News and Updates
Sep-28-2020
PUMPHOUSE ROAD

Today the birds got their first toss from Pumphouse Rd which is 20 miles and located at the base of Toppenish ridgeline.  We will release from the top of this ridgeline in a few days if all goes well tomorrow, then progress out to Satus Pass which is 45 miles hopefully by this coming weekend. 

1398/1400 in the clock thus far, hopefully the two stragglers make it back here shortly. 

Perfect day to toss today, sunny with not a cloud in the sky and very calm.  Supposed to be like this all week. . 

UPDATE:  Just got done loading up birds this evening, took 45 minutes to load 1,410 birds.  This was the bird's first time with any real distance at 20 miles, obviously from the increased numbers we picked up some birds who were on the other side of Konowack Pass, which is of course a great thing! 

 

Rick & Olga

Sep-28-2020
BIRDS RESPONDING WELL

Today the birds were released from the volunteer fire station right down the road from Parker Heights school.  The first group did not circle but weaved back and forth toward home for a few minutes, finally got straightened out and flew directly north.  The trailer was turned around so the opposite side would be facing the sun, sat there for a few minutes then released the remainder who headed directly home. 

When the birds get home most want to route.  This tells us the birds are really feeling "right" and want more distance.  Tomorrow the birds will be released from the wildlife refuge in Toppenish, WA off of Pump House Road.  From this location you can see Rattlesnake Ridge and Konowack Pass, if we can see it the birds can see it. 

Rick & Olga

 

Sep-26-2020
26 SEPTEMBER TOSS

This was the first toss over Rattlesnake Ridge.  The birds were released behind the volunteer fire dept in Parker, WA which is about 5 miles south of Konowack Pass and Rattlesnake Ridge.  One side of the trailer was released with the sun on it's side, the trailer was turned around and faced east before the other half were released.  Both groups headed directly home after very little circling which was a big relief to yours truly.  Crossing this ridgeline is one of our major obstacles, so we were able to give a big sigh of relief today.  Most of the birds trapped very quickly and some decided to continue to fly around or play outside.  Yesterday's toss was delayed due to overcast so they did not eat until much later than they were released today, therefore many had no real interest in going back in the loft.  It does seem that this increased distance did get most of their attention's today.  We will release from the same spot tomorrow if the weather is nice and sun is visible, if all goes well we will progress to our 20 mile spot in Toppenish, WA Monday.  From Toppenish we can see Konowack Pass, so if we can see it the birds should be able to see it too.  It is a flat valley from the bottom of Konowack Pass to Toppenish, so there should be no issue with them hitting the pass or simply flying over.  Once they get a toss or two over Konowack Pass they generally just fly right over it. 

Game plan is the following, not absolute but the game plan for now providing weather cooperates. 

Tomorrow, same place as today, 10 miles from the back of the volunteer fire station in Parker. 

Mon & Tue, base of Toppenish Ridge at the wildlife refuge, this is 20 miles. 

Wed & Thur, top of Toppenish Ridge from Oak Springs Road, this is aprox 25 miles. 

Fri, Sat, & Sun Satus Pass, 45 miles. 

Mon, Tue, & Wed Goldendale, 60 miles. 

Now the above is all tentative.  If the birds have a bad toss they get a day off, or if the weather does not cooperate.  We do not look for perfect easy days to train, or to race for that matter, most of us want a little adversite especially on race day.  However, we draw the line when it is crazy windy, fog in the passes, hard rain, snow, and especially when it is their first training toss from a new location. 

Here is something that may be of interest.  When we have the predominance of the birds trapped in for the day we drive all of the birds out of our very first section next to our office which has an active trap.  The hallway has sliding doors that slide in to the dividing walls per section, we close off the hallway dividing wall so no birds can go in to this section.  This section has water and a tray full of feed.  This way late arrivals come home to plenty of feed and water.  In the afternoon before loading birds up for the toss the next day the late arrivals are looked over to see if they have a physical impairment that is precluding them coming home in good time.  If they have a issue they are pulled, if they look fine and are full of piss and vinegar then they get put in with the rest of the birds and are tossed the next day.  Another benefit is if we ever get a cat or hawk to enter the loft while we are away from the loft, it only can get in to this one section insterad of terrorizing the entire loft.  No this has yet to happen, but is part of the reason we only leave one section and one trap open once most of the birds are back. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

 

Rick & Olga

 

 

Shout out to my military and pigeon brother Rex with the Sooner Challenge, great activation race today Rex! 

 

Rick & Olga

Sep-25-2020
KONOWACK PASS

Today it was overcast and a very light rain this morning.  It started to clear up so we headed toward Konowack pass which is about 5 air miles to the loft.  The birds were released at 12:15 with a south wind to blow them home.  When they got home many played around in the wind which has picked up since release, reports show up to 40 mph.  There are still about 20 birds out, hopefully they all make it back before we load up again this evening for tomorrow's next toss.  If the late arrivals look worn out, they will sit out training tomorrow, if they look fine and were most likely just playing around in the wind today they will be sent. 

Not happy that we keep dropping a few birds each day, especially from such short distances.  As mentioned before, we have a ridgeline that runs east and west about 5 miles south of us and is over 50 miles long.  If the birds make a mistake and get on the other side of that ridgeline and do not have the brains to get over it or through Konowack Pass, then they will have a hard time.  Having said that, all of the birds when released are watched carefully to see if they fly higher than the ridgeline.  If they do and the overwhelming majority are having no issues then this is when we proceed past Konowack Pass and expect the birds to fly over the pass after backing up a few miles to give them a running start at the pass and the ridgeline if they do not take the pass.  Once they master going over the pass things get pretty easy for us until we go to Goldendale at 60 miles and expect them to fly over Satus Pass at 45 miles, then eventually the Columbia River. 

Like we said yesterday, this is not Texas flying folks, and we can say that because we flew there too. 

 

Rick & Olga

Sep-25-2020
WAITING ON OVERCAST TO CLEAR..

Waiting on overcast to clear, a few birds have trapped from yesterday's toss. 

Be patient please. 

 

Rick & Olga

Sep-23-2020
RELEASED SHORT DUE TO OVERCAST, NOT TAKING A CHANCE!

Plan was to release today short of Konowack Pass from the same spot they were released yesterday.  The sun just would not break throug the overcast sky so decided to release them short about 3 miles away from the loft.  At the time of typing this most are in with 80 not in the clock yet.  It has begun to sprinkle just a bit and a fairly large flock continue to fly, probably the ones who are boored of our short tosses and are ready to go farther, and some are laying out on top of the loft with wings outstretched like a sun bather at the beach.  In other words, looks like most if not are accounted for. 

Thank God we are getting some cooler temps and a bit of rain, we need it to extinguish some of the small fires still burning here in the Pacific NW.  Our hearts go out to those who were affected by the fires, especially one breeder in the race this year whose home was completely burned to the ground and over 200 racing pigeons in Oregon. 

We will attempt Moxee Dump road again tomorrow as long as the sky is clear. 

 

Rick & Olga

Sep-22-2020
TODAY'S TOSS FROM MOXEE DUMP RD

Today we released the birds on the north side of Konowack pass, that is this side of the pass as we are about 5 miles north of Konowack pass and Rattlesnake Ridge.  The birds were released in groups of about 250 10 minutes apart.  We release in groups from this location so that if they decide to cross over the south side of the Rattlesnake Ridge we do not take a major loss.  Most of the birds made it home in good time, flew around for a long time then started trapping.  About the last 100 have come from the east whereas they should be coming form the south.  This tells us that a group crossed over the ridge and got disoriented.  Rattlesnake Ridge runs about 50 miles east and west.  Once the birds are training over the other side of the pass they will fly right over it which is at it's highest point about 1,200 feet high, however it is easier for them to cross over Konowack Pass instead of flying over.  Hopefully by the end of the day those who made a mistake will work their way back home where fresh water and feed will be waiting for them.  

If you read yesterday's update you will see that we mentioned that our major obstacles are Konowack Pass, Satus Pass, and the Columbia River.  I flew in TX for a few years before moving here folks, never lost any young birds in training in TX as it was flat as a pancake, not flat as a pancake here.  

We will train from the same spot tomorrow, weather depending of course.

UPDATE:  We just had a big group show up and a few stragglers continue to come in from the east, slight wind out of the N to NW.  We are down 51 birds at this moment, hopefully the rest trickle in.  Good luck to those with birds still out. 

 

Rick & Olga 

Sep-21-2020
TRAINING HAS BEGUN!

We got a 1 mile toss in yesterday and a 1.5 mile toss in today, we are training on the line of flight.  The birds have been fed in the afternoon after the tosses and since they are in such good condition they just want to fly at home so trapping is slow.  We cut their feed a bit this afternoon so trapping should be better in the morning, even though at this point we are not too concerned with fast trapping, distance takes care of the trapping. 

The last four years we have always loaded the birds in the AM, then tossed in the AM.  This year due to the number of birds in the race, we will be loading the birds in the evening which we just got done doing.  The two we have hired to help in loading the birds have jobs they have to get to in the morning so it just will work better loading in the evening.  This will allow yours truly to get the birds released early AM, instead of late AM as we have done in years past. 

Tomorrow we will start working the birds toward Konowack Pass which is about 5 miles to the south of us on the line of flight.  Once we get past Konowack Pass which is 5 miles things usually go pretty smooth.  For those who have not flown with us before, the main obstacles are Konowack Pass at 5 miles, the ridgeline at Satus Pass which is 45 miles, and crossing the Columbia River at about 70 air miles.  Cross your fingers and say your prayers that we have no bad tosses before the races begin.  

Rick & Olga 

Sep-19-2020
FIRST TOSS TODAY

Smoke finally cleared up so we were finally able to start training today.  The first toss was from only one mile but is necessary to get the birds head's screwed on straight for the days ahead.  When the birds got home many continued to fly for quite some time, at the time of writing this a few are still out having a fun time.  Distance, thirst and hunger take care of trapping.  

We will train every day next week as long as the weather permits and the smoke stays out of here. 

Thanks for everyone's patience.

 

Rick & Olga

 

Sep-09-2020
SMOKE.

Several NW fires in the area have forced us to hold off on road training until the air is clear.  When the air becomes clear we will start road training and not before so.  Until then the birds go out of the loft every day, however they are not forced to fly. 

Health is still exceptional this year, we could not be happier with the way the birds look and handle.  Most are on #7 or #8 flight so having pulled 9 and 10 they will have a full wing when it is time for the first race. 

Everyone please be patient, there is not much we can do under the current conditions. 

 

Rick & Olga

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