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On weekends in the Spring and Fall, thousands of racing pigeon fanciers have birds competing in races at distances from 100 to 600 miles.

Pigeon races are conducted by releasing "liberating" the birds from one or more groups of fanciers "clubs" that are racing together at a common point "race station" and are timed as they fly back to their home "loft".

Multiple clubs in a geographic area group together into increasing larger organizations, named combines, concourses or associations, to increase the number of birds competing together.

Only birds released at the same time, at the same release point, may compete against each other.

Each bird flies to its own loft. Each competing loft has a different distance from the release point since they are located in different geographic places.

The winning bird is the bird with highest velocity, the distance to home divided by the bird's elapsed time to return. Given that the lofts have different distances, the shortest elapsed time in not necessarily the winner.

Each bird is banded with a permanent id band containing the year issued and unique set of letters and sequence number. For competetion the birds carry another special band, that when used in conjunction with a timing clock at the loft, provides proof of bird arrival and time.

Band example: AU-2005-LAVACA-123
 
AUNational Organization (AU, IF, CU, BELG, etc.)
2005Issue year
LAVACAClub or owner
123Sequence number

Liberation time is the time the birds are released to start the race, arrival time is the time the bird is recorded as arriving at home and flying time is the elapsed time from liberation to arrival.

The winning birds usually fly in the range of 30 to 50 MPH depending on the race distance, weather conditions, wind speed and wind direction.

The distance from liberation station to the loft is measured to 1/1000th miles and the flying time is measured as hours, minutes and seconds.

Pigeon race velocities are reported using units of Yards per Minute (YPM).

(miles * 1760 * 60) / seconds = YPM
(miles * (yards/mile) * (seconds/minute)) / seconds

Usually races are grouped into a Series of races at varying distances.

Old Bird series are flown in the Spring, typically at distances of 100mi to 600mi, and are open to birds of any age.

Young Bird series are flown in the Fall, typically at distances of 100mi to 300mi, and are open to birds banded in that year.


Table that compares Miles per Hour to Yards per Minutes

Miles
per
Hour
Yards Per Minute  Miles
per
Hour
Yards Per Minute  Miles
per
Hour
Yards Per Minute  Miles
per
Hour
Yards Per Minute
802346.667 601760.000 401173.333 20586.667
792317.333 591730.667 391144.000 19557.333
782288.000 581701.333 381114.667 18528.000
772258.667 571672.000 371085.333 17498.667
762229.333 561642.667 361056.000 16469.333
752200.000 551613.333 351026.667 15440.000
742170.667 541584.000 34997.333 14410.667
732141.333 531554.667 33968.000 13381.333
722112.000 521525.333 32938.667 12352.000
712082.667 511496.000 31909.333 11322.667
702053.333 501466.667 30880.000 10293.333
692024.000 491437.333 29850.667 9264.000
681994.667 481408.000 28821.333 8234.667
671965.333 471378.667 27792.000 7205.333
661936.000 461349.333 26762.667 6176.000
651906.667 451320.000 25733.333 5146.667
641877.333 441290.667 24704.000 4117.333
631848.000 431261.333 23674.667 388.000
621818.667 421232.000 22645.333 258.667
611789.333 411202.667 21616.000 129.333
 



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