This film is part of Free

Pigeon Fancier

A pigeon fancier from Plymouth talks about his sport

Current affairs 1967 3 mins

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A local pigeon fancier, Reg, talks to TV reporter Clive Gunnell about his passion for homing pigeons. The sport uses the racing homer, a specially bred pigeon whose homing instincts are strong. The homer is a cross of breeds, the smerle, French cumulet, English carrier, dragoon and the horseman. The homer has endurance and can fly for hours on end without tiring and from the carrier pigeon, it inherited the ability to find its way home from great distances

Carrier and racing homer pigeons were used to carry messages during war with the British using about 9,500 birds during World War I. By World War II all countries were using them and in the aftermath of war, pigeon racing grew as a popular sport. In Britain, two routes are typically flown, north and south although the southern route across the channel is suspended due to fears over the spread of avian flu. Pigeon fanciers group pigeons into three categories, sport, fancy and utility. The animation film Valiant (2005) recounts a story about the Royal Homing Pigeon Service Squad.