STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Homing pigeons — those birds with the remarkable ability to find their way home over vast distances — have fascinated city-dwellers for over half-a-century.
Decades ago, the birds were an iconic symbol of New York City, with coops lining rooftops and racing clubs taking to the skies. Although less common today, pigeon fliers still exist.
We recently ran into Pete, of Staten Island’s Mulligan’s Place Loft, as he released 60 homing pigeons for their first training flight.
Fliers begin training homing pigeons a few weeks after birth. At first, they carry the birds in wooden crates a mile or so away from their home lofts, and release them to see if they can learn their way home. With each training flight, the distance the pigeons must travel is increased.
The first training flight for Pete’s pigeons will require them to travel about two miles — from Grymes Hill to their loft in Rosebank. Watch the video above to see the pigeons take flight.
Mulligan’s Place Loft started flying pigeons competitively in the early 1980s, and has garnered over 100 national awards, according to its website.
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