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Diary Calendar

July 18 - 24

July 18th

The birds were released at 8:50 this morning from 70 km.  It was hot, humid, dead calm and without a cloud in the sky.  My paranoia set in.  Smash weather I thought.  Well I was wrong again.  It turned out to be a smashing good training toss.  At 9:58:46 over 140 birds arrived and 115 birds trapped in 2 minutes.  By 10:10, 148 birds had trapped. Two stragglers came in later in the morning and the last bird trapped mid-afternoon.  One hundred and fifty-two birds have survived a pathogen nightmare, hawk attacks, training and my management.  The team will consist of 156 birds, which includes 4 replacement birds.  The vast majority of the birds look great and are ready for the first race from Kouchibouguac (100 km).  I had hoped to fly it tomorrow but the weather prediction is unfavorable.  The racing list of birds will be updated Monday.

July 19th

I woke up to overcast skies and heavy fog.  It remained overcast all day and fog lingered around for most of the morning.  The weather was similar at the first race point.  Needless to say the birds were kept home. 

The racing list will be updated and the replacement birds will be designated by this evening . 

Goto Overall Results.

July 20th

At home this morning  it was overcast but bright with the sun's outline visible through the clouds.  Furthermore it was dead calm, warm and very humid.  At Kouchibouguac National Park, the first race release point, it was dark, overcast and foggy with virtually no visibility.  Therefore the race was postponed for another day.  The forecast for better weather looks more promising for tomorrow.

Instead of racing this morning the birds were loft flown.  Eight birds refused to fly.  These nuisance birds sitting on the roof act as droppers and attract the rest to land sooner.  So I tried everything to get them up but to no avail.  Finally out of frustration I threw a broom across the loft roof and only half went up.  I gave up and called them in and flagged the rest.  I am puzzled why these infrequent flyers haven't been lost during training. 

During the first 30 minutes I had to wave the flag several times but after that the vast majority began flying without my encouragement.  I just left the flag up.  The birds seemed to fly more vigorously as the hour passed on.  Then at the 60 minute mark I took the flag down and whistled the birds in.  All but about 1/4 of them landed and trapped.  The rest just kept on flying on their own so I left a good thing be.  It was not until the 90 minute mark when the remainder began to land.  None of them looked tired and even with the high humidity none were breathing with their mouths open.  They all trapped immediately in an orderly fashion.

I am not sure if this means anything but I will let you come to your own conclusions.  Just for the record the following birds flew for at least 90 minutes in 92% humidity and with a humidex temperature of 28 C:

CU 11224, SMV 4016, Gawel 034, CU 7621, CU 6823, Thomas 05, BR 3623, EDM 1002, S'Land 1041,              VIC 0750, Oak 4586, VIC 0754, AU GFL 0667, CU 22536, CU 22504, SMV 4020, CU 22171, CU 10495,            REG 0405, Oak 4095, CU 29724, VIC 0252, CU 37100, ORI 083, FCQ 12615, CU 20004, ORI 087,                       Apollo 5309, CU 11203, MIRPC 409, AU GFL 0671, CU 11228, S'Land 1162, CU 1001, CU 22532,                         CU 20380, CU 22540, CU 22525, CU 11302, CU 1002, SC 2561, EC 3013, REG 0216, CU 22535

July 24th

The birds received a well deserved rest on Friday after chaotic 2nd Kouchibouguac race.  On Saturday morning after it stopped raining around 11:00, the birds were let out to stretch their wings in anticipation of Sunday's Moncton race.  As usually a handful of birds refused to fly.  The rest flew for about 15 minutes before about a third of them landed on the roof.  They behaved calmly as if nothing had happened 2 days earlier.  Some trapped but most stayed outside to enjoy the warm sun.  A few flew to the ground to pick around while others found a puddle of water to bathe in.  A small group stayed on the balcony and explored a new found place to lounge around.  The rest flew for about an hour and then began to land.  Quite an idyllic setting I thought.  It would have been easy to become mesmerized by the moment but I remained disciplined, focused and alert for what I could expect.   I will spare you the details but the same scenario occurred.  A goshawk suddenly appeared and dove down at the birds.  It missed its prey but paid a price for its indiscretion.  One third of the birds flew for 3 hours and not by choice.  So I have decided to rest the birds tomorrow and postpone the next race until Monday.  Hopefully the goshawk community will have got the message by then.

Friday evening a farmer 50 km from here reported that he had caught a race bird sitting on his bailer.  He also mentioned that 5 other birds had flown by.  He suspected that they were also race birds because normally he doesn't have pigeons around the barns.  Saturday morning I called the farmer to tell him that I was going down to pick up the bird.  But by the time I got there the bird had passed away.

Goto July 25