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July 1 - 15

Back to June 19th to 30th

July 6th

The Le Tour birds continue to fly strongly around the loft.  Every morning they disappear for up to an hour and when they return they fly around the loft for at least 15 minutes before they land.  During the weekend the cooper hawk flew over the loft and easily grabbed an infrequent flyer in the air just 20 m from the loft.

Last night I basketed the Le Tour team for their first training toss but I had to release them in the yard due to overcast skies.  It is my practice to only release the birds during training when the sun is clearly visible.  As soon as the birds were released they disappeared and returned 30 minutes later.  Even the infrequent flyers disappeared.  Most of the team continued flying around the loft for another hour.  I don't know where they get the energy.  It must be youth.  I wish I had both.

It cleared up later in the morning but too late for a training toss.  I always try to release the birds before 9:00 am.  I will try again tomorrow.  Environment Canada predicts sunny weather into the weekend.

Each of our pigeons is endowed with an immune system which may be stronger or weaker than the immune system of another bird. A micro-organism capable of causing disease in one pigeon may not be able to do so in another pigeon even if confronted with the same concentration of the micro-organism in question. Our pigeons do not only differ genetically in their resistance to infection they also differ in their resistance due to different stress levels they may be exposed to at some time since the cascade of stress hormones inhibit the immune response. Like it or not, we need to learn to live with micro-organisms and perhaps even use them to our advantage for strengthening not only our own defences but also the defences of our birds.

For the rest of the story go to: Resistance to Infection  By Dr Karl Frank

July 7th

The Le Tour birds had their first training toss this morning.  They were released at 7:55 near the Bathurst airport a distance of 8 km from the loft.  It was a perfect morning for their first training toss.  It was a cloudless day and the temperature was a cool 11 C.  When the birds left the baskets there was a bit of confusion at the beginning as they circled fairly low.  Once they got up higher they grouped together and made a half dozen circles around the release point and began flying in the direction of home.  At 8:20 a solo bird arrived.   In the next twenty minutes 3 more arrived.  All of the first arrivals were infrequent flyers.  Then at exactly 60 minutes after being released the rest of the birds arrived.  I whistled and they made a few more circles and landed.  Trapping went very smoothly.  The infrequent flyers received a shock this morning because some are still missing.

The birds obviously know where home is and are so conditioned to flying for an hour that they did some site seeing before they decided to come home.  I thought I may have over fed them but they quickly ate everything I gave them , even the barley.  This evening when I went into the loft they were all around me looking for more food.  It's tempting to jump them a bit further but I will do what I always do, that is, go back to the same release point tomorrow morning.

Before I forget, I gave the birds a bath this afternoon.  I couldn't pour the water in the tubs fast enough because most of them were fighting for a spot.  Furthermore, during mid afternoon what appeared to be 2 cooper hawks circled high above the loft.  Hmmm!

July 8th

This morning the birds received their second toss from the Bathurst Airport.  They were released at 8:05 in perfect weather.  This time the first wave of about 40 birds beat me home.  The first one trapped 13 minutes after being released.  Most of the rest arrived in one big group 17 minutes later.

Early in the afternoon as I was standing outside on the loft balcony a cooper hawk flew towards the loft and when he spotted me he made a u-turn and quickly left.  There are advantageous of being hard to look at.

The next toss will be tomorrow morning from about 12 km but in a more southerly direction .

July 9th

The birds were released this morning at 7:35 from 12 km south of loft.  It was mostly sunny with thin patchy clouds and very calm.  The birds made a few circles and disappeared in the direction of home.  To my surprise when I approached the western end of Rosehill Road (it's a crescent) they were circling fairly low above the road.  This spot is about 2 km west of the loft.  When I drove in the yard,  I saw an infrequent flyer trapping and the rest of birds were circling above me as if they had just followed me home.  Youngsters do strange things!

Trapping went smoothly.  The birds seemed hungrier this morning so I increased the amount of feed.  The first bird trapped at 8:01.   One hundred and forty birds (140) trapped this morning; however, a straggler trapped at 11:43.

The next toss is planned for Monday from the same spot.  Tomorrow's prediction is for rain but mostly sunny for the next day.

Clouds and Returns   Compliments of Bob Percival

July 10th

The team was exercised later in the morning due to early fog and overcast skies.  They flew well for an hour but hung around the loft.  Today, after exercise 144 birds trapped.

July 11th

At 5:30 this morning it didn't look promising for a training toss.  It was very overcast, foggy and it began to thundershower with lightning for the next 30 minutes.  The predictions was for clearing early in the morning so I went to the loft to basket the remainder of the birds.   I basketed the majority last  night but decided not to basket all of them because it was too hot and humid to fill the baskets to the maximum.   When I left for the training toss the skies were a mixture of sun and cloud; however, when I reached the release point at 7:00 it was very overcast and a high fog was moving away to the south.  At 8:00 the sun appeared and by 8:15 blue patches of sky appeared in the north.  The birds were released at 8:35.  On the way home I could see it was mostly sunny there.  When I drove in the yard the birds were home.  One hundred and forty-two (142) birds trapped as soon as I called them in but 2 decided to stay out for the balance of the morning.  Grrrrr!  The cooper hawk has not been around for a while.  Hopefully today is not the time for his visit.  Tomorrow's toss will be from 20 km.

8:00 am 8:15 am 8:35 am 8:45 am 8:55 am

July 12th

This morning the birds were released in mostly cloudy skies at 9:00 am from 20 km .  I planned to release them earlier but at the loft it was very overcast at 7:00 am.  As soon as I saw some blue patches of sky I left. 

When released the birds made a few circles and left in the direction of home.  At 9:22 the team crossed the main highway half way between the airport and home and kept going in a northerly direction.  The loft is on the south side of the road.  At about 9:27 I drove in the yard and as I stepped out of the truck the birds were circling low directly above me.  I called them immediately and after a few circles they landed and began trapping.  When I checked the clock it showed that 3 birds had trapped earlier at 9:26 and the first to trap was an infrequent flyer that was quite late from an earlier toss.  Interesting!  A small group of about a half dozen arrived at 9:40 and the 141st bird arrived at 10:30.  The birds will be released from the same point tomorrow.

Last night around 9:00 I heard a banging noise against one of the aviaries.  Upon inspection of the extra hens and late bred loft it was obvious that a hawk was around - all the birds were high in the perches and many were doubled up.  When I walked to the entrance of the loft,  a large brown hawk (cooper???)  flew out of a tree at the back of the loft and disappeared.  It was a long hunting day for it and it stayed longer.

July 13th

It was a beautiful morning for a training toss and a drive.  However along the the way I was reminded it's time to fill up (ouch!).  At 8:35 I arrived at my favorite release spot which was the same as yesterday's.  After taking the birds out of the truck I spent a few minutes enjoying the flora and fauna around a pond.  Usually I spend some time watching a family of ducks swimming around.  Unfortunately this year there is no family. 

The birds were released at 9:02 and immediately started circling low over the pond.  I think they wanted to see what I found interesting.  They made about 4 circles and then began to climb and disappeared in the direction of home.  When I arrived at the loft the birds were on the roof waiting for me to call them in.  Trapping went well.  The first bird (yesterday's infrequent flyer) clocked at 9:29 and the first 100 birds clocked by 9:33.  One hundred and forty - one (141) birds were released and 142 trapped.  The birds will have the day off tomorrow because the prediction is for showers and thundershowers for the day.  The inventory will be updated tomorrow.

July 14

The birds were not exercised this morning because of a hawk.  This morning when I went to the loft to let the Le Tour team out for exercise I first checked the extra hens and late bred loft and found the birds all huddled up in the top perches.  One perch had a hen and 3 young ones in it which was a sure sign that the hawk had been around earlier.  If the weather clears early enough tomorrow morning, the birds will receive their 2nd toss from 20 km.  The prediction is for favorable weather for the next 5 days.

The inventory has been updated.

July 15

The Le Tour birds had their first 40 km toss this morning.  I believe this is their first toss out of sight of home.  They were released at 8:35 in mostly sunny skies but into a brisk headwind with strong gusts.  When they came out of the baskets and hit the wind it blew them back behind me.  They made a few tight circles, stayed low and headed in the direction of home.  Get use to it Le Tour birds because you will see more of this wind by the time the series is over. 

The youngsters arrived less than 5 minutes after I did, circled several times, landed and began trapping immediately.  The first bird trapped at 9:20:52.  Trapping went a little slower this morning because I overfed them yesterday and they did not need it because there was no exercise period.  One hundred and thirty - nine (139) birds trapped by 10:00 but 2 decided to remain outside.  Grrrr!  They will trap faster tomorrow.

Go to July 16th


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