Tuesday, May 20, 2014


David Quinn Contreras decided to do a project on pigeons for his school science class.  He contacted area California racing homing pigeon fanciers and found Frank Camuso to work with.  He won first place with his project!  So, we wanted to know how the project came about and his process.  David shared his process with us:

"I had a few pairs of show pigeons (jacobins, double crested trumpeters, tumblers, fantains and a few others) as pets.

I originally was going to do my project on pigeon genetics (color combinations) because I had read about Charles Darwin and his scientific experiments with pigeons.  Darwin bred different show pigeons and the babies eventually looked like the wild Rock pigeons.  Pigeons helped him prove that all pigeons, even though they look different came from one original breed.  He proved the same thing with finches and other animals.  He also said that people may look different, but we are all humans.

I needed more time to do a project on genetics because the deadline was 4 weeks away, so I decided to do it on racing pigeons.  I owned two racing pigeons, but they were not trained.  I didn't know how I was going to do my project without racing pigeons, so my mom contacted the AU and they gave her some numbers to call.  The nearest to us was Mr. Camuso and the Palos Verdes 4-H Club.  Mr Camuso was out of town, but he told my mom we were welcome to use his pigeons for my experiment and his loft manager Juan Aguilar would help us. We drove with Juan a few times to release the pigeons. We had to wake up at 5 in the morning! Dee Keese and Ed Fuller from the 4-H club also taught me about pigeons and I met other kids who are involved in pigeon racing.  Two weeks ago at the 4-H, I competed in Showmanship with my Racing pigeons and won first place; my Jacobin won Best of Show.

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I did a school Science Project on which is faster a car or a Racing Pigeon.  My hypothesis was that a pigeon is faster and I had to prove it using the scientific process (hypothesis, experimentation procedure, conclusion) My procedure was to time how long it took a pigeon to fly to it's loft and compare to how long it would take to drive. Out of four trials the pigeon won one, because there was traffic. One was a tie.  As we arrived at Mr. Camuso's loft we saw the pigeons flying in.  The other two the car was faster, but not by much of a difference.

In the process of completing the project, I learned a math formula for calculating time (speed = distance divided by time) This was hard for me because I have trouble with reading time and I'm not a big fan of math.  I learned how to band a pigeon before the race. How to clock a pigeon.  How to load pigeons on the truck that takes them to the race. The names of the colors (blue bar, blue check, pied, red, grizzle, splash, white flight etc.) I learned to make sure the pigeon is healthy and has all his flight feathers before sending him on a race. That pigeons are fast and amazing because they can fly for many miles and find their way home without a map!

I won a prize for first place.  The first through third place winners were announced for each grade at the school assembly and I received a medal. Then the winning projects from the other schools in Torrance were placed on display at the High School and all first place winners received a trophy at a ceremony.

After my experience, I think of Mr. Camuso and other club members as family because we all have pigeons and we have a love for pigeon racing and pigeons.  Mr Camuso is very giving. If you have an emergency he is the person to turn to."
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