Pigeon Racing

Pigeon Racing, as evident for its name, is a activity which involves racing of pigeons. The objective is for each pigeon to return back to its home as fast as possible. The sport is practiced at a competitive level in the United States, Australia, the UK, Ireland, and a few other countries. Is it a sport? Although many call it such, pigeon racing does not fit our definition of a sport.

Historically, pigeons were used for sending messages because of its unique ability to track its home. The modern day pigeon racing sport was developed based on this unique skill in Belgium during the mid-19th century.

In competitions, the pigeons that are participating are collected for their home and is taken to a starting location. The objective for each pigeon is to return back to its home as fast as possible. The distance each bird travels typically varies from 100km to 1000km. There are some records where distances of 1800km have been covered. The distance each bird travels and the total time taken is used to decide the winner.

Racing pigeons in a loft. Racing pigeons in a loft. Photo credit Maart Rhijn (www.freeimages.com)

The time tracking system for the sport is constantly evolving, and the latest and the most accurate method used till date is the electronic timing system, in which the birds are fitted with RFID chip which is sensed by a scanner as soon as the bird reaches home and the time taken is automatically recorded.

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