Families urged to wing it

Pigeon racer Joe Raheb says it’s a sport that everyone can get involved in.  Picture: Andrew Ritchie               www.communitypix.com.au   d444681
Pigeon racer Joe Raheb says it’s a sport that everyone can get involved in. Picture: Andrew Ritchie               www.communitypix.com.au d444681

Mr Raheb, vice-president of the Osborne Park United Districts Pigeon Racing Club, has been participating in the sport for 45 years.

�When I was a young kid, most families had some chooks or pigeons in their back yard,� he said.

�I had a few ordinary pigeons but quickly became intrigued and fascinated by racing pigeons.�

Mr Raheb said pigeon racing had a long history and the birds played a crucial role as messengers during war.

�Pigeons have been used for centuries as message bearers as they have a natural homing ability,� he said. �This means that if you raise a young pigeon and let it out of its cage, it will return to its home.

�Racing pigeons, unlike street pigeons, are special in that their homing ability is attuned and highly accentuated.

�They can navigate their way home from great distances.�

The Mt Hawthorn resident keeps pigeons at home in a specially designed aviary.

The WA Pigeon Racing Federation consists of 10 clubs with over 120 members.

Mr Raheb said racing season runs from May to September every year with 20 races that start at 100km and increase to 1000km.

�Special timing clocks are set and synchronised at the clubroom before the race,� he said.

�On arrival of the first pigeon from the race, the rubber ring is removed from the bird�s leg and inserted into the clock, which registers the arrival time.�

Mr Raheb encouraged young people to get involved. �It can involve the whole family and help kids to develop other interests outside of electronic media.�

For more information visit www.prfwa.org.au