home.  According to the weather channel, they had a 2mph head wind and still covered 64 miles in 67 minutes.  (Wow! Please do that in a race sometime!)  The other half was WAY out.  My theory is these guys were so fast the others wore out trying to keep up and must've set down to rest because they have been coming in all together from 42 miles (last 3 of 5 drops anyway).

Surprises - 5391, the son of 306, came in 3rd seconds behind the first two (the first 15 all clocked in within 2 minutes.  306 was the son of a white show racer and my slowest but very loyal 500 mile bird.  It'll be interesting to see how he does in races.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lookin much better from 42 miles

My favorite drop
racing pigeons against sunrise
Yesterday's time was really good.  Today's was slower but they had a pretty good head wind and even then it was okay - they were on time anyway.  The best part - 27 of 30 clocked in on time!  I check the loft and I had 31 last night.  HOWEVER, 2 of them were without race bands which means they weren't here Sunday when I banded them all.  After I released them, I called and the loft manager said there was already one eating.  A straggler had come in - a futurity.  Oh well.  This was the 4th drop from 42 miles.  Tomorrow makes 5 drops (as I want them to break this early).  This weekend the weather is looking good for 2 drops from 64 miles.  Then, if I can (and the weather is looking like I can), I will drop them from 42 miles again Monday & Tuesday (boxing night).  I like to get them a good stretch before shipping.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Been too depressed by results to post.  This has been the worst batch ever.  I've begun to wonder if they've gotten respiratory infections again.  I dropped 34 birds from 42 miles and only got 15 back after 2 and a half hours.  By dusk I had 27.  In the morning I had picked up 3 (I think) but it these came in after I closed the loft and it looked like a raccoon got one of them. 

I wrote down the numbers of the birds that clocked in mostly together more than an hour late - the rest were way out and all over the place.  I figured the 2nd half of stragglers pulled these guys down SO I basketed them separately for a separate release.  When I release the "fast" birds - they would not leave the site.  They kept circling and coming back.  After nearly 20 minutes, as risk for being late for work, I released the "slow" birds.  They quickly found the others and together they all went straight home and clocked in pretty on time.  Weird.

This morning I had 30 birds in the loft.  10 of my 12 blacks (dropped Picard).   I dropped both pretty tortoise grizzles from Alaska.  That makes at least half the Alaska birds.  These guys are kitting tightly and took off in a hurry towards home.  It was their 4th drop from 42 miles.  About 2 miles north, they crossed in front of me coming back heading straight west  from the east.  *sigh*  (They should be going straight NNW).  Oh well.  I hope to get them down there tomorrow and Friday and then jump them up to 64 miles Sat & Sun.  The race is only 92 miles next Wednesday so they should be fine.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Looking Good at 24 miles!

The corn was much taller than previous years at this drop.  I am a couple of weeks later than usual.  There are 36 that are doing well and another 2-3 that are struggling.  I was worried I'd be able to get done with training but it looks really good.  If the weather does ok - I'll be at 42 miles by Friday - an entire week before shipping for the first race.  I hope to get them out 64 miles before that (and maybe one drop at 82 miles if we're really lucky (and I'm not too sleepy)).

I finally remembered to turn on my camera before releasing!  :-)

Friday, August 12, 2011

And then there were 36

Click to enlarge
Okay, these 36 look pretty good.  I keep forgetting to take pictures.  This one was taken too late but it's all I've got.  They are doing wonderful at 12 miles (although I dropped those last 3 weak ones on the first drop from here).  I am going to drop them across the river and into town a bit.  It's about 14-15 miles.  Two drops there and then we jump up to 24 miles.  I want them to know this area well, it is probably the breakpoint.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Slow Going

It is going to be exciting this year.  I still need to get all the racing bands on the birds and get them in the computer.  I hope to get them used to the computer trap sooner this year (that would be right now!).  I took a week off to medicate them.  I believe many of them had respiratory infections.  They are mostly looking better now.  I hope to jump them up to 12 miles tomorrow.  16 days until we basket for the first race.  Yikes!  I'll be lucky to get them trained out as far as I like (64 miles).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

on the 3rd day of training

I dropped another yesterday.  I had two weak fliers this morning.  Not sure what is going on.  I left back Aqua so I only too out 40 this morning.  I'm giving up on Aqua.  The black hen 5381 is acting pretty weird.  Her and a pied blue bar flew up in a tree.  After the others left they took off each by themselves toward home.  I will medicate them and hold them back when I jump up to 6 miles tomorrow.  The other 38 looked real good.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And then there were 42

Sad and strange.  A first.  While dropping the birds from their first training release I found a dead bird in the basket.  It was 5380 - the one that seemed to be having problems after vaccines Saturday.  She felt a little light but had been flying.  I sure didn't expect to find her like that.  I basketed just before 6am and released just before 8am.  I have administered that vaccine nearly 200 times in the last 4 years and never had a problem.

I held back one: Aqua.  The one with the freakish obsession for drinking bath water.  He has, no doubt, picked up something  from that bad habit.  He was seriously light this weekend but I administered some meds and he's feeling better.  He has always been strangely tame.  He flies up on our shoulders when we go in to feed.  I keep meaning to hand feed him.  I think he's going to be a pet instead of a racer.  (Sorry Phil - yep, he's one of yours).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Least favorite part is done

My least favorite part of this hobby is administering the PMV vaccine via syringe.  It takes a long time and I always feel bad about it.  This time I had two incidents.  I hit a vein on one and it bled a bit - not too much but that still bothered me.  More scary, one of my blacks was having what appeared to be an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine.  I didn't notice until I was closing them up at night.  First I noticed he was not in his roost.  Then I noticed he appeared to have a cough but, under closer inspection, I decided he was having some breathing difficulty.  I watched him a bit, considered administering Benadryl, but then decided he was not in immediate danger and left him alone.  Sure enough, he was fine this morning.

While the birds were waiting in the boxes in the A/C (their first time being boxed), I cleaned the loft, put down litter, fresh water and feed for their return.  After two syringes (12 birds) I'd drop them off and freshen the feed a bit (since the early birds would fish out all the good stuff).  I was after 4pm when the last batch was dropped off.  I put the bath pans in and they became very excited and stopped feeding and came up for a late afternoon bath (it was miserably hot).  After the bath - they we wondering why they were cooped up.  So, I flew them.  I'd say 2/3rds felt up to some flying.  The next morning - all of the regular fliers were ready to go.  I have a few who always have to be tossed out and one black hen who is nesting.  So, things looked back to normal today. 

I will begin training Monday morning.  I have exactly one month to get my 19 training drops in (three each 2.5 miles, then 6, 12, 14, 24, 42, 64 and one at 82).  I can (and often do) squeeze the 12 & 14 down to 2 each and forgo the 82 mile at the end for a total of 16 drops.  If I thought I were really pressed for time, I'd drop the 3rd 2.5 mile and drop from 64 miles only one. 

If I get ahead of schedule, I continually drop from 42 miles because it is a convenient location.  It's just off the Interstate and it takes me just as long to get to the 24 mile as it does to this drop.  The 14 mile also takes longer than it's worth but I want them to know that area well and hopefully break no later than that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kitting Nicely

I was worried about the younger half but they are all kitting now.  I had to shoo several out.  The Alaska birds seem to not like our 115 degree heat index and prefer the cool loft (amazing design - it stays pretty nice in there - I need to put a thermometer in there to see how cool). 

I can't wait to start taking them down the road.  It's going to be fun!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Late Breeding Means Short Old Bird Season

I had a terrible breeding season.  Not sure exactly why - perhaps the bitterly cold winter over came my tricking them into thinking its Spring with extra morning and evening lighting.  At any rate - I really needed all of those late hatches for the Young Bird Team and didn't want to risk losing any feeders so I stayed out the first 5 races.  Combined with the terrible weather - I am just now getting the birds out 42 miles.  They've done that twice and have been loft flying in the evenings since March so they're in fairly good condition - though the older cocks are a bit heavy.  They switched the 165 with a 300 so I had to lay out yet another race.  I hope to get them a 100 mile training drop before going to their first OB race of 225 miles.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Young Birds from Alaska

Just got four new young birds - very pretty young birds from a breeder in Alaska!  They got here pretty quick - two days - and looked good and healthy.  They settled in with the rest of my young bird team very nicely.  They are two light and two dark grizzles.  I especially like the darker grizzles as they have quite a bit of red.  I would call them almond or bronze.  Steve calls them tortoise.  They are actually redder than the picture shows.  I have 22 young birds banded with more on the way.  I am hoping for about 36 on the 2011 young bird team.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Evansville Racing Pigeon Club new member drive

I told the rest of the club - "If Mike Tyson, The Coffee News, Courier & Press, Fox 7 & WIKY don't bring some interest into the new member drive at Central library tonight - I'm going to start getting discouraged!"  We had a whirlwind of a morning promoting the Evansville Racing Pigeon Club's New Member Drive this morning.  The event is at Central Library tonight at 7pm and we're hoping for a crowd! At 6:55am we were on Fox 7 and then had to be over to the radio station at 7:40am.  (Click here to see the video).  Cross your fingers!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nearly 70 degrees - First Liberation

It was the first time many of the late hatches had been out and just about the only time the old birds had been out since I started training young birds.  I came home early and they looked pretty antsy - it had been nearly 70 degrees (it's supposed to break a record today at 72).  As soon as I opened the trap they started busting for the exit.  With only 30 minutes before sun down, I figured they'd be safe from hawks, especially if I stayed and watched  - which I did (supper got cold, oh well).  You could feel their joy as they climbed into the wind and then zoomed down with the wind.  The late hatches tried to keep up with the old birds and after less than two minutes were back on the roof panting, resting before going again.  I was amazed that everyone went back up fine - even the late hatches.  Such an intelligent bird!  I expected some of the Young Birds would protest and try to get back in the Young Bird loft but they didn't.  The 11' geodesic winter fly pen spoiled them, I guess.  Need to do this every night and start getting them conditioned for old bird races in April.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Breeding Season Well Underway

I'm being more selective this year.  I moved eggs from two preferred pair to two foster parents.  I am determined to keep certain pairs from reproducing this year due to their track record.  Still - it felt weird to break eggs this time of year.  I worry the pairs I've taken eggs from will hesitate to start another round and I really need them to.  It is going to be a very interesting young bird team!  Black Eagles, Black Knights, black Houbens, Black Diamonds - it's going to be a dark year.