Just how fast is a pigeon? If you pit one against the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt , they would complete it in 2.03 secs seven seconds ahead of him and this would be with ease.
Pigeons are also loyal, loving companions who can express affection just as well as any other pet. Those who have been raised properly are quick to bond with knowledgeable fanciers. Pigeons often enjoy being taken out of their enclosure held and petted, or riding on a favorite human’s shoulder or head.

The Pigeon

A bird Blue rock Pigeon (Columba livia) native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia but widely distributed elsewhere, having variously colored plumage with iridescent markings on the neck. It is the common pigeon seen in cities and is frequently domesticated.

The Racing Homer pigeon is an average sized bird with a slim and slender body shape. It has a strong wing muscles as well as having chest area. Eyes of these birds are clear and clean and reddish in color. Their legs are usually of reddish color. The Racing Homer pigeon is an average sized bird with a slim and slender body shape. It has a strong wing muscles as well as having chest area. Eyes of these birds are clear and clean and come in a few colours. Their legs are usually of reddish color.

The pigeons have become an integral part of our lives and this was firmly established when The Telangana forest department rejected the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s (GHMC) proposal to shift pigeons forest areas. Following the objections from the forest department, the GHMC has halted the process of catching and shifting the pigeons. Forest officials said that the pigeon is not a scheduled animal under the Wildlife Protection Act and introducing it to the forest ecosystem will only result more problems.

Elaborating on why pigeons do not belong in forests, a senior state forest official told TOI: “We will not accept any pigeons of blue rock species into the forest. If GHMC has already done it, this would be a violation of the act. As per the wildlife protection act except for Blue Rock pigeon, all pigeons of Columbidae family are protected under schedule 4 of the wildlife protection act.” Oct 19 2019 The times of Inda.

The earliest record of the domestication of pigeons is from the fifth Egyptian dynasty (about 3000 BC). The sultan of Baghdad established a pigeon post system in AD 1150. The record flight for a U.S. Army Signal Corps pigeon was a flight of 2,300 miles (3,700 km). Flights of 1,000 miles (1,600 km) were routine.

On February 23, 1942, Winkie, a homing pigeon, flew 120 miles across the North Sea back to her home base. She had brought precious information on her companions from a Royal Air Force bomber which had crashed into the sea. On her arrival, her caretaker informed his colleagues at the base and the crew was rescued within 15 minutes. The story was reported by the BBC.


How do they do it – how do they know their home and come back.

The homer birds use magnetoreception – a sensory system that allows them to use the Earth’s magnetic field to draw regional maps according to altitude, direction and location. Scientists also now believe that homing pigeons have both compass and map mechanisms that help them navigate home. A homing pigeon’s compass mechanism likely relies upon the Sun. Like many other birds, homing pigeons can use the position and angle of the Sun to determine the proper direction for flight

The Fancier

A person who has an undying love for pigeons where sacrificing family functions , marriage parties for the sake of pigeons is normal. This is an art where each each fancier has many road but onloy one end – the return home of his pigeon – A SMILE GIVER. Another possible explanation is the skill which pigeon racing involved. Breeding birds, training them to return to their loft, choosing their feed and managing their exercise required not only great patience, but also detailed knowledge. Some miners made it their mission to learn as much as possible about their birds and took pride in developing their own, highly idiosyncratic, techniques. In 1930 one person interviewed by Mass Observation explained that, before each race, he followed the same routine. On Wednesday he gave his birds ‘two cod liver oil capsules’ to empty the bowels; then on Thursday, he fed them a cake made from 11 different types of seeds, washed down with a nip of sherry. The rest of the week was spent carefully examining the bird’s excrement to check that it was the right colour.

“My grandfather did it, my father did it, I do it and now my son does it. It’s a hereditary passion, a very common denominator among pigeon fanciers.

Being a fancier is hard work as beside working for his family he has to spend time in his loft ensuring it is cleant everyday , his birds fed and watered and his birds fly over his loft on a daily basis.

The History

Pigeon racing is a “Nawabi shauk” since it started in the Moghul era with support from the local Nawabs.

The modern form of pigeon racing commenced in 1975 in India, though we were a late starter to the modern racing practises we are sure that given the right opportunity and time, these passionate, professional flyers with considerable knowledge will someday compete on the world stage.

Pigeon racing as a sport began in Belgium, where in 1818 the first long-distance race of more than 100 miles (160 km) was held .The sport gained prominence in the late 1800s in The Netherlands ,Great Britain, the United States, and France.


The key to a successful loft is the good health of the pigeons. Lofts are constructed in such a way to allow fresh air to flow through the loft at all times. Fanciers knowing its importance ensure that their birds are properly treated for coccidiosis and dewormed before they are vaccinated , as a sick bird will not only spoil his racing year but his entire flock.


For races the pigeons are released far away but with a rubber ring containing a numbers to their legs bands. Knowing fully well that they are likely to go hungry during a race, before they race the pigeons are fed peanuts, almonds and millet the day before races. Racing pigeons are fed once a day only a high carb and high fastdiet consisting of over 15 grain and seeds , whereas the breeders are fed thrice a day and are given multi-vitamins tablets as well. The breders Feed consist of 10 different grains like maize, corn, millet, safflower, grams, peanuts etc.

The Sport

Racing pigeons are trained, by repeated practice, to return to their home loft when released at various distances and to enter the loft through the trapdoors. At the start of a race, competing birds are banded; they are then liberated together by a starter who records the time of release. The birds ascend rapidly, become oriented, and head directly toward their lofts. As the birds enter their home lofts, the band is removed from the leg and times recorded. The distance of the pigeon’s flight is divided by the time consumed to determine which pigeon has made the fastest speed , this is called velocity. A bird is not considered to have arrived home until it actually goes through the trap of its loft. Pigeons have been known to fly several thousand Kms in returning home, and some have attained average speeds of more than 145 Kms per hour in races. Fanciers will train their pigeons about 5 weeks before the season starts in earnest. Training can consist of an individual taking his pigeons 40 to 50 Kms away from the loft or sometimes club members will get together to train their pigeons using a small van. Communal training is also arranged by the club starts about 3 weeks from the first race with most flyers sending their. This training starts at 60 kms and goes out to around 110 kms


The great leveller – a pigeon sports club is made up of members from all walks of life from highly ranked police officials , very successful national award winning movie directors, doctors, lawyers and successful business men to small shop owners , sales representative and contact centre workers . The only common factor is their undying love for pigeons.

The clubs are registered as societies and most have common rules and code of conduct. Rules are strictly followed which include the health of the pigeon and ethical practises. Points, certificates and trophies are awarded to the winners. These expenses and the expenses of rent, annual get togethers and transport are met by the membership fees and donations from fanciers and pigeon lovers. Donations are key to club survival to meets its expenses.

Club centres are a rarity with basketing generally held at a club member’s home or at a private property , these clubs consist of around 25 to 40 flying members and over 20 non flying members.

The season is between Jan and Mar the cooler months and fanciers tag a stipulated number of birds which are placed in common carriers these are spacious and well ventilated allowing fresh air to freely flow through. The carriers are modelled in such a way that the birds after reaching the spot of liberation are rested for a few hours and then fed food and water before liberated. The bird with the highest velocity is declared the winner and points are given for the winners. These points are then totalled and fancier with the highest number of points is declared the champion.

“It’s a matter of prestige”. It’s all about whose bird flew the best and bragging rights. A common saying among fanciers is ‘If money is lost nothing is lost – if pride is lost everything is lost.

The club is a place where fanciers sit down have tea and have long chat sessions on varied topics from pigeons to personal issues. This is like one big family each supporting the other.

IND-Pigeons provides yeoman service to the society in several ways.

First and foremost is the preservation of the Homing Pigeons. If not for the dedicated fanciers who care for these pigeons, these birds will soon turn feral, the heritage of these birds as the very first medium for long distance communication in India would be lost forever, and future generations will only get to read about it in their history books.

The fiercely fought friendly competitions help fanciers assess their birds and build the best of homing abilities. The primary purpose of these racing events is to make pigeon keeping viable for fanciers from all walks of life. Normally it is very expensive for a single fancier to meet the expenses of travel across hundreds or thousands of kilometres to assess or train his/her birds, but when fanciers come together as a club or participate in racing events, they can pool their resources and share the expenses; the little rewards for achievements keeps them motivated and provides encouragement in this otherwise rather lonesome hobby.

Children who are introduced to pigeons at an early age gain a wholesome experience. They learn about life, caring for live stock, being responsible and disciplined, impact of nutrition, importance of cleanliness, impact of disease or illness and take precautions to keep it at bay, experiencing the happiness of new birth, the heartbreak of a losing their dear bird, or the sorrow of its death.

Especially during the recent pandemic lockdowns pigeon keeping was a life saver; instead of being cooped up behind locked doors, those who had pigeons could experience the sunshine when they went up to their lofts (usually located on their terrace) and share the freedom of their feathered friends as they took to the skies. For many this was their only connect with nature during the several months of anxiety, uncertainty and gloom. Like in the times of world wars and calamity, once again the homing pigeon have not only helped people retain their sanity but also has saved their lives.

Among teenagers too, during their years of conflicting emotions and hormonal rushes, pigeon keeping keeps them mentally balanced. Instead of doing rash things to impress their peers or prove themselves, including the abuse of drugs or wheeling on main roads where quite a few have died, or going through depression, pigeon fanciers behave in a matured manner, lead a disciplined life and have a purposeful fulfilling hobby.

For people of all ages and genders, keeping homing pigeons is a great stress buster and pastime that provides an enriching and rewarding experience.


Ind-Pigeon hopes that more and more people will become aware of this incredible world of homing pigeons and come forward to lend their support through donations, sponsorships and their voluntary services in conducting the various events that help fanciers fray the expenses, provide encouragement and recognition, and celebrate their achievements even as they strive to protect, improve, and carry on the legacy of homing pigeons for the present and for generations to come.