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).