Fly & Train the White Water Doves
The first outdoor flight of a young pigeon can be fun to watch. Some of them take off for the sky and immediately join the other youngsters in loops around the field. More typically though, their first flight is simply a jump down to the ground or up to the nearest roof. They may spend a couple of days, going no farther than the roof.
Eventually, they get brave and bold enough to make a real flight with the older birds. As any pilot will tell you, flying is fairly easy, landing is not. When I see a bird come in for a landing, hesitate, try again, hesitate again, and fly away, I am pretty sure that I am watching a young bird on its first flight.
For the next couple of months, the young pigeons will enjoy flying, learn acrobatic maneuvers, and add weight, mostly in the form of stronger muscles. Their flights will last for longer periods of time and they will range farther from home. At that point, the young bird is ready to begin training.
For the first training session, the birds are placed into a carrying basket towards the back of our small acreage. When I open the basket, they take a look around and, eventually, walk out of the basket. When they finally decide to take flight, they circle overhead, usually rising higher with each circle. When they can see home, and when they feel ready to go, they head for home together.
There is a cemetery, a little over a mile from my home that is one of my favorite beginning release spots. This site reminds me why I purchased my first birds. We found ourselves raising two beautiful young girls who lost their mother unexpectedly to a sudden illness. I searched for some way to help these girls remember their mother and came across White Dove Releases for memorials. Every time I open the basket and watch the youngsters take off, I am reminded of the reason I became involved with white dove releases.
Each week I drive the birds a little farther from home and monitor how long it takes them to return. Sometimes the birds don't come home immediately. Occasionally they don't come home until the next day. Those are difficult nights for me! When they return quickly, we go to a new location. The training process takes a lot of time and a lot of driving in all directions of the compass. When I turn these birds free they are exposed to many hazards- some man-made, others natural. I worry every single time I turn the birds loose. Most of the time, all of the birds make it home for supper and my bed-time beak count.