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July 24, 2021 12:55 AM   Subscribe

What Birmingham Roller Pigeons Offer the Men of South Central

Birmingham Rollers are a kind of domesticated pigeon that, well … watch them do their thing. How they got from their roots in the English midlands to popularity in LA is the subject of this compelling long read.
posted by scruss (7 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
CW on roller pigeon videos: the one I linked to doesn't have any, but deep-divers should avoid any video with "rolldown" or "roll-down" in the title: warning for animal injury and suffering. I watched a couple of rolldown videos accidentally and they are very distressing.

I didn't link to the previous article on Birmingham Rollers on mefi because it's from 2007 and we can do things better now.
posted by scruss at 1:01 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]

This was a fascinating glimpse into a subculture I'd never even dreamed existed. Thanks for posting it!
posted by ropeladder at 6:29 AM on July 24

Fascinating read! I love LA history, and the mention of Johnny Otis sent me down a rabbit hole.
posted by Bee'sWing at 8:33 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]

I learned about these when I was living in Birmingham, England and Mike Tyson came to visit in order to meet with some breeders of Birmingham Rollers. What a strange place this world is!
posted by srboisvert at 12:23 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]

As I recall, the previous post discussed how thousands of raptors a year are slaughtered illegally in the LA area by roller enthusiasts, because the birds exercised their proper function of killing weak and ill birds. So, even apart from the questionability of breeding animals for a birth defect (though dog breeders are far worse on that point), I can't say I have much fondness for this particular hobby.
posted by tavella at 2:58 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]

I found this absolutely fascinating. I went and check out the author's bio and am now following her on IG. Thanks for posting.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:35 PM on July 25

As I recall, the previous post discussed how thousands of raptors a year are slaughtered illegally

Ostensibly, yes, but MeFi 2007 was a shittier place and the discussion got racist af real fast. So it doesn't belong here
posted by scruss at 7:06 PM on July 26

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