Pigeon owner in Tamil Nadu’s Kovai eyes race record

Express News Service

COIMBATORE: Remember Maari, the Tamil movie which highlights pigeon races? Well, if you don’t, then this domestic pigeon will surprise you. A Thavadaal variety pigeon (Columbia livia domesticata), aged less than one year, has set a record by flying 85 hours and 11 minutes in a seven-day race held in Kempatty colony recently.

Out of 13 birds that participated, the one owned by S Udayan secured first place by flying for longer than the prescribed time limit. As per the competition rule, a bird would be eligible to fly the next day if it completed over 10 hours on day one.

Udayan (36), a goldsmith, told TNIE, “On day one, my pigeon was released at 7 am and it was airborne till 7.53 pm. It did not take water nor sit. It flew for 13 hours and 53 minutes on day one and 13 hours on the seventh day. A referee was appointed to monitor the bird.”

Sharing his training techniques, Udayan said, “My younger brother MS Saravanan and I rear over 100 birds in my house. We have been participating in bird races for the last two decades. We learnt the art of pigeon rearing and racing from my father Sivaraj and grandfather Masane Gowder. Every day, we spend `100 to buy feed such as Ragi, Maize and green gram.”

He added, “We also provide them nutritious food such as almonds, dates and cashew to improve their stamina while racing.”

The Coimbatore District Pigeon Welfare Association has recognised the bird’s talent and Udayan plans to approach the Guinness Book of Records for an entry.  “I am also speaking with members of pigeon welfare association in Chennai and they have assured me to help me get the bird’s victory in Guinness Books of Records.”

Recounting his birds’ earlier victory, he said, “In 2002, one of our female birds flew 79 hours and 25 minutes and set a record.”

When contacted, former secretary J Ramakrishnan and present secretary of Coimbatore District Pigeon Welfare Association A Abbas said, “So far, pigeons have flown up to 82 and 83 hours. Only the pigeon owned by Udayan flew for 85 hours and 11 minutes.”

O Dharamalingam’s bird flew for 83 hours 49 minutes and secured second place whereas AKS Groups secured third place with the bird flying for 76 hours and 30 minutes.

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