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.

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