2018 CU 3978 Hen
Sire: 2011 CU 2929
Dam: 2014 CU 4813,
ACE Young Bird and double granddaughter inbred to CU 97 CAL 2648;
2014 CU 4813 bred also 2015 CU 2417, ACE BIRD, ACE Cock, and ACE YEARLING in 2016;
a full brother of 2014 CU 4813 bred also the 2016 ACE bird for Joe van Kreuningen in BC;
2018 CU 3978 had just one 100 km training toss (plus many short ones) as preparation for the 2018 Alberta Open race of 607 km
and arrived at 8:54 AM the second day, beating all my other birds and all those of my Edmonton competitors who were waiting for their first birds all day - in vain, a very tough race indeed.
The 2018 Alberta Open race birds were released from Parkbeg on September 29th shortly after daybreak at 8 AM. As the Edmonton birds were heading to the NNW the winds soon changed and blew
from the NNW while becoming gradually stronger to reach 25 km/hr gusting to 35 km/hr around Kerrobert. Racing Pigeon fanciers are usually in awe of and admiring the performances of their feathered friends that can only be determined by the race basket. Think about it: these birds had to orient accurately when they were released 600 km away from home in a place they had never been to before. And yet while these birds that truly deserve the name "racing pigeon" were unerringly winging their way towards home the wind pushed them back a yard for every 3 yards they gained. Still the determined ones kept fighting. Their manager at home was hoping that they had enough fuel stored for this journey. His mind was going over the calculations again and again. The day length this late in September in Edmonton is 11 hours. A racing pigeon flies approximately 75 km/hr on a day without any wind but that shrinks to 50 km/hr if one subtracts the 25 km/hr head wind from it. The birds would therefore need approximately 607km/50 km/hr=12 hrs to complete this task. The bird will not have enough time to complete this challenge during daylight hours of the first day even without any quick stop for some water. The bird will therefore need to look for a safe place to spend the night, hopefully without being detected by or be accessible to some cat or owl. In the morning the determined ones will rise and continue their flight home, the only place on earth where a real racing pigeon can be truly happy.
For Edmonton birds the 2018 Alberta Open developed into a very difficult race of 607 km with headwinds averaging 25 km/hr all along the course all day. It can be likened to the Barcelona race for young birds.
Some racing pigeons with an inadequate orientation ability would need to fly many excess kilometers. Since the fuel they carried could have lasted only for 11 hrs their metabolism needed to burn some muscle mass to use for extra fuel. Consequently some of these came home late on the second day in poor condition. Others decided to join a feral flock and find enough nourishment in the fields during the present harvest season. A few of these will continue their journey when in good condition again. Since they are young birds they rely mainly on their sun compass. Should they stay too long their internal clock will shift which will make an eventual homecoming less likely. They as well as the ones with less desire for home may just settle in with the resident flock.
A few people are of the opinion that a pigeon race should not be so difficult that every pigeon cannot complete it successfully. Such an opinion is based on the assumption that all racing pigeons are created equal, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Every racing pigeon is unique and if one were to create a race that every entered pigeon could complete successfully, such an affair would not be suitable for letting the "cream rise to the top". Although like can never beget like completely, the better an athlete and navigator a pigeon, the more likely he or she can pass the genetic material responsible for such a talent on to its offspring. That is why 2018 CU 3978 will have a place in my stock loft. I don't think that she could have performed any better, considering that my competitors from Edmonton had to wait over 2 weeks for the return of their first bird.
2018 CU 3978 Hen
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