It's raining young postal pigeons
Zwolse Courant, 18 july
(newspaper of Zwolle, the Netherlands)
From one of our correspondents.
TIEL/WOUDENBERG– At this time of year, it rains untrained postal
pigeons. Personnel of animal ambulances and bird asylums are kept busy
tending to the exhausted and often injured animals.
Pigeon keepers are often no longer interested in the drop-outs belonging
to them. It appears that way when one looks at the overcrowded hutches
in the animal ambulance in the Betuwe area and at the Bird Asylum in Woudenberg
near Utrecht. Helga Rosier of the asylum in Woudenberg tells us that it’s
the same story every year. As soon as the flying season begins, hundreds
of postal pigeons, particularly young and badly trained ones, fall prey
to exhaustion. Rosier: ‘They’re so mortally exhausted that
they’ve simply become unable to fly home, and then they get injured
by traffic or by a greedy cat.’ In Woudenberg, an average of ten
sick and wounded postal pigeons arrive per week.
The staff of the animal ambulance in Tiel are saddled with several tens
of found postal pigeons. ‘Because they’ve probably taken part
in fewer flights, they can’t handle a long flight.’ Jenny
Fliermans of the animal ambulance tells us. ‘If they survive it,
we patch them up again. But many die.’
The animal ambulance Midden-Betuwe (Elst area) is also inundated with
failed postal pigeons. The bird asylum in Tiel currently provides shelter
to four hundred of them, Jos Pluim tells us. Although the pigeon owners
are easy to trace through the rings that the pigeons wear on one of their
feet, most keepers refuse to come and fetch their weakened animals. Fliermans
and Rosier think it’s a scandal. ‘It’s criminal’,
says Fliermans. She thinks that pigeon keepers are reluctant to reimburse
the veterenarian costs. ‘Just throw it in the soup’, is what
she often gets to hear.
The nation-wide Dutch Postal Pigeon Keepers’ Organization (NPO)
of Veenendaal comments that they are shocked by the pigeon owners’
laxity and indifference. ‘They are bound by the rules of the NPO,
and as such it is their obligation to react when contacted by the bird
asylum’, says NPO-spokeswoman Carmen van Schaik.
According to Carmen van Schaik, the numbers of lost pigeons have significantly
risen in relation to previous years. She says that indeed, bad training
is to blame.