News and Updates

Good toss today from Goldendale, this was their fourth time at our 60 mile station.  It was very windy along the course, the first birds obviously hit a tail wind which is not normal here as most of the wind we get is W to NW.  Olga was here at the loft running the clock and she said that most of the birds ran right in when they arrived but many just played around outside.  It was cool and windy this morning and the birds were fed later in the morning yesterday after loft flying, a sign that they were not phased by a 60 mile toss and they were not starving.  Tomorrow morning the birds will get fed early AM, loaded on the trailer late PM, then driven to the release point for the activation race so they can rest before being released around 7 AM on Monday morning.  All of the birds are home but one, hopefully it shows up today along with a few others who may of stayed out overnight. 

Activation race is Monday the 24th.  If you have not sent your activation fees yet then please do so Monday or Tuesday at the latest so Saturday evening we can go through and mark everyone off who has paid.  Any birds not paid for by Saturday will be offered on a first come first serve basis to those interested in activating pigeons for the race.  Remember, the post office does not deliver on Sunday so make sure you mail your entry fees early enough in the week so we receive them on time, no exceptions.  


Rick & Olga 


Most of the birds had a easy time of tackling 87 miles today from the cemetary just north of Grass Valley, OR.  The birds were released in groups 10 minutes apart in an attempt to outsmart the falcons who like to hang out along the cliffs of the Columbia River.  It was cool this morning at release in the 40s and at return is nearing 70.  To start off it was very windy with gusts out of the west but about half way home it was dead calm and same at the loft.  Olga said that when the birds started to arrive they wasted very little time going in for a drink.  There were about 50 birds who just wanted to fly over the cemetary, I can only assume that the 25 missing are some of those.  As always, one of the sections with a working trap for live clocking will be left open for late arrivals with a feeder full of feed so they can hopefully rebound if they end up staying out for some reason or another after their loft mates have already returned. 

Since the birds did so well today and most trapped very quickly, they earned a day off tomorrow.  They will be trained again Saturday, loaded late evening Sunday, and we will get to the release point for the activation race a few hours before liberation next monday. 

Thank you to those of you who have already sent in your activation fees.  This is a HUGE help to us so that we are not receiving all of the activation fees at the last minute and trying to process everything and identifying those who we need to give one last chance before we make birds available for others to purchase in the event the original breeder is unable to activate their birds.  The previous two years we have hosted this race we have only had 3 pigeons that we had to find homes for, so lets keep that number to 3 please. 

If any of you want to activate birds that may not get activated on time then please let us know ASAP, we are compiling a list of interested individuals, first come first serve basis. 

Cut off to get activation fees to us is next Saturday, don't get caught off guard.

Almost forgot to mention, last toss from Goldendale on Tuesday CORP 2608 came home all tore up from a bird of prey attack.  The bird had a lung pierced and died shortly after arrival.


Rick & Olga

The birds had a good toss today with most trapping within a few minutes of the first.  They will get rested tomorrow and we will hit the road again Thursday, then train again Friday and Saturday, or Thursday then Saturday if it looks like they need a day off Friday after Thursday's toss.  Tentatively the activation race will be next Monday, but that all depends upon how this week's training goes. 

Thanks to those of you who have already sent your activation fees.  Like we said before, if you end up having fewer birds to activate after the activation race than you sent fees in for we will send you a refund.  Please do not wait until the last minute because after the activation race the first race will be 7 days later, not much time to get your fees in to us. 

Rick & Olga
If you have been reading the updates you will know by now that I suspect a falcon or two has had our number when the birds try to cross the Columbia River.  Today I released the birds in 6 different groups 20 minutes apart starting at 9:30.  All the way to the release point it was patchy clouds with the sun shining through when the clouds were not in the way.  After the last birds were released as we got closer to Satus Pass which is about 40 miles from the loft, it was overcast but a high overcast and just a rain drop here and there while driving 70 MPH, so not enough to affect the birds you would think, but they are after all young birds.  Once past Satus Pass it was sunny with patchy clouds, at release a ever so slight west wind and at the loft just a bit stronger, probably 10 MPH.  We were able to see some of the birds arrive and they came way out of the east, some even out of the north which is the second time they have done this.  Not sure if they are flying to the next ridge about 5 miles to the north when they come out of the east then they are banking back south toward the loft, or if they are indeed overflying.  Some of the birds came diving from up high out of the north so I can only assume some overflew.  Most of the birds have arrived but we are still waiting on stragglers.  The weather app we use says 16 mph SW to 23 mph gusts, but I can tell you it is much stronger than that out here at our house.  Hopefully the rest of the birds make it in today so they can recoup. 
We will not be training tomorrow because HWY 97 is going to be closed for maintenance, this is pretty much the only road we can take as it is a straight shot south on the line of flight unless we want to drive 2 hours out of our way.  It is only scheduled to be closed for one day so we will resume next Tuesday and are shooting for the activation race the following Monday. 
We wish we could get every single bird home when we take the birds out training, and of course when the races come.  However, this is a VERY unforgiving course with the varied terrain and obstacles the birds must face while they are away from the loft, especially our windy conditions which can go from dead calm to blowing the shingles off your house the next.  If you want to fly over open grain fields or tailwind courses, this is not the course for you.  We will tell you that if you can get a bird to the final race on this course then you have a very good pigeon, if places up toward the top then it is excellent!
Hang in there folks, we are sincerely trying to do our best to insure we have a competitive race series for those of you who have entrusted your birds with us. 
Rick & Olga
Today it was cool and overcast with no wind.  The birds were rested for the second day in a row and they flew long and high today.  We got on top of the loft and made sure that everybody flew and they all did and all birds flew for at least 30 minutes, some for a few hours.  No birds came in breathing hard so there is no signs of respiratory.  One bird, Clausing 177 returned today with two broken legs and a badly bruised chest and broken breast bone, that bird had to be put down. 
We will resume training tomorrow and will shoot for the activation race not this coming Monday but the following which will be the 24th of September. 
Rick & Olga
The birds are out loft flying and they will be loft flown tomorrow as well.  We will resume training on Sunday weather permitting. 

Rick & Olga
Terry and Greg Gilmore were working on the Wincompanion site today, sorry it took so long to get today's toss on the Wincompanion main page.

This was the second day from Wasco which is a 70 mile toss.  I believe that when the birds cross the Columbia River they are getting hit by a falcon.  I feel this because from past experience flying this course in our combine and with the Apple Cup, that if they come broken up all day it usually means they were attacked.  For those who do not understand our course, just be assured that is is not the easiest of courses to fly.  The birds have to cross Rattlesnake Ridge 5 miles to the south, Toppenish Ridge 20 miles south, Satus Pass which is a little over 3,000 ft tall and is a pine forest with lots of hawks at the 40 mile mark, then over the Columbia River about 65 miles south of the loft before it really levels out and eventually heads back in to woodland areas. 

Since the birds continue to struggle, we are going to give them a few days off.  When they return home they look fresh, which makes things even more confusing.  We ran them on a respiratory treatment before training started, when they land they are not panting and prance around and do not even look tired.  However, just to be sure we are going to treat the birds for respiratory and canker just to make sure that we are not missing something that we can not see with the naked eye. 

For now, we are going to put off the activation race until we feel the birds are ready. 

Sorry for the lost birds everyone, believe me no one feels worse than we do. 

Rick & Olga 
All we can figure is that the birds got hit by a bird of prey and split up trying to cross the Columbia River.  Our 70 mile training spot is about 5 miles south of the river and our 60 mile training spot is 5 miles north of the river, which they had been to twice and did fine.  Getting the birds to cross the river is always a big obstacle, some years it is easier than others.  Hopefully we get a few more birds to filter in this evening and tomorrow morning. 

Rick & Olga
Before everyone starts texting, emailing, and calling on why the birds are so spread out today, the heading should answer the question.  Olga called me about 15 mins before I got home from the toss and said that a hawk a little larger than a pigeon was out at the loft scaring the pigeons.  She then went out by the loft to make sure the hawk would not return.  I have been out here for several hours trying to whistle the birds in but they are having no part of it.  Also part of the problem is that they had feed in front of them all day yesterday and they simply are not hungry.  From my estimation with the birds in the loft and those out screwing around, we are over 700 birds so most have made it home already. 

Be patient folks, most of the birds are already here so please do not panic! 

Rick & Olga 
Today was the second toss from Goldendale, a little over 60 miles.  At release it was a little overcast but the sun was shining through, 5 miles up the road it was clear and the sun was shining through all the way home.  There was a slight west wind at release, less than 10 mph.  Today most of the birds came in very good time as usual, however about 10% struggled.  I believe from watching the birds coming home in singles now, that they split up sometime after they hit the mountains after being hit by a bird of prey.  Our Goldendale release point is about 10 miles from the base of the mountains, Satus Pass our 40 mile training station is about 10 miles further and is the highest point along the ridge line.  Again, I believe that the birds got hit and some got split off from the flock once they hit the mountains based upon how they are now coming home in singles and out of the east whereas they should come out of the south or slightly SE.  I will keep a eye on how the birds return today and in what kind of shape they are in, physically and mentally.  If we get most of them in before dark then we will hit the road again.  It is not too hot today so if the birds are out most of the day because they got off track or if they are hiding in the trees somewhere after being hit by a bird of prey which I suspect happened, they will still be in good shape for a toss tomorrow if they LOOK RIGHT.  If they look worn down then they will of course either get held back from the next trainer, or we will just rest the whole flock.  The birds have fresh water with Primilac, Avian Solution, and Red Cell in the water which they get daily.  Fresh grit and feed will also be in front of them all day, we pour it out in the evening as late as possible before it gets dark. 

Rick & Olga
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