Racing pigeons gets in your blood

Racing pigeons gets in your blood


Despite being able to cover hundreds of kilometres in only a matter of hours these aerial athletes weren’t household names.

But Riverton racing pigeon club president Joe Olszowy hoped to change that as he pushed for people to join the exciting sport of pigeon racing.

Pigeon racing involved releasing pigeons from distances as short as 100 kilometres to more than 1000 kilometres away from their home loft and recording the time it took for them to return.

Because each bird returned to a different finishing point the birds won depending on their average speed travelled.

Some birds could travel at more than 100km/h and some races took two days to complete.

Mr Olszowy said while there was a great racing scene in Perth, more people needed to take an interest in it for it to have a strong future.

He said it was the perfect hobby sport for both young and old.

“It’s a fantastic hobby for young kids, they’re just not exposed to it anymore,” he said.

“They get to look after young birds and they really get excited.

“I think if we could get kids involved again and get them away from sitting in front of a computer all day, they’ll start appreciating what life is all about a bit more.

“It’s also great for older people who have retired and have some spare time on their hands.”

Mr Olszowy said he had owned birds his entire life and bred racing pigeons but only decided to take up racing in 2011.

He now owned more than 60 pigeons and said he loved the sport.

“Once it’s in your blood it’s hard to get out,” he said.

He said no one knew how the birds found their way home.

“It’s something that has been the topic of conversation for many years but I don’t think they really know,” he said.

“Some people say they navigate by stars, some people say it’s the earth’s gravitational pull, some people say it’s by smell.”

He said once established it wasn’t an expensive hobby but you could lose pigeons throughout the race season to birds of prey and weather.

This year’s Perth racing season had 22 races.

The longest race was from Mount Newman.

Mr Olszowy said anyone interested in racing pigeons could call him on 9459 3635.

They could also visit the Riverton racing pigeon club behind the St John ambulance depot at 290 High Road, Riverton on Thursdays or at 7.30pm on the last Monday of each month.