The Race

The ‘Old Bird’ season begins in the spring. Old birds are not really old; they are from 1 year to 5 or 6 years old.  Pigeons live up to 15 years.


Usually 10 races are run, one every week. Then a break and the “Young Birds”, those hatched this year race 6 or 7 races in the summer.


All birds must be banded with a non removable A.U. (National Association) band as a 3 to 5 day old chick to insure their age.


Birds also get either an electronic band for their racing life or a manual clocking band the night before the race (Fridays) at the club prior to shipping to the race.


The birds are put in shipping boxes at the Woodinville club house about 7pm and about 8pm the concourse (4 member clubs) truck arrives to pick them up and drive south.


On Saturday morning all birds are released together. From 400 to 600 birds, depending on the number of participants and the number of birds he has decided to fly for that race. Races are from 100 miles to 600 miles for old birds and 100 miles to 300 miles for young birds.


On Saturday late morning the birds return to your loft and are either automatically clocked if you have that system, or if using the manual system you will catch the bird in your loft, take off the manual band and put into a clocking timer and turn the handle.


Yes, we will teach you how to do it, and have clocks we can loan you.


Photo Auto Pad      

 Photo Clock


Saturday early PM at a predetermined time, all flyers meet at the club house for what is called “Knock off”.  Here in about an hour all race times are recorded.


You will see immediately how you did with the club and a day or so later you can log onto “” to see how you did against all other flyers in the “Evergreen Concourse”.



Rain, wind, temperature, and fog can play an important part in the race. Important enough that given excessive weather, the race release manager can delay or cancel a race on Saturday morning, or move to a different release point.


Weather concerns are discussed in more detail under training.


 Whereas heavy rain, hot air temperatures or fog can delay or cancel a race, wind has the greatest potential to affect race results. A 20 mph head wind will slow the birds by 20 mph and a 20 mph tail wind will speed things up correspondingly.


However, most racing pigeons don't fly in a straight line from start to home. They circle on occasion, perhaps following another pigeon or to regain bearings, or they will follow a winding roadway. These common variations can enhance or diminish the effects of wind speed and direction.

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