Thursday, April 19, 2018

Auction to Benefit Youth

We can support the pigeon racing hobby by ensuring our youth have a good start and thereby perpetuate the sport for generations to come.  The Northwest Juniors Racing Pigeon Club is a great example of a project that has worked for over 15 years.

Jim Gabler shared that America's Dream Loft has a history of supporting the sport in many ways and their plan for the fall is an Auction of the Legions.  Jim said, "That auction will bring top donated birds and hopefully we can get only birds that are winners or who have bred winners.  It will be an internet auction followed by a live auction.  ADL will organize and do all the promotion and work with the income from the sale going to the kids."

The Northwest Juniors RPC was selected as the recipient based upon the founder's 16 years of experience doing the right things for kids.

They are looking forward to this happening in the fall, so keep an eye out for an opportunity to take part in a project that benefits the future of the hobby of racing homing pigeons.

Mount Pleasant Pigeon Club Benefit Race

In the Winter 2017-2018 Update newsletter, we shared that Charlie Klipsch and the Mount Pleasant Pigeon Club developed an event to benefit the Lafayette Industries special needs workshop.  Support is expected to triple!

Last year - 
The only people invited to the race day event were the donors and any press Charlie pre-screened.  They did a series of 4 releases in order to include demonstration of orientation, exercise and conditioning and then the race. . . It was such a unique activity that the organization wants Charlie to repeat it next year.

Here is an update from Charlie outlining this year's event - (April 16, 2018) 

Charlie was at a meeting last week regarding the Lafayette Charity Fundraiser Race in September.  

These are the things that are confirmed so far.

On Friday Sept. 14th:

1) 100 "Doves of Peace" release at 1:00 P.M.
2) Picture taking with at least 10 special needs people holding pigeons.
3) Written messages to be sent with pigeons to be read the next day.
4) Speech about pigeons and the fundraiser sponsorship for the races the
     next day
5) The "Mayor" of the City of Manchester and Office Staff will be in
6) The City Aldermen will be there
7) The City Police Chief and staff
8) The Fire Department with Truck etc. on display
9) A special group of women volunteers, to handle the free "hot dog day" for
     the 350 workshop people
10) And of course the Mount Pleasant Pigeon Club will be there
11) The street will be blocked off from traffic to help create a gala affair.

On Saturday Sept. 15th:

1) Expecting about 150 - 200 people in Charlie's back yard to view the races
2) Two races involving 25 pigeons in each race 30 minutes apart
3) A reading of the messages sent by the special needs people from the day
4) Distribution of the gifts for the winners
5) Acknowledgement of the benefactors, corporate sponsors, and local
6) Present a trophy and award for the M.V.P. (most valuable pigeon for the
     "Most Valuable Person")
7) Presentation of the money collected to the C.E. O. of Lafayette Industries

Enjoy some pictures from last year . .  

Corporate Sponsors

70+ people attended in 2017.

The race birds landing.

Where's My Pigeon?

April 14, 2018


Hi all!

We have been trying the GPS tracking devices on our pigeons and we are finally learning how our pigeons come home from Idaho to Montana over the last 100 miles of pure Rocky Mountain terrain. It is amazing to see pigeons flying across high mountains at 9,600 feet. Some of the peaks are 11,000 feet high. We are getting the data of birds taking some very different routes.  With the amount of snow on some of these ranges now they must have an incredible view from up there.  (!)   What we are getting now with via the GPS is every three minutes we have the location, elevation and speed of the bird, which then is transferred to the map.  I'm attaching one of the race maps. 

What we have learned so far is that they are not following the roads or rivers and it looks like mountains are no obstacle to them.  Montana is not a place where we can train pigeons to come home in a straight line.  They need to be trained from 360 degrees because their venturing into the mountains can guarantee unexpected conditions and unfamiliar territory.   

Need a larger image?  Click here.

As Jim Jenner wrote once about our Montana-bred pigeons, "These are rock-solid, badass, find-their-way-from-anywhere, long distance mountain homing pigeons, my friend."  Now we have the proof. 

This is just the beginning of tracking.  It will be amazing to learn more as we move with the technology.  I am not associated with the GPS company, but if you'd like to try it, here is a link to order it.  We've found it works well. 

Dusan Smetana

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


April 17, 2018

There has been a wonderful development recently in Petoskey, Michigan that must be shared.  Our hats off to the organizer, Mike Netzky for his perseverance in his desire to share the love of his boyhood pastime, racing Homing Pigeons, with youth in his city.  He may joke about this project being the only way he can win a race, but when you hear him share his story, you will know better.

In February 2018, The Racing Pigeon Digest magazine featured an article submitted by Mike, and the project information  was also featured in The Petoskey News.  The project is the new Flying Clovers 4-H Racing Pigeon Club.  It is taking shape.  Mike has traveled and interviewed extensively to get the best information to help them get started.  So now it is happening. 

Day to day reports are coming in with birds settling and the kids sending their race entry forms in to the AU office.  This year is a repeat of a double opportunity - the AU's annual National Youth Race that is held in conjunction with the AU's annual national convention, and the AU Midwest Youth Race, which is held during the annual Midwest Convention.

Here, we can enjoy a peek into their preparations . . . 

Twice a day offer food.  Are you using the feeders or just offering by hand or tray?  Leave it for about 15 minutes, then take it away.  Are they drinking water?  The training should start soon, but let them start to eat regularly and certainly make sure that you follow a very rigid schedule.  The more consistent you are with feeding times, flying times, and visits to them, you will find that they will expect those things right on schedule.  Keep a written record of what happens on a regular basis with your observations and visits with them.  As Larry Davis, a friend of mine, says, "If it's not written down, it didn't happen!" 

We are using a small Tupperware filled with feed because the birds don't want to sit still and let you hold and feed them for long but we are trying... and they are drinking not quite as much as they should I think but they are drinking. 

So, is this what you mean by settling?

And another family picked up their birds . . . 

Did you enroll the kids or your family in the AU?  I would like to send the birds to the race handlers very soon.  How are the birds doing?  Need a hand moving the loft to the penthouse level?  

Also, please make sure the birds can find the water.  If any are sitting around blinking their eyes, dip their beaks into the water.

And, the homeschool family of 8 has received their birds!

Getting the paperwork in . . . almost ready to ship.  How fun!

Next task . . . writing letters to the donors.  

May 3, 2018

Hey Funseekers, this Saturday morning I will be driving down to the Bay City-Frankenmuth area not only to pick up young birds, but to visit the loft of Gary Davis.  Gary is a member of the Frankenmuth Racing Pigeon Club.  They have 22 old bird races every Saturday for the next few months.  His and the club's birds will be released 8-8:30 am on Saturday morning.
Gary estimates that with a possible tail wind his birds could be flying 60 mph, which will bring his birds home around 11 am.  The race from the release point to his loft is 162 miles.

Gary and I would like to extend an invitation for you to go on Saturday.  Among other things we will be watching his birds return. I will be spending more time after the arrival of his birds picking up birds from various locations in the area.  

I hope some of you will take advantage of the wonderful opportunity to learn more and more.  Let me know what you think.  Mike

May 4, 2018

Hey Funseekers, today is a "Star Wars" day.
May the fourth be with you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 9, 2018

Hey Flying Clovers, I hope you all got the email from Tanya and have read it!!!   When I heard what she will talk about and the excitement in her voice, tears almost came to my eyes.  Tonya is a REAL expert on 4-H.  She will explain so many of the benefits of 4-H, and you will find out how they will really coordinate with our racing pigeon club.

Please, please, please, please, make it to the meeting.  You won't be sorry.  And after this May 13, 1:30 Pellston airport meeting, leave yourselves enough time to go down 'da road to Tonya's house.  You won't be disappointed.  (Among many, many other sites will be a "naked chicken")

Your wing man,

P.S.  I want to hear all your experiences with your new birds.

May 11, 2018

Hey Flying Clovers, all your birds have been sent to the Gary Heindel in WI for the Midwest National Youth Race on October 12.  The birds will be released that day, weather permitting, from Holmen, WI and fly to Kaukauna, WI (Freedom WI)  approximately 150 miles.  When training begins you will be given monthly updates on how your birds are doing via    What I found so far for your listings are numbers 194-202, 211-214, and 549-571 on the list.

I will be going downstate tomorrow to pickup more birds.  If you need birds, please let me know.  Monday or Tuesday of this coming week I will send nine more birds to the AU National Youth Race for the Oct.18 race to go with the four birds I've already sent.

Please don't forget the meeting on Sunday.


Now, a share from Tonya . . . 

Angry mother with squab.

May 13, 1:30 p.m.
(Mother's Day & Mike's birthday!)
Flying Clovers Meeting Day

We passed out very ample supplies of Primalac which was donated by Star Labs.  Tanya gave a great explanation of 4-H ideas and projects which coincide with our racing pigeon club.  Many of which take advantage of the perks of 4-H.

We discussed our young bird training program and other pertinent ideas.  After the meeting most of us went down da' road to Tonya's and "experienced" her menagerie. 

May 19, 2018

Hey Flying Clovers,

Yesterday, Friday, I started training the 11 birds I have in section #3 of my loft.  These birds have been isolated from the outside area for at least two weeks until last Monday in which I opened the #3 aviary to their "window to the world".  They spent much of the time during the days proceeding Friday enjoying the sunshine and observing their new (to them) additional (outside) environment.

Thursday I fed them about 1/3 the rations I normally feed them and of course every time they're fed the whistle is used.  Friday morning about 10:30 I opened the front of their aviary.  They were free to escape if they wished.  Of the eleven, 8 chose to leave the loft.  Two took off to "who knows where".
The remaining 6 who chose to remain outside experimented with flying either to the roof of the loft or out a small distance and then returning to the landing board/loft front.  I waited about 15 more minutes to see if the 3 inside would come out.  They didn't and I certainly did not force them to.  

Then I went inside and activated the trap opening in which prevented the 3 inside from moving out into the aviary.  Now 3 inside could not go out, but any of the birds outside could enter the loft.  I sat outside watching for a while.  One bird trapped within 10 minutes.  I went inside and gave it a small amount of food while blowing the whistle.  The 5 birds on the roof remained there all but making short flights around the loft.  Then I put a very small amount of food on the landing board.  When they looked down from the roof, they could see the small amount of feed there.

I went back inside and blew the whistle and also gave a little food to the birds inside.  This accomplished two things.  One it set off a feeding frenzy with the birds inside which I knew the birds on the roof could hear.  And second, it associated the whistle to the food with the birds on the roof.  Soon the birds on the roof came down.  Some started eating the small amount of feed on the landing board and the others trapped in immediately to the sound of the birds inside eating frantically and the whistle sound.  Within a very short time the 5 birds all came in.

That left the 2 who were off to "who knows where".  At 6:30 pm that evening I saw #10 land on the roof.  I immediately went inside the loft and started a feeding frenzy again while blowing the whistle and #10 came in instantly.  A small amount of feed went to him by hand.

#11 appeared at 8:30 pm on the landing board.  I went through the same procedure as I did with #10, and he trapped immediately.

Wow, wowwow!!!!!  What a wonderful and fun experience!!!!!!

I'm attaching some pictures of these events.

Having Fun, fun, fun, 


Monday, April 9, 2018

Honoring Pigeoneer, Ed Schmidt

Long time AU member, Ed Schmidt, has devoted his life to pigeons, the national organization and service to this country.

Ed was fascinated with pigeons by the age of 6.  At 14, he joined the Elgin, Illinois Homing Pigeon Club.  At the young age of 100, Ed remains an active member in the club to this day.

His involvement with homing pigeons led him to be chosen as a Pigeoneer in WW II as a US Army Staff Sergeant in the Fighting 279th Pigeon Signal Unit.

Schmidt and his unit trained homing pigeons to carry messages to troops quickly to areas that radio signals could not reach or posed a threat if sent over open air.  The pigeons were taken to the front lines armed with small red capsules that contained vital information to be taken back to headquarters.  Only the best birds were used and the elite were trained to fly at night.

Rightfully so, Ed is very proud of the work his unit did saving many lives.  

When Schmidt returned home, he managed to bring home his favorite pigeon, Lady.  Ed dreamed of becoming a veterinarian but instead made a living by determining the sex of baby chicks within the first two weeks of life.  

Eventually the hatcheries he worked with moved south and so he moved and built his career with a brokerage company.  Ed has been retired for some time.  Still today, Ed travels throughout the south and midwest as an auctioneer.  

He has served as president for the Fox Valley Combine, Elgin Homing Pigeon Club, the Chicago Feed Club and the American Racing Pigeon Union.  Ed was inducted into the AU Hall of Fame and received an achievement award from the Dixie Southern Racing Pigeon Association.

Because of this list of lifetime achievements, the Fox Valley Combine recently honored Ed with his peers present.  The combine made a presentation on behalf of their local organizations and the AU as well.  

Ed said, "The key to my long life is that I never smoked, never drank and never went out with girls, but only one of these is true...I never smoked.  Luck and genes have been on my side."

In addition to a handsome clock, the combine gifted him with a monogrammed jacket and Fighting 279th t-shirt.  Ed was most humble and appreciative and thanked the AU, the combine, club and all involved for his special tribute.

AU member, John Rems shared details of the event and said, "We all had a wonderful time with this Legend!"

Ed, thank you for your support of your hobby and service to this country!