Keith Ruiz of Kekaha won the latest of the Kauai Invitational Racing Pigeon Club Young Bird Average Speed, five-race series. The times were calculated at the club’s last meeting on Sunday.
A new series of races for the club will commence October 18.
Steve Ruiz, a member of the club, said yesterday that these races are part of an ongoing effort to inform the public that such a club exists and that the birds are specially bred and raised for races. Compared to a wild pigeon, these racing birds are much sleeker in body and are well maintained, he said.
Today, Steve Ruiz will be on O‘ahu tracking the courses for the next race to get the exact distances from the start-to-finish sites.
The club held a one-loft series of five races — which started in September — for an average speed winner. Four of the races were held from the coast of Ni‘ihau and the fifth and final race was from Kilauea.
The birds were taken by boat to the Ni‘ihau coastal area and released to return to their loft at Sonny Figaroa’s home in Hanapepe Heights, a distance of approximately 33 miles.
Two birds were collected from each member at an early age and settled at Figaroa’s loft. There were 14 birds entered and flown each week until the series ended. The birds flew over 20 miles of open ocean and another 13 miles over land to Hanapepe.
The race was exciting as the leaders changed each week.
It finally ended with a simple 20-mile race from Kilauea, a direction unfamiliar to the birds. This shift in direction changed the entire outcome of the race. The birds actually took longer to home from Kilauea than from Ni‘ihau.
Ruiz’s bird No. 8097 won the average speed by less than 1-yard per minute. Coming in a close second, was a bird from Brian Pascua’s loft, also in Hanapepe Heights.
The racing birds were released, then clocked electronically for their time of arrival. The speed is then calculated electronically by the number of yards per minute that the bird actually flies.
After the five races, a winner emerges to the winners circle.
The birds are bred, trained to fly the distance, and use their homing abilities to return to their loft.
The racing pigeon fancier hones in on that homing ability by putting their birds through training tosses, a step at a time towards the release point, until they are fit to cross the waters for a race.
The next race will begin in mid-October from the four corners of O‘ahu.
A total of four young bird races will determine new winners.
Currently, there are seven members in the local club. For more information on the club, call Figaroa at 335-0500.