What is Pigeon Racing?

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  2. January 15, 2013 10:22 pm

What is Pigeon Racing?

An Overview of the Sport of Pigeon Racing

Pigeon racing is a sport involving releasing trained pigeons and tracking how long it takes them to return to their home roost. The bird that has the highest calculated speed, once all of the birds have returned to their own homes, is declared the winner. As crazy as this might sound, pigeon racing has been around for a long time. There is even evidence to suggest that the sport of pigeon racing may go back as far as the 3rd Century AD, but the sport probably reached the peak of its popularity in the mid 19th century.

As you may or may not know, pigeons were once used to carry messages across great distances during a time when communications technology was non-existent. It is natural to see how racing among these birds would develop as the same message might be entrusted to 3 or more pigeons, depending upon its importance. Birds of prey, like the hawk, are a deadly hazard to pigeons and a just one reason to send multiple birds with the same important message. When the pigeons all return to the same roost, it is easy to determine which bird is fastest. However, as pigeon racing developed as a real sport, different pigeon roosts came to compete against one another. So the problem of how to properly time a certain pigeon’s return to the roost came about. You can read about some of these inventions in the History of Pigeon Racing section.

This problem has been solved by modern technology. In pigeon racing today, the handlers attach RFID tags to the legs of the birds so as soon as they return to their roost, the radio receiver there receives the extremely short range transmission of their radio ID tags and everyone knows they are home without delay.


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