Fanciers talk about the death of the racing pigeons sport. Is it coming to an end? There aren’t many kids starting with pigeons nowadays. What are the reasons?
1. Too expensive?
2. Too much work & time consuming?
3. It’s not “cool”?
4. People don’t care about animals as much as the older generations did?
5. Computer games and other attractions?
These can be *some* reasons but they are not the strongest. I think we, the pigeon fanciers are too busy with our pedigrees and race results and don’t have the time to notice that most of the people DON’T KNOW ANYTHING about the racing pigeons and the fun and excitement they can get with racing pigeons. For them, all the pigeons are the same flying rats, just some stupid birds and we are crazy guys with too much time on our hands, playing with the birds daily and staring at the sky for hours.
It’s only our fault. Take the web for example. How do we promote the racing pigeons sport ONLINE? By creating personal websites, right? Nope. What do 99% of the racing pigeons websites have in common? They are all BORING for someone who doesn’t know anything about pigeons. Our websites are created for other fanciers ONLY. I tried to find a place online, just a SINGLE TINY place somewhere, a website that would promote the hobby of racing pigeons and that would show the world the great stuff hidden behind this fascinating creature which we all love, the RACING PIGEON. Well, I didn’t find such a place!
We only care about the next race, we are only focused on the dusty pedigrees, pigeon auctions and race results, and we carry all this on the web. We even avoid to display the pigeon in it’s natural environment, shape and behavior. We produce “dolls”, cutout model pigeon bodies on white backgrounds, eventually joined by a pigeon EYE which means NOTHING for the non-fancier. Then we attach a puzzling pedigree with 20 branches, all described in the most secret expert language we can get. Many popular pigeon sites are stuffed with auctions and race results, and on some of them, you don’t even see a picture of a pigeon!!!
When I was a kid, pigeons were a great attraction and many kids were starting in the hobby. Well, indeed, there were no computer games or the internet, and all the other stuff that the young generation is focused on nowadays. I’m also a computer games enthusiast but I think that racing pigeons are cooler! We must tell the world about it if we want to keep the sport alive. I will try this on the website, but it’s not enough… each of YOU must keep in mind that it’s our duty to promote the sport and try to bring new people in. Am I wrong? Is there something better we can do?
Any ideas are really appreciated.
A short story written by me on another website a few years ago:
I have to write my personal example because it’s very recent and on-topic. A 12 years old kid in my town found a baby pigeon in the street. He took it home. Hosted in the attic, the bird started to fly and of course came back, – isn’t that cool? – so, a few more pigeons were brought in the team. Later the little guy contacted me online for some pigeon advices…and soon, I told him a short description of the racing pigeons sport. He was delighted. I also offered him some birds from my loft, and now he’s the youngest member in our club. Our club will send the birds for the second training tomorrow. He’s looking forward to sending them, he didn’t have any losses for the first training, all his 16 youngsters came home. I was told that his parents aren’t very happy with his new hobby but he’s doing fine. I told him about the racing food mix, and he immediately sold his cell phone and bought 2 sacks! This is when the racing pigeons enter your blood. There’s no way back. They are cooler than all the PC games out there ;). You should have seen him carrying the pigeons basket to the club, it was almost bigger than him.
This was my tiny example. Think about it. He became a fancier just by chance, finding that baby pigeon on the street.
By the way, as a final note: although websites and media can help, the BEST GUARANTEED way to help a kid discover pigeons and fall in love with them is to give him a pair of young birds. It seems like the feeling of the bird in your hands and taking care of them for a few days really makes you fall in love with the PIGEON.