News and Updates

The birds were pretty spread out yesterday due to the weather getting worse toward the end of the day, slight drizzle before dark and in to the night.  We were still out about 100 birds by nightfall so decided to just give the birds a day off and hope that most of the rest would come in the next morning, which is proving to be exactly what has happened.  We are still missing about 40 birds as of the time of posting this, hopefully by the end of the day they will all be back in the loft with a full belly. 

Tomorrow it is supposed to be bright and sunny, will return to Oak Springs Road for their second toss from that location.  If they all shoot home with no problems then we will progress from there. 

Yesterday may be the most educational toss they get this entire series.  I would rather weed through them at this point than collect your entry fees and have a toss like yesterday.  Our goal is to get the same number to the fnal as we get to the first race, may sound unrealistic but that is what we are shooting for.  The only way to do that is to train hard prior to the first race, then train hard between races. 


Rick & Olga




The birds were released today under a high overcast sky about 3 miles further up the road on top of the next ridge the birds have to learn to come over on their way home coming south to north.  Yesterday it was sunny and they immediately headed home, today was a different story obviously.  They came out of the trailer and fellow club mate Russell Walker who was also out training watched as the birds flew around for several minutes before getting it together and starting to head north toward home.  I was able to follow the birds over the ridge where they had just been released yesterday, then out over the town of Toppenish, WA until I lost them with them still heading in the exact direction they needed to go.  When I got to the loft there were no birds, this simply never happens so imagine how it made me feel.  A few minutes later a few birds came, now they are starting to trickle in and we are up to about 1/2 at the time of posting this.  It has begun to drizzle and the ridge to the south which is only a few miles away has some low laying mist in some places with some spots open, most importantly Konowock Pass which is where we have been training from since Monday.  The birds must of approached the ridgeline, saw the mist and tried to go around it.  They are all broken up and are coming from different directions, however most are coming from Konowock pass which is due south.  We can only hope that the majority of the birds make it home today where fresh feed and water is awaiting them.  IF it is clear tomorrow, which it is forecasted to be, we will train from the same spot in hopes of luring in any stragglers who are on the other side of the ridge. 

This experience is good for the birds, however makes the OLR manager sick to his stomach. 

Rick & Olga
Sorry for the late update everyone. 

Thursday we had a great toss, was sunny and the birds oriented quickly and took off for home. 

Friday the birds got a day off.  Just wanted to pour the feed to them and allow the birds arriving late more groceries so they can catch up. 

Today, Saturday the 25th we took the birds out to Pumphouse Road which is 18.5 miles from the loft.  The weather was sunny, slight west wind, and when they were released they immediately headed for home.  When we got home they started to trap and many continued to fly, once all in we fed more.  Since they did such a great job this morning, providing it is sunny again tomorrow, we will go to Oak Springs Road which is about 22 miles.  Where we released today is at the base of a ridge, where we release tomorrow is up on top of that ridge.  It is important that the birds know this spot well because this is where we HOPE they come out when we start to increase the distance.

From Oak Springs Rd we jump another 20 miles to Satus Pass.  There really is no good place to release between Oak Springs Rd and Satus Pass unless you want to release down in a depression between valleys.  Anyone who has trained in hills and mountains knows that you do not want to release down in a depression.  The birds get disoriented and it can spell disaster.  Satus Pass is a spot we use which is on the side of a mountain where due to the ridges to the east and west and the height of the mountain to the south, they have no way but to go north on a clear day with no wind.  From this spot they are actually looking down in to the valley where we have already trained from so it should be easy for them. 

Do not despair if your birds are not trapping quickly with the majority of the birds.  Some of them are just really enjoying flying and they want to fly for another hour or two after the others have already trapped.  I suspect once we get out to 60, and definitely 100 they will all trap as soon as they get home due to burned calories and thirst. 

Rick & Olga 

Yesterday we conducted our 2nd toss.  They all went out together and started to head in the right direction and came home in smaller groups which is to be expected at this short of a distance, they are just checking out the area and some are more adventerous than others.  When we get out to 40+ this is when they will for the most part come as a group. 

The birds are loaded up for their 3rd toss.  Sun peeped through for a minute and now it is a slight overcast.  Will wait a little to see if the sun peeks out so the birds will easily orient themselves when released. 

Rick & Olga

Conducted our first toss today.  Slight overcast and lots of wind with gusts.  Most of the birds are in the loft, will keep the clock running to try to pick up the rest.  Will train every day this week, goal is to be at 20 miles by this weekend.  We train daily, if it is windy we train a bit shorter but it has to be real strong wind.   

Anyone missing a bird BEFORE today will be granted a free perch next year.  We will mail out free perch certificates later on, probably after we are completed with this series and all birds mailed out. 


A race is mandatory, $150 due after activation race
B race is optional, $300 due after activation race, pick your favorites.
C race is optional, $550 due after activation race, pick your favorites, WINNER TAKE ALL!  All prize money for the C race is for the final race only.   

Enter all 3 for $1000.  If you have a great bird and it is entered in all three races....well you do the math! 

Rick & Olga

We were going to try to start training yesterday but woke up to rain, today light rain but lots of fog.  Supposed to rain again tomorrow and off and on through the weekend.  We will most likely start training this coming Monday.  We want to wait until we have a entire week of sunshine, not heavy overcast and drizzle.  Once we get the birds out to 60 miles the birds will be capable of facing some minor weather adversity, but until we get them out to our 60 mile spot a few times we have to be careful. 

Hope everyone understands.

Rick & Olga
Last two days we have run the clock to make sure everything is working after adding another trap.  Looks like everything is working correctly and we are sitting at 608 birds.  The first inventory we ran on 23 Jan we had 615 birds, looks like we dropped 7 birds since then.  We have not had any die so can only assume they were injured by wires or by hitting each other in the air while flying which does happen with big flocks like this.  We have seen a few hawks lately migrating but have not witnessed any attacks.  The birds have been routing on sunny days so when they are away who knows what happens. 

Hopefully we will get underway with training within a week.  Still some snow on the ground but with the forecasted weather we should be able to start shortly. 

Rick & Olga
Hey everyone, if you read the last update then it pretty much sums up where we still are at.   Only difference is it is getting up in the 40s during the day and some nights it is staying above freezing but still right around freezing.  Snow is melting off VERY slowly and the ground is mushy out to and around the loft.  When the ground hardens up we will hit the road.  Like we said last time, we are not locked in to specific race dates so we have wiggle room insofar as starting training and getting the races started.  We do not want to rush things, your birds come first! 
Looks like this coming week it is going to be sunny and we will get a bit of wind, this should dry things out a bit.  Hopefully we can start road training real soon and get things under way. 
Birds health is great, they are enjoying the sun which they have not had all winter.  Very unusual winter which we were told yesterday broke our 1996 record for snowfall.  We ordinarily have mild winters here in central WA but this one has made us come to one very important decision, NEVER A LATE HATCH RACE AGAIN!  We just do not want to take the chance of getting a loft full of birds and have to try to keep them healthy over a winter like we are just getting over with.  This is why we are switching to a young bird series next year. 
We keep mentioning this because we are getting asked when we will be accepting birds for this year, and of course the answer is we are not accepting birds this year but will start next year. 
Thanks for being patient everyone,
Rick & Olga
Sorry for no updates lately folks, but not much new to report. Birds health is good and when we DO have a bit of sun they fly high and long. Most days it is gloomy here lately with a daytime high around 40 and nighttime in the high 20s. This means the snow just will not melt, and even when it does the ground will be too wet for awhile out around the loft to be able to drive the truck and trailer out there to load birds up to start road training. This is highly UNUSUAL for us in this area, happens only about every 20 years.  Last year we had just a couple of inches and not many days below freezing that we can remember.  This year it started to freeze in November and just recently we started to get above freezing temps during the day.  It is miserable for the birds, and it is miserable for us.  Thus the reason we are switching to a traditional young bird series starting next year, no more late hatches for us. 
Good thing with not accepting birds this year is we have no pressure trying to get this race out of the way so we can get them mailed back making room for new arrivals which we typically take starting in May.   We were supposed to start training 1 March but if we have to push that back then it just means your birds will have a bit more age on them, this is a good thing. 
Wish we had better news.  When the weather breaks and the ground dries out we will tear up the road training, we promise that.
Rick & Olga 
PS:  If you are going to enter One Loft Races this year, PLEASE vaccinate your birds for PMV at least 14 days prior to sending.  It is necessary that your birds get their first vaccination 14 days prior to shipping so when they arrive at the OLR they will get their second vaccination which acts as a booster.  If you do not vaccinate, or if you vaccinate right before sending, then the vaccination your birds get at the OLR you send them to will not act as a booster.  This is VERY important and is only being responsible and courteous to your fellow breeders. 
We conducted our 2nd loft flying inventory today.  Clocked in 594 birds the first time around.  Knowing we must of missed some birds when they were all trying to get back in the loft at the same time, we ran them back out of the loft.  Some trapped immediately once we unblocked the traps, some trapped a hour later, then there was a group who just wanted to fly all day long of about 35 birds.  So if you see your birds trapping in later than most be assured your birds are not sick, did not go on a training toss, they were just out enjoying some "decent" weather today and they did not scan the first time they entered the loft.  If your birds were the last to trap today, keep a eye on them because we are here to tell you they are flying machines! 

Weather is supposed to get better starting next week with temps slightly above freezing during the day.  Today it got up to mid 30s and FINALLY started to melt some of this snow off.  This winter is comparable to the one we had in 1996 which caused a lot of flooding and damage.  Hopefully this snow melts off very slowly and not all at once.  

As we mentioned before, if this snow melts off soon we may be able to start training this month.  If we have to wait until 1 March, which is when we were planning on starting anyway, then we will still have plenty of time to get these birds down the road and ready for early April racing. 

Rick & Olga  

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