News and Updates

     The birds are training very well. The training of Rick and Linda also goes well. We can now load a trailer in 95 minutes. They are out every day and are now at the 10 K station. Health is fine though we did have some issues with the dirty duck ponds. Hope the rain falls on the plains of Spain and stays away from here.

     Cheques are coming in the Post every day and I hope all will be here by the weekend. I have to draw this to a close so that the prize list can be posted. There were a couple of days where I thouight of laying down in front of Jim's tractor as he so carefully cut his grass, but I didn't do it. So much to do and just not enough hours in the day. Linda and I will be taking turns releasing the birds. It is enjoyable watching the birds leave the trailer but also satisfying to watch them drop from the sky and into the loft. Now I can do both.

      We will post the trainers as soon as all the cheques have arrived and the prize list is on line. If you haven't mailed your 6th bird cheque, please call me and let me know that it is coming. 

Thanks, Rick













     Life at Empire Classic Triple Crown is bouncing right along. The birds don't like me as much as they use to. Not many pigeons or people enjoy being forced to participate. It may make you healthy and strong or give you a pay check but there's this thing about it being your decision. The birds fly a minimum of one hour now and most fly much more than that. We are starting to train the birds this week and I will post an inventory after a few tosses. Please send in your sixth bird activation fee as soon as possible so that we can print this years pay out schedule. I have contacted most of you  and will try the rest again over the next couple of days.

     I handle the birds as much as possible and have found that there are three types of birds in the loft. The first type is the strong and powerfull, the second type are the meek. The third are the very quiet types. These won't pick a fight but they don't back down.

     The strong spend an awfull lot of energy pushing their neighbours around and trying to hustle the girls. The females of this type also spend their energy keeping other ladies away from their rowdy boyfriends. In the evening, they sleep well cause their dead tired. Their backgrounds must all come from the hot climates of Europe. 

      The meek, I don't know if they'll inherit the world or not. They miss the steak and potatoes at dinner and hardly ever are the first to get a drink. I do know that great things have happened to those who were polite and waited their turn. I think their background must be from the refined areas of Vancouver or New Jersey. 

      The very quiet ones are Dutch. They do what's needed to be done and never a word is said. There's never a complaint, no shouting out" look at me", just steady Edies quietly going about their business stealing food, right beside the bulies getting a drink and then, when you least expect it, there they are on the top level of the podium. 

      Seriously, I find myself picking out the same birds time after time. Will what I feel in the hand tell me which one will win the race or am I out to lunch on that account?  I cannot wait to see which one will be the first through the trap on race day. 

Again, please send the sixth bird activation fee asap.

Thanks, Rick


    I am becoming an export on all things clocking, but only in my own mind. The people helping me think I have sawdust for brains. The system is working well, and, on my own, I fixed the band problem. Seems machines can't read long numbers. 

    I took the time to test the traps. I took a baket with ten birds and let them walk through the traps at their own pace and all ten bands were read. I then forced groups of birds at a faster pace into the holes. Depending on how many I managed to stuff in, four times one band was not read. the clocks are super fast but the odd bird can sneak by without being recorded.

   Friday evening I decided to sit in front of the traps to slow the troops down. It worked. Enough of them said "what the heck is this" and stood back to watch the brave ones go first. It went at a steady pace untill I moved, at which time the not so brave decided to take advantage of my absence. This is as good as it might get for an acurate reading. I wll do this again Saturday, Sunday and Monday and I will compare the clock list to our hard copy from the hand inventory of last week. Mondays list will be the list used for activating your sixth bird. 

   I have changed my schedule somewhat. I now open the loft early and give them an open hole. A large number of them, and it increases daily, have their morning feed and then go for a morning toot around the countryside. I leave food in the loft for a couple of hours and most come back in for a mid morning snack. At two oclock, everyone has to vacate the loft and gets locked out till four or five. During this time, I like to sit on the landing deck, read my paper, snooze and with one eye, watch the birds.

   When the birds leave the landing board, it's like the last day of school for the kid's in grade eight. Poof, and their gone! The noise level is about the same. Hardly ever do they fly in large flocks. Mostly they split into groups of fifty to a hundred and fly in every direction. Some enjoy the lake and fly up and down the shore line. Others have been spotted heading to Brighton and Colborne, following highway two in both directions. Hawks still come by for a free meal and this week, I believe we had a falcon. It came out of the blue, smack into the group as they were flying over the field, creating mayhem and keeping them up for a very long time. I didn't get a very good look at it but I did notice it had an extra long tail.

   Some of the birds have taken to bathing in standing water and so have a number of ducks and geese. This combo doesn't bode well and I have taken to shooting over their heads to force them out of the pond. To damn far to walk to every fiteen minutes. Enough with all this rain! I let the birds out rain or shine bringing them in earlier when it rains to give them time to dry off before lights out.

  This week we cleaned the coop and sprayed with Virkon again. We also added Y2K racing feed to their mix. A little extra boost before their journey up the road. The birds look fantastic and I am amazed at the quality that we have in our care.

   Please check each day as we clock your birds and compare lists to make sure what shows up on Mondays list is the right number. Any problems, please call or email. 

Enjoy your long weekend and don't worry about me working.




I thought all was well with the clocking system, but it is not, For some reason, some of the bands register on Tauris but wont load on wincompanion. We have discovered a dozen or so ebands that seem to have stopped working. The last seven birds through the trap,at dark, did not register. Tomorrow I'll play detective with Terry and hopefully will solve that problem. The problems seem minor, compared to the ones that we have solved in the past couple of weeks.

Another problem are the extra birds showing up now that the clock is working. Some are because of partnerships, wiith one bringing extra birds. Also, some of the birds scared off by the hawk attacks are finding their way back home. Most mornings, we find a bird or two waiting by the trap to be let back in.

At the end of this week, hopefully all will be straightened out and we can give a proper accounting of the extra birds that have to be activated. On monday, the long weekend we'll set the clock up again for another check of inventory. Meanwhile, we'll work hard at fixing the few bugs left. 

As near as I can tell, there are about seven hundred and fifteen birds in the loft at this time.



All the birds finally have their electronic bands. All the birds were outside this afternoon and as I was getting ready to test the system{meaning my ability to set things up} a storm came out of nowhere that scared the dickens out of me and I opened all the windows and traps that I could to allow the birds to come in as fast as they could. Terrific winds, pounding rain and in four minutes it was over. Tomorrow will be the test.



How anyone so young can store so much information in their noggin is beyond me. Every once in awhile I like to play a slot machine and when Kevin the Techy was working on our Tauris program, thats what it looked like to me. Things flew by so fast and every once in a while, he hit jackpot. Hopefully, I can hit jackpot to.

Unfortunately, in the process leading up to Kevin's miracle, I managed to replace all the data we collected yesterday with a copy of the file we were in the process of updating. Today, we get to do it again. We will man handle all the birds again and feed them through the traps and provide inventory.

Please don't worry about sending in the activation fee untill this is working 100%. I am on the right track, I am just a little slower than what I would have liked. A week later won't matter at all.

Keep checking the trainer results and when the whole list is on, I want to hear you cheer.



  Unfortunately, we're still without access to our computor. We are told Thursday will be the day.



     Life, as I once knew it, might return now that all the birds have arrived. There are a few that are not on the bird list, but they will be done this week as we complete the electronic banding process. Our computor specialist will be here on Monday to revamp the program. Hopefully, by Tuesday, we are able to show a basket list and use the trap to keep you informed of the status of your birds. By weeks end, I hope all is complete and I ask that you please check for any mistakes. I have been known to make a few. The week after, it will be time to activate your 6th bird.

     The health is great, very little surprises in the morning when I return to the loft and that makes me very happy. The flock flies well now stretching out in all directions. We are prepping the trailer and soon will start the training schedule. They are maturing very quickly and already I see them mating and trying to find a secluded spot to nest. Lots of outside time keeps them in check.



    Life at the Empire Loft has been somewhat frantic these last few days. I've seen all of Ontario meeting folks and receiving birds. A couple more days of replacements and one more shipment from out west and hopefully that will be it.  All but the last newbies are flying very well. They soon will be ready to start up the road. Don't forget, at the end of June you have to activate any of the extra birds on your 5 bird teams.

    We have a problem with the computor that won't be fixed untill next week. We can run the birds through the trap and scan their numbers, but we can't bring live clocking to the web site. Hopefully by Tuesday we will be able to do just that. Meantime, we will complete the electronic banding and have the rest of the birds settled for the main test next week.

Thanks, till next week, Rick


Hi to all

Our pickups are coming to an end. This week and maybe a bit of next and that will be it. I will miss travelling around the world in 80 days. We extended the pickups into June because so many were having trouble breeding youngsters in the beginning of the season. Must be the wet weather I guess. This week we are all over the place with two days of pickups at the airport, Tuesday and Friday. Call if you wish to meet somewhere. 

The birds are healthy and active. Every morning, a cloud of down feathers greet me when I enter the loft. They eat well, drink well and it shows when they exercise.There are about 520 birds flying in the main flock. They are outside about 6 hours a day. Already they are starting to ramble a bit. I believe that fresh air and exercise is the best thing that I can provide for them. I realise that the hawk takes the odd bird but the sacrifice of one is what we have to pay for the benefit of the whole.

The birds I picked up in the last 10 days or so and the ones coming this week are seperated from the main flock. They will not join together untill they have had their booster shot and their electronic bands activated. It would be impossible to pick out who has been vacinated and who has not had their booster if they were all together. They will have their time out in the morning.

When all have settled in and are roaming well, I will begin training. I expect that to begin at the end of June. I will devide them into four groups in the beginning and train one group at a time. This means less waiting time in a hot trailer and I hope it will lessen the amount of losses. 

At this time, I would like to thank all of you who have entrusted me with your young pigeons. I will do all I can to prepare your road warriors. I want your birds to be as fit as your neighbours to give everyone a shot at winning the gold.

Hope to see you all in September at shipping, the loft auction and for the barbeque on race day. Don't forget to check weekly for an update on your birds.

Rick and Linda

PS.  I have been asked to put up some photos and I will. At the moment, I am trying to get a handle on the computor program to show inventory, training races and the eventual races. In a week or so, I'll tackle this new smart phone I have. All I have managed to do so far is butt dial about forty people everytime I sit down. Last week I reached a woman in I think she said Iceland or it could have been Hamilton, I don't know, but she didn't know anything about racing pigeons, nor did she want to learn. 

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