Thursday, March 31, 2011

For the birds

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM

As if this week's cover story didn't already offer a dizzying amount of pigeon info, we've got even more. Here are four nuggets that can help supplement your new-found fascination with these birds:

1. Racing pigeons are just one segment of Montana's pigeon population. Polson retiree Rich Hayes raises world champion roller pigeons. These birds tumble through the sky like circus acrobats, flipping along as they fly. In 2008, Hayes won the World Cup Fly, garnering him local and national attention. Here's what tumblers look like in action:

2. Bozeman-based wildlife photographer Dusan Smetana is mentioned in the cover story, and he supplied a few of the images. But Smetana has a remarkable story beyond just racing pigeons. In fact, the state of Montana used him as part of its "Get Lost in MT" tourism campaign.

2010_WarmAd_Dusan from Montana Office of Tourism on Vimeo.

Read Smetana's full life story at the Bridger Mountain Racing Pigeon Club website.

3. Animal Planet's website for "Taking on Tyson" has become a one-stop-shop for Pigeon Racing 101. Video clips cover the difference between racing pigeons and common pigeons (aka "commies"), rules of the sport and how to choose a winning bird (below). The show,by the way, airs Sundays at 8 p.m.

4. Last but not least, you may be interested to see what one of Jim Jenner's pigeon documentaries look like. His small production company, PacCom Films, has released 11 so far and another is currently being shot. Below are two videos: The original trailer for Marathon in the Sky, a 1990 film narrated by Michael Landon, and a clip from his five-part series, Secrets of Champions.

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