News and Updates

  Hi  Hope all is well.

  Today I have a few updates for you. First, Bernie Bedard and his buddy Guy came on Thurdsay past and took videos of the birds flying aroud the loft. It was just wonderful and Linda and I thank them for a job well done. Bernie's daughter Josie did a fantastic job pulling together a smooth, cohesive video of Bernie swinging the camara and saying" look at the birds over here, look at the birds over there, see them up high." Just kidding. 

  Today, before the birds were released, I caught about sixty and placed them in baskets. The birds were released into the traps. As they were recorded we checked to make sure the electronic rings were working. Several were not. Our bands come in 3 colours, black, maroon and blue. Apparently the maroon and blue are not as reliable. This month, as we go along, we will change all to black bands. There are still several birds to band and these will be done this week.

  About 700 birds, give or take 50 or so, look like and act like old birds. The balance still have some baby feathers and just don't look the part yet. All are now tooting around the sky like mad men and they all need to start going up the road. This is the week. Short tosses it will be and in small groups.

  On the not so serious side, I believe one fancier out there, who has entered his birds in our race, has a better grasp of the science of genetics than the rest of us. I spent a considerable amount of time this afternoon observing his creation. He has found a way to cross a pigeon with a duck. The bird is a male. He has webs between his toes. His feather is very shiny, odd paterned but brilliant in colour. It is very vocal and when it parades and spins in front of the hens, it ends every outburst with a quack. That, or it has a speech inpediment.



   For the second time, in as many weeks, this damn program has logged out while I am in the middle of typing and I have to do it all over. I need to type faster or get a program allows one finger typing.

  Happy Canada Day!

  Don't forget your sunscreen when you go out. Lord it's hot.

  On Saturday, early am, we locked the birds out and flagged them for 30 minutes. All fly well except 25 or so that are either to fat or just plain lazy and they need to be helped along. The rest of the day they had open loft. At 5 pm we locked them out again but we did not force them to fly. Most flew any way.

  I assumed my favourite position on the SS Empire deck [streched out,on my back,looking at the sky] and watched the birds circle over the field. At one point almost all of them were flying around the loft in a long chain. As the last passed over, the first would appear again. Then, the salmon in the group, as always, spoiled the sight. There or those who just have to swim up stream and create chaos. A slam bam happened directly above me. Alcohol may have been a factor.

  I know there are a couple of bands that are not working and 2 birds that were missing are back. They have no band. I will correct those soon. We  have purchased the GPS system from Nick Fan and we have a few birds in the loft that are registered under Empire GPS Team who will be our Test Birds. Later, we will offer the use of the bands to you who may want them placed on your entries.

  Today, we will set the clock and open the trap at noon. It will be under Results/trainer/loft fly 1.


JUNE 26,2018 RECAP

   I just spent 45 minutes typing an update only to watch it disappear into the wild blue yonder. Damn, I hate computers.  Now you get the short version of what I had to say.

   Mondays birds came in so fast, I suspected that a large number had climbed over their buddies backs. We let the birds out early and opened the trap right away. Any bird that wanted to come in, was allowed. No waiting today. For two hours I watched them come in and not once did a missing number pop onto the screen. Frustrating, to say the least. 

   To keep myself from going insane, I decided to clean the cupboards and desk top. There I found the answer to my problems. I had forgotten to plug in the trap. Funny thing is that I had read earlier in the morning how 400,000 Canadians had some form of dementia. I'm number 576.

   I walked the birds out again, opened the trap and the first three to enter registered. By the end of the day, all was well again. Last night I slept.

  The birds are healthy and flying well. All were in the air on Tuesday for at least an hour with most flying lots more. The hawk only has to show himself at the property line now and they are up and away. A bit more loft flying to give the later once time to grow into their wings and then it will be up the road I go. We will do updates on Wincompanion once a week from now on.



   A bit of a problem setting up the clock today. When I opened the trap for a few the rest became anxious and when it was their turn the numbers coming in at once were unbelievable. The clock went a bit haywire. I did a physical count, three times and I believe 896 birds are in the loft. All were in when darkness set in. We will try again tomorrow only I'll feed before I let them out and open up early to give them lots of opportunity to come in at a slower speed.


JUNE 25,2018

   The sun is out, a slight breeze, so it's a great morning. We have completed the hand inventory and this morning, I will complete the corrections on the our site. There were 885 birds that were AOK, their bands worked. There are about 20 that do not. We will redo these this morning, and when the birds come in tonight, we should have a new inventory list. Check under results/trainers on the website for the list. The problem with winter is you,ve forgotten all you learned last summer. It takes an old horse a little longer to get the cart rolling again.

   Saturday afternoon was not a fun time for the birds that were out. They were scared out of their wits and about 60 spent the night out on the backside of the roof. On Sunday it was better, but 12 still wouldn't come in. I let the birds out at 6 AM this morning and hope that by tonight, all will settle down. The health of the birds is fantastic and there are groups of birds flying almost all the time they are out. On Sunday, all the birds were in the air for more than an hour. They are rambling and disappearing out of sight. We'll give the last group a bit of time to catch up to the earlier birds and then it's time to start training.

   On a side note, for those of you who's birds like to fly into your faces, could you please trim their toe nails before you send them to me next year. Thanks


SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018

   It may have been fathers day, but for me, it wasn't a quiet one. With all the birds out and while we did our Sunday clean up, The Coopers continually haressed the birds. It is time to bring in the army, or at least someone who can focus on the target.

  Tomorrow we start hand inventory and the correction of our mistakes and replacing a few bands that didn't read properly. It was great seeing so many birds fly, just would have been better if they had gone up when they were ready, not because of fear. 


   We have completed the banding process and uploaded all the info to our site. Unfortunately, you can't see it untill the birds enter the trap and are clocked. All of the birds are settled except for about 70 late ones. They will join the flock on Sunday and then all will enter the traps. Untill then, I  can tell you that as of last evening there were about 918 birds in the loft. Sickness, hawks and losses off the roof took care of the rest.

   There are definetely mistakes. We are off by a didget or made a typing error here and there and some, the identity names were wrong. That we can't fix untill the birds go in by the traps and then we do hand inventory. Next weeks job.

   All the birds were outside on Friday including the last 70 in their settling cage. The Cooper made sure all of them did a lap or two around the farm. 

   The molt has come a long way. Most look like yearlings now and now spend an awfull lot of time in the corners calling for a mate. 



Hi All: 

      We are almost complete with the banding of the birds. We will upload the list , probably today.      There are two people with handicaps doing this work. One has failing eyesight and is going deaf and the other is deaf with failing eyesight. There are mistakes! As soon as things are up, we will be corecting them so you will see numbers go off into thin air, but they will be back. No panic please untill all is complete and has the stamp of approval. 

Thanks for your patience, Rick



  On Sunday past, all but about seventy birds, the last to arrive, spent the day outside. It was a fun sight to see. It took an awfull lot of flapping and hopping and skiping about before they all managed to get into the air. Then it was chaos. By afternoon, all of them learned it was easier to go with the flow than against it. 

  On Monday, we started the process of giving them their chip rings. It is a pleasure to handle so many excellent pigeons. Every time I picked up a bird, I would say to Linda " this is the winner". So far, 202 of you are first.



      The sound of silence is wonderfull. Actually, for deaf people { me } there is always noise. It sounds like a strong wind blowing in one ear and out the other. Maybe that,s what it is. Anyway, the phone has stopped ringing, emails have disappeared and the airport is no longer where I eat my dinner on Thursday evenings. The shares of Burger King dropped dramatically last Friday. 

     Not  all the birds have been processed or are in the mothership. There are still some at the border waiting for their hall pass and there are still a few in the holding pen waiting for me to record their numbers and colours before they join their brother in arms. Hope to have all that done on Friday. Most have been settled and now go out everyday. They are still not pushed out and won't be untill the final group has settled in. 

    There have been a few health casualitles and hawk issues but not nearly as many as I expected. The birds produce an enormous amount of down feathers and now there are an equal amount of flights blowing around. Each week, Sunday mornings, my trusty helper and I fill the bags and take them away. Mating has started and the first eggs were laid on Wednesday. 

    Feeding, each day, takes the better part of two bags and the amount of grit they consume, if compressed into bricks, would build a brick wall around our property. 

    Linda is the star of her guild's quilt show this coming weekend so she has put a halt to our banding of the birds till Monday, Jume 11. That's when the process will start and when inventory will begin. We hope to have everything done by next weekend and that includes settling the birds, giving them their electronic bands and showing them what life will be like under the big top.

Talk to you next week.


 PS    My memory facilities are as compeitent as they ever were. They are just a little bit quicker to leave my noggin. Some linger for ever, others are gone before I reach the door. The winners of the pillows were Suzanne Bedard and Francine Groulx. The T shirt, Bernie Bedard. Apparently everything can be found on the internet. Linda Gale Broere, for those who wonder.

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