People will surprise you. Just when you think you’ve heard it all someone will come up with some freaky new thing. Or maybe some freaky old thing. Last week, for instance, I met a man who has a passion for pigeons.

Okay, I knew pigeon fanciers existed. I just didn’t expect to be so lucky as to meet one because here’s the deal. I was in desperate need of a…you guessed it…pigeon fancier. Why? Because the fat little buggers had taken over my barn. There were literally entire flocks of them flying around in there. They were eating my oats, scaring my horses, and driving my boarders crazy. So when one of those boarders said she’d heard of a solution I was willing to listen.

Seems there was a guy named Denny Kuhn who would come to the farm for free and take away the birds. That’s right…actually take them away. Not shoot them, not poison them, not blow up the building (as someone…maybe me…may have suggested during one particularly hair-raising moment) but net them and voila…remove them from my property. I was intrigued so I gave him a call. When he asked how many I had I guessed high and said ‘30’? But when all was said and done, he ended up taking 68 birds home with him. What does someone do with 68 birds? Well…apparently a lot of things. Here are just a few possibilities:

Racing: Modern day pigeon racing began in Belgium in the 19th century. (Although people have been keeping pigeons for 10,000 years!) The birds are released from a single location and race to their homes which can be thousands of different locations hundreds of miles away. The bird that goes the farthest in the least amount of time wins.

Tumbling: That’s right. Tumbling pigeons do flips in the air. This is not to be confused with rollers which…you guessed it…roll in the air. These acrobats are judged on how well a flock of birds somersaults in unison.

Showing: Have you ever been to a fair where pigeons are displayed in cage after cage. Apparently there are over 300 breeds of fancy pigeons.

Lunch: Uh huh. Turns out culinary pigeon is called squab and is considered a delicacy in many countries. The good old US of A raises about a million and a half birds annually for the dinner table.

So, maybe you thought YOU had heard of a weird hobby. Can you beat tumbling pigeons?

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12 Responses to

  1. leannebanks says:

    Lois, what a story! Amazing! I cannot beat you with your pigeon tumbler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS for sharing! 🙂

  2. One more use for pigeons: educating psych students. Pigeons are smart. Back in the day–haven’t checked lately–my Alma Mater had a collection of pigeons that would turn Mr. Kuhn green with envy. Kinda like the chicken barn at the MN State Fair–big variety of breeds, some gorgeous. Psych 101 students spent hour upon hour working with pigeons, proving Pigeons Will Peck For Food.

  3. Pigeons. Ah, the memories. 🙂 When I was a kid, my friend and I were offered “free pigeons” if only we would clean a man’s pigeon coop. We were fascinated with his beautiful, fancy pigeons with wild markings and crazy feathers–some of them were rollers, some were breeds I don’t remember. So we worked on that coop for a whole weekend…and it was awful! And he gave us pigeons. And, as you might guess, they all flew right back home first chance they got. 🙂

  4. Teresa Hughes says:

    I can’t beat that! I have never heard of it! Now I can tell my kids I learned something today 🙂

  5. Mona Kekstadt says:

    Have to say never heard of that before. But very interesting. Wow! 68 birds…that’s a lot of birds.
    Thank you for sharing Cindy…hope everything is going well for you…

  6. kylie brant says:

    Wow, that’s a new one for me. But what a cool idea!! What stops more pigeons from coming, though?

  7. loisgreiman says:

    I meant to add images of the different breeds but my PC still hates me. Sorry about that.

  8. Quilt Lady says:

    Wow what a story. I have never heard of this before.

  9. My dh’s granddad had pigeons and he would like them too. Uh, no. We’ve had different birds (an aviary outside) and our luck has not been good with them.

  10. Cindy Gerard says:

    Great story Lois. I’ve always been fascinated by homing pigeons. You used to see pigeons in Iowa all the time in every barn on every farm. We have had pigeons only once in our horse barn. I used to love listening to them.
    As for weird hobbies, I’ve always thought people who were into keeping pet spiders were a little bit on the fringe. Yikes.

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