Monday, April 20, 2009

Watching and Raising Texas Birds

I have always been infatuated with birds and flight. I remember as a kid watching the bird migrations in West Texas. We would have long lines of crows, flocks of geese, kettles of broad winged hawks along with the strange sounding sandhill cranes. All would fly over in the seasonal passages north and south. I loved the thrill of my heart skipping at the flush of a covey of quail or the cackle of a cock pheasant as they lifted into the air. I was always anticipating the shot-dodging flight of dove in the fall. I could think of nothing more engrossing than waterfowl settling into the decoys on a cold foggy morning. Even though I was an avid bird hunter I often raised game birds, hawks, owls and any other feathered babies I would find and bring home.

As I grew older I became fascinated with hawks, parrots and pigeons and have raised them all from just hatched to fully mature. I was intrigued by the idea of taking a bird several hundred miles away from home and releasing it only to have it beat me home to the pigeon loft. I later became engrossed with breeding the Roller pigeon and flying kits of birds that would fly a figure eight pattern high above the house while making breath taking spins of 10-50 feet at almost every turn. Due to a move to a restricted subdivision and work, I had to quit raising Roller pigeons. This last weekend I again watched Rollers high in the air working their magic and performing spins while in the air high above their homes. Thanks to the generosity of another breeder I came home with a box of young birds and hope to again fly some pigeons of my own breeding in the near future. Get out and watch some birds, it will do your soul good. Wild Ed


native said...

Wild Ed!
I had a good friend of mine a few years back who also raised Rollers and Tumblers.
I was (and still am) a Parrot person myself, but I am also fascinated by all birds.

My friend Steve told me one day that the Rollers and Tumblers developed their unusual flight style by first using this technique to escape birds of prey.
Man, later on just enhanced (by selective breeding) the rolling and tumbling trait which was already there genetically.

Is this a correct statement?

Wild Ed said...

The discussion of what makes a Roller pigeon roll has perplexed flyers for generations. Some say light, some say a form of epilepsy or some other genetic fault. I think it may be for the shear joy of it but can’t prove it. Some birds have complete control while others can not stop and will roll down to the ground. I suspect it may be like the fainting goats that fall down stiff legged at certain impulses and man has just breed for those that do it the best. Whatever the reason they have brought enjoyment to thousands of people with their flights.

Albert A Rasch said...

I raised all kinds of birds when I was young, sparrows, starlings, pigeons, parakeets,and canaries. Always thought a bird or two was an appropriate thing to have in the house.

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
The Range Reviews: Tactical.
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit.

native said...

Same here Albert, I have missed having a bird in the house and have considered getting one again, now that the kids are getting to the age of appreciating.

Thanks Wild Ed for the clarification.

I have raised all manner of birds in the past (fell from nests etc. etc.) and surprisingly have found that the Jay family (Starlings,Crows,Mynahs,Blue Jays) are actually much smarter than any of the Parrots which I had.

Parrots do not possess the "startle reflex" that the others do so that does make them easier to handle though.

Some of Albert Rasch's posts about Falconry sure rekindled my long time interest in Falconry too.