How we roll
July 15, 2007 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Roller pigeons also known as Birmingham Rollers are pigeons that are noted for their mid-air somersaults. These acrobatics also make the birds irresistible to hawks, falcons and other birds of prey, and some roller pigeon enthusiasts are fighting back. Investigators are estimating that local enthusiast clubs are responsible for the deaths of 1000-2000 raptors in the Los Angeles area annually. One man bragged about capturing 30 hawks in 45 days. The National Birmingham Rollers Club has issued a press release distancing themselves from the men under investigation but requests Fish and Wildlife Services to provide aid under laws protecting livestock predated by endangered species.
posted by hindmost (28 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It should be highlighted that among the men currently charged are the national president of the NBRC, the president of the Inner City Roller Club, and a former president of the California Performance Roller Club.
posted by hindmost at 1:31 PM on July 15, 2007

So what they are doing is inbreeding a genetic trait? I can't see the use for that rolling but in a predation situation , but I can see the absurdity of killing raptors because some their owners like to see their pigeons rollings. It's not not the tragedy of the commons, it's a tragedy of unmitigated selfish stupidity.

On a tangent: I would like to see the owners spin as well :D ! Dat be humiliatingly phunny !
posted by elpapacito at 1:36 PM on July 15, 2007

Predation by hawks has become a part of life not only for Roller pigeon enthusiasts, but also racing pigeon enthusiasts, game breeders, commercial hatcheries, and any other business or hobby that exposes domestic birds to elements of the wild.
Its like they are blaming the hawks for attempting to live by eating their prey. If they don't want these pigeons to be eaten by hawks, they could just stop domesticating them and then exposing them to the wild.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:37 PM on July 15, 2007

"Some of these guys allegedly used weapons and guns with silencers and shot hawks right in their backyard with houses next door,"

That sounds like a good way to get some of the neighbors to shoot back. These people are idiots.

I lived across the street from a family that bred and raced pigeons, long ago. They were really annoying, pigeons and people both. I'm rooting for the hawks.
posted by homunculus at 1:52 PM on July 15, 2007

Mike Tyson visited some pigeon breeders while in the Birmingham area and ate a couple of rollers raw. Pictures here. It's not in the link but he said they tasted like ear.
posted by srboisvert at 2:10 PM on July 15, 2007

"With regard to how the hobby and the Roller pigeon have been portrayed by the media, Rollers are domestic pigeons of many beautiful colors and markings. They are not common street pigeons."

Hawks or no hawks, there's no good in perpetuating this invidious caste system.

Come on, pigeons now, smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:18 PM on July 15, 2007

You can’t breed two deep rollers or their young – their offspring – would roll all the way down, hit, and die. Agent Starling is a deep roller. Let us hope one of her parents was not.
posted by public at 2:25 PM on July 15, 2007

Rare hitchhiker-bird caught on film.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 2:30 PM on July 15, 2007

I've always thought that pigeons where the lamest, most useless birds ever. These rolling ones look even more clumsy and stupid than the regular kind.

A few years ago while churning away at some treadmill at a 3'rd story gym at the center of the city I saw a hawk chasing down a pigeon. This episode raised my opinion of these rats in the sky somewhat. These pigeons can go really, really fast when they want to. All in all it was probably my coolest and most beautiful ornithological experience ever.

People killing hawks just to save these creatures are like, uh, people killing unicorns because they like grass so much... (I guess unicorns eat the grass but I'm not an expert on unicorns)
posted by uandt at 2:37 PM on July 15, 2007

Anyone remember that Mission:Impossible episode from the original first season (Steven Hill, not Peter Graves), where the tape was hidden on a rooftop pigeon coop. The woman on the rooftop pointed out a roller pigeon to Mr. Briggs. In classic Steven Hill fashion. He silently smiled. How cool.
posted by lonemantis at 2:49 PM on July 15, 2007

Guy next door to me keeps pigeons. They seem like nice birds, they make a cute sound and fly around in a happy fashion. Rats of the sky? That's fucking ignorant. Human beings are parasites, from a certain angle. You make your own reality.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 3:06 PM on July 15, 2007

I want to hunt these assholes down and do terrible things to them. Stupid motherfuckers.
posted by rtha at 3:07 PM on July 15, 2007

If I was a super hero, I would be Rollerpigeon-Man and I would take out the bad guys my rolling into them from 50ft in the air.
posted by chillmost at 3:20 PM on July 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I get that the pigeon fanciers don't want their birds hurt, but it's frigging ILLEGAL to kill raptors, some of which are still on the Endangered Species list. If you can't find a way to practice your hobby without breaking the law and harming other animals, maybe it's time to find a new hobby.

Yeah, I'm definitely rooting for the hawks.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:27 PM on July 15, 2007

they make a cute sound and fly around in a happy fashion

You just described the difference between birds and bats. All birds make cute sounds (in one way or another) and living in the city I've never seen a pigeon flying happily. They just go from one pile of human waste to another. Just like rats.

I don't mind countryside pigeons. They are totally nice. Its just that many birds totally loose their style going too the city and pigeons are the worst.
posted by uandt at 3:34 PM on July 15, 2007

I guess unicorns eat the grass but I'm not an expert on unicorns

An expert on unicorns you are not. Unicorns live on boba drinks, as you can see for yourself in episode three.

Aside from that, don't cats catch their fair share of pigeons? If these people aren't silly hypocrites, I'd expect them to cull the neighbourhood moggies. Plenty of critters other than the tamed winged rats would benefit from this...
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:35 PM on July 15, 2007

(actually, better put: cats compete directly with raptors for prey, driving up the value of the pigeons as targets for the birds. cats probably don't actually get much of a look-in where tame pigeons are concerned)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:14 PM on July 15, 2007

Am I a bad person for wanting to track down and kill every pigeon these guys own?
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:01 PM on July 15, 2007

BrotherCaine, it's not the pigeons' fault - don't shoot the messenger!
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:10 PM on July 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Birds, bats, rats and cats? I'm getting confused. Why bats?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:11 PM on July 15, 2007

That's a related story, fff: The French are apparently culling the bats that roost in the Notre Dame steeples. It's not good for business, for the tourists to see the bats shit in the Seine.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:50 PM on July 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm very disappointed that these were not pigeons on roller skates.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:57 PM on July 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

What saps! If you’re going to blip off hawks while surrounded by pigeons, you better be ready to take a powder before the coppers show up.
posted by JeNeSaisQuoi at 7:06 PM on July 15, 2007

Pigeons are amazing fliers. The fighter jets of the bird world, really.

[quote]Cooper's Hawks are now to be found in abundance across the United States. They have become relentless in their pursuit of prey [/quote]
become relentless? Like, at some point in history they only sortofhalfass chased their prey?
posted by fshgrl at 11:22 PM on July 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

No, in the past they used to eat a pigeon and then, you know, go take a nap or whatever it is that birds do after dinner. Now they just eat and eat, growing bigger and bigger.

Don't piss them off!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:45 AM on July 16, 2007 [2 favorites]

bats shit in the Seine...

UbuRoivas you made me laugh.
posted by lapolla at 12:56 AM on July 16, 2007

* passes around favorite hat
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:16 AM on July 16, 2007

Ask MetaFilter: I'm not an expert on Unicorns.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:44 AM on July 16, 2007

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