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September 14, 2012

Britain's Pigeon Fanciers

Pigeons were once briefly used to carry stock market price reports between Paris and Berlin in the early beginnings of the Reuters news agency. Now, with a world connected by fiber optics and satellite beams, aficionados still train, keep and race pigeons for sport. The membership of Britain's Royal Pigeon Racing Associated is declining, but tens of thousands remain. This year, the 40th annual British Homing World Show of the Year, held in Blackpool, had 2,500 pigeon entries from around the world. -- Paula Nelson ( 27 photos total)

Caged entries in the annual Homing Pigeon World Show at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, northern England, January 21, 2012. The show, that is in its 40th year, has 4,000 entries from around the world including the U.S. and China and expects 35,000 visitors over the weekend. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)

Steward Brian Harrison examines entries at the annual Homing Pigeon World Show at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, northern England, January 21, 2012. The show which is in its 40th year has 4,000 entries from around the world including the U.S. and China, and expects 35,000 visitors over the weekend. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters) #

German judges Michael Mahr and Christof Klinger pick the supreme champion from entries in the annual Homing Pigeon World Show at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, northern England, January 21, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters) #

A judge examines an entry in the annual Homing Pigeon World Show at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, January 21, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters) #

Steward Brian Harrison examines entries at the annual Homing Pigeon World Show at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, January 21, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters) #

A pigeon at the annual Homing Pigeon World Show at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, northern England, January 21, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters) #

Rosettes for winners in the annual Homing Pigeon World Show, January 21, 2012. The show is in its 40th year. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Pigeon fancier Norman Perry of Port Talbot, Wales poses for photographers with his Supreme Champion winner in the annual Homing Pigeon World Show at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, northern England, January 21, 2012.(Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

A racing pigeon waits to be released from its racing box before starting his flight from Alnwick to its home loft across Yorkshire and Humberside, northern England, April 21, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Racing pigeons are released from their racing boxes as they start their flight from Alnwick to their home lofts across Yorkshire and Humberside in northern England, April 21, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

A blur of racing pigeons released from their racing boxes as they start their flight from Alnwick to their home lofts across Yorkshire and Humberside, April 21, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Tony Meek poses for photographs after releasing 2,500 racing pigeons from their racing boxes on a flight from Alnwick to their home lofts across Yorkshire and Humberside, April 21, 2012. Meek, a former racehorse jockey, believes pigeons find their way using the sun and will sometimes wait several days for the right weather conditions before releasing his pigeons for a race. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Racing pigeons are released from their racing boxes, April 21, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

The last racing pigeon flies off after being released from racing boxes to start their flight from Alnwick to their home lofts across Yorkshire and Humberside, April 21, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Racing pigeons released from their racing boxes, start their flight from Alnwick to their home lofts across Yorkshire and Humberside, April 21, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

A racing pigeon is being loaded for the One Loft race at Birtsmorton, central England, August 25, 2012. Twelve hundred pigeons are entered in the loft during March for £100 ($160) each and then trained by loft keeper Jeremy Davies. The race from Hexham to Birtsmorton is 203 miles (327 km), taking the winning bird around 4 to 5 hours with prize money totaling £55,000 ($87,000), with the winner receiving £20,000 ($31,600). (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Pigeon fancier Katie Adwas feeds birds at her loft in Knayton, northern England, August 21, 2012. Topcliffe club secretary Adwas has been racing since 1996 and spends 15 hours a week on her 100 pigeons. Over recent years the club has dwindled to just nine members. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Pigeon fancier Katie Adwas poses at her loft in Knayton, northern England, August 21, 2012. 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Boxed racing pigeons are prepared for loading for the One Loft race at Birtsmorton, central England, August 25, 2012. Twelve hundred pigeons are entered in the loft during March for £100 ($160) each and then trained by loft keeper Jeremy Davies. The race from Hexham to Birtsmorton is 203 miles (327 km), taking the winning bird around 4 to 5 hours to complete. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters) #

Queens Cup winner, Ian Ramsey, poses at his home in Harrogate, northern England, February 26, 2012. Ramsey who grew up racing pigeons with his father became the first person in Harrogate to win the cup last year after an 11 hour race. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Queens Cup winner, Ian Ramsey, cleans out his loft at his home in Harrogate, northern England, February 26, 2012. Ramsey grew up racing pigeons with his father. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Racing pigeons wait to be loaded for the One Loft race at Birtsmorton, central England, August 25, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

A racing pigeon is being loaded for the One Loft race at Birtsmorton, central England, August 25, 2012. Twelve hundred pigeons are entered in the loft during March. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

A racing pigeon is being scanned before loading for the One Loft race at Birtsmorton, central England, August 25, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

A racing pigeon is being loaded for the One Loft race at Birtsmorton, central England, August 25, 2012. The race from Hexham to Birtsmorton is 203 miles (327 km), taking the winning bird around 4 to 5 hours with prize money totalling £55,000 ($87,000), with the winner receiving £20,000 ($31,600). (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Pigeon owners react as the first pigeons arrive back during the One Loft race at Birtsmorton, central England, August 26, 2012. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)#

Pigeon owners watch as the first pigeons arrive back during the One Loft race at Birtsmorton, central England, August 26, 2012. The winner of the race will be awarded £20,000 ($31,600). (Nigel Roddis/Reuters) #



 
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