Common Pigeon Terms

Des Moore's Pigeon Domain

Queensland 10000 one loft race
Judging Racing Pigeons
The Pigeon Wing in Focus
Selecting a Pigeon for Distance Racing
**Where do your Champions live**
My 12 Points
My Breeding Feed Mix
Australian Pigeon Club Contacts 2
List of my Australian ring Collection
Australian Ring Alphabet Prefix
World Wide Information
Selecting a Good Pigeon
World Wide Holiday Information
lost or found a pigeon
Common Pigeon Terms
special Poems
The Darkness System
Australian Pigeon Club Contacts id23
Pigeon Ring Exchange id22
Rings From Falcon nest
One loft and Special Races id21
Special Races
Racing Pigeon Auctions id20
Racing Results
Thought for the day id15
Personal information id3
My lifetime with pigeons id10
Pigeon Photos id4
Race results id11
Winners bred for others
Advertisements id12
Famous pigeon fanciers
Jokes and Humour id16
Cartoons id19
Loft profiles
How True
Catalogues and Sales id6
Winning with Hens
Articles id9
Awards and Trophys id7
Links id8
Denmark directory id18

Courtesy of Charles Dismore F B I Lofts


Most Commonly Used Terms in the


This page under constant Construction

If you have words or phrases to ADD, please send me an email....







Ace Hole - The single most favorite trap door you want your bird to go in on race day, unless you miss pronounced it because the bird was late.

Airline - The straight line distance in the nearest thousands of a mile from the loft to the point of release of a race.  Computed by approved civil engineering firms.  Now, most clubs and organizations use the GPS.

Air Sacs - Nine hollow areas extend throughout the pigeon's body. Air flows through this system of interconnected sacs almost like blood in the circulatory system.

Arm -The humerus - this is the bone in the wing which projects directly from the body.

Arrival Time - The official clocking time of a Racing Homer from a race.

Ash - A Racing Homer of a light tannish color over its entire body and having no bars across its wings.  Sometimes called a barless Mealy.  Once an Ash, always an Ash.

AU - Abbreviation for the American Racing Pigeon Union, Inc.; the largest national Racing Homer organization in the United States.

Average - About the same as.

Average Speed - Best performance in a loft for a Young Bird or Old Bird Series. Figured by taking the sum of all birds clocked in a single loft, and dividing that by the amount of races flown. If a loft misses one race, they are out of that seasons competition for Average Speed Award.

Aviary - A wire enclosure attached to the loft so the Racing Homers can sun themselves and in which a bath may be given.  Also used to train young birds or their surroundings just outside of the loft.  It enables the birds be outside on landing board learning how to enter the trap door without being able to fly away from the loft, too young to return home.


Balanced - The term used for the way the bird feels when you hold it in your hand.  Good balance is a must.

Bananas - The pattern of scales on the feet and legs.

Band -  Band is made out of metal or plastic put on a leg of the pigeon with bird number, year of birth, club or organization. Other type has information of ownership- Name, Address and Phone Number. Hopefully, this band is an ID that anyone who might find the bird where it is not supposed to be, can contact the owners for return.  NOT a group of musically endowed pigeons.

Banding - At 7 days old, racing pigeons need to have a unique identification put on one the right leg. This procedure is called banding.  Also used for shipping nights when the birds receive a rubber countermark on their leg for that weekends race.  (The bird returns home off the race, the master pulls the countermark off their leg and places it in a clock that kicks the exact time or arrival).

Bars - Color bands across the back part of the top surface of a Racing Homer's wing.  Not the local place they hang out sucking suds.

Bastard Flight - A small flight like feather that is found at the joint of the wing butt.

BB - Abbreviation for a Blue Bar Racing Homer.

BC - Abbreviation for a Blue Check Racing Homer.

Beak Angle - Angle formed between the forehead and beak.

Beard - A pigeon with excess flesh and feathers directly under the lower beak is said to          "have a beard".  Not a nickname for Frank Beard of "Z Z Top".

Bib - A color pattern of the front part of the neck.

Billing - Pigeon kissing.  When the female sticks her bill down the male's throat and takes an offering of regurgitated food. A behavior known as a prelude to mating.

Blocky - Broad and short of body; also called "apple bodied" or "cobby".

Bloom - A white, powder-like dust found in the feathers of pigeons.

Boom - The sound a gun makes during dove season.

Blue Bar - A Racing Homer of a light bluish gray color with two black bars across the back part of the top surface of its wing.  Sometimes simply called Blue.

Blue Check - A Racing Homer of a light bluish gray color with black checked patterns on the top surface of its wing.

Bobs - That part of the trap usually made of light weight aluminum rods that the Racing Homer pushes against to get into the loft. Normally used for a one way entrance.

Bowing - A courtship behavior of a male pigeon like puffing out his neck feathers, lowering his head and turning around in circles.

Breaking Point - A theoretical point where your bird must break from the flock of racing birds in order for it to win a race.  "Birds of Feather, Flock Together" and so do pigeons.  After liberation at a race station, the pigeons all fly pretty much together, OFTEN to the leader birds loft, then they start "breaking" to get to their own loft.

Breast - Crop region of the body; also includes the pectoral muscles.

Bull eye - A very dark colored eye, thick iris with "breeding grooves" which are black or dark in color


Calcutta - On pooling, this process is putting a loft (and his first bird in) up to the highest bidder, if this loft has the first bird in, the highest bidder who won that mans loft, wins the Calcutta.

Candy - A mixture of small grains used as a treat to entice the birds into faster trapping.

Canker - A yellowish cheesy deposit usually in the birds mouth or throat caused by the protozoan, Trichomonas.  Drug of choice is Emtryl.

Capsule - The metal/plastic device, either of the hinge or telescoping variety, in which the countermark is placed before kicking the clock to record flying time. Not all clubs or clocks require the use of capsules.

Carrying Crate - A device usually made of wood and canvas with a dowelled top with a door and a canvas flap type release door on its side; used to carry Racing Homers and release same.

Center - An administrative body that governs a large number of clubs within a geographical area.

Cere (eye) - Bare skin around the eye.

Champion Bird - Bird that flew best and placed higher most often in a Young Bird or Old Bird series of races.

Champion Loft - The loft that had more high points for winning birds in Young Bird or Old Bird series of races.

Checker - A Racing Homer with colored checked patterns on the top surface of its wings.

Circling - The act of a Racing Homer flying in a circular pattern around its loft.  Can apply to either loft exercises or after returning from a toss or race.  eg. "My bird arrived early off the race but it was "circling" for fifteen minutes before it came down and trapped."

Clock - A special timing device used to record the arrival times of the birds on a paper tape or electronically to the nearest second. 

Clock Opening - The time and place where the fanciers meet to calculate the speeds of the bird clocked and to determine the race winner.  Each clock is opened and the lofts results of returns are taken and added with all lofts for official race results.

Clutches - a name given to a set of eggs laid.

Cock - A male Racing Homer.

Combine - Two or more clubs that have coordinated race releases and compete for the same prizes and diplomas.

Common - This is a bridge bird or a bird that is not a thoroughbred racing pigeon.  Normally shows up in your yard when you are waiting for race birds to return.  Most flyers prefers that they have no visits from commons.

Concourse - Similar to a combine but usually larger.  Normally two or more combines flying together.

Condition - General health, muscular tone for racing, feather perfection.

Conveyor - A person who hauls the Racing Homers to the race release point.

Cooing - Pigeons make many sounds during courtship, such as "coo-roo-coo-tooo...".

Coop - A structure built to house the pigeons.  A loft.

Corkiness - The description given to a pigeon that is light in weight and in race condition.

Countermark - A rubber or stretchable plastic band with a number on it that is placed on the Racing Homer's leg before it is placed in the shipping crate to go out on a race. Verifying that bird with countermark was officially entered into that weeks race.

Cover Feathers - The cover feathers make up most of the wing and are attached to the upper part of the wing.

Coverts - the small feathers of the wings and tails.

Crest - Reversed feathers on the back of the head.

Crooked Keel - A crooked breast bone. A flaw.

Crop - The first stomach of the bird for storing feed located in a fleshy pocket on the neck. Here food is stored for around 12 hours inside the bird before it's passed into the stomach and intestines.

Cross Breeding - The mating of birds with no relationship within the previous five generations or unrelated birds. This is the simplest system and the one used by a lot of fanciers to avoid some of the hazards of in-breeding.

Cull - An unwanted bird; or to eliminate unwanted birds. (to cull)


Dam - Mother Homing Pigeon

Day Bird - A bird released on a race that makes it home before dark on the same day.

Diploma - A certificate issued by a club and its parent national organization recognizing the achievements of a Racing Homer in competition' awarded by the AU on the basis of one diploma for each 20 birds in the race.

Dovecote - Another name for a pigeon loft.

Down - Yellowish fuzzy type covering on newly hatched Racing Homers.

Drag - Term applied to where the majority of the lofts are located for a given race.  eg.  "I live in the south and most the flyers live up north and the "drag" takes my birds north 40 miles off line of flight."

Driving - Male pigeon runs closely behind his hen like chasing and pecking until she gets into the nest box. This is like tight guarding action.

Drop - During a pigeon race, birds will usually not arrive at the loft at the same time. Instead, they will come in groups, The first " drop " would be that group of pigeons that came home to the loft in the first grouping.

Dropper - A fancy type pigeon that is released in the fancier's yard and flies straight to the landing board to coax the Racing Homer out of the sky and onto the landing board. 

Droppings - Excrements of the Racing Homer.

Duck - A short fat feathered fowl that has a flat beak and webbed feet and wattles around going "QUACK QUACK"



Egg-bound - A hen is unable to lay a completely formed egg.

Egg-head - What I think a neighbor is when he says my birds keep him up at night crowing.

Entry Sheet - A sheet or form listing the birds entered in the race and including the identification of each.

Eye Sign - A theory that relates different types of eye patterns and colors to racing and breeding ability.  Or a wink in Brail.  See this link for a great study of "Eye Sign 101"  


Fancier - A person who raises or races Racing Homers. A person who breeds or grows a particular animal for points of excellence <a pigeon fancier>

Fancy Pigeon - Any of the many breeds of pigeons used for show purposes rather than for racing.  Usually refers to those breeds which have some special kind of feather arrangement, unique shape, size or color pattern.  See this site for great pictures of "Fancy Pigeons"

Feather Merchant - Someone who sells birds.  Normally, this refers to the top flyers who race world wide in many lofts, have outstanding winning results and champion birds and raise many pigeons to sell.

First Bird In - Term used for the returning birds from a race or a training toss.  eg.  "I tossed my birds yesterday from twenty miles away and my "First Bird In" came down with a hawk on his tail"

Flagging - Forcing the birds to fly (exercise around the loft) for a certain length of time.

Flogging - A term I use while talking to my pigeons about what happens to them if they come in second.

Flights - The 20 larger feathers in the Racing Homer's wing.  The outer 10 flights are called the Primaries.

Flyers - Pigeon Fanciers who are racing their birds in a certain season.

Flying to Perch - A racing system in which the Racing Homers fly only to their perch; usually used in young bird racing but bragged about in Old Bird Season.

Flying to Trees - On race day...this is an act of mutiny.

Form - The condition used in describing racing pigeons condition.

Fret Marks - Any horizontal mark on deformity on the feathers.  Results from lack of proper nutrients to the growing feathers or stress. 

Frill - Line of reversed feathers on the neck or crop.

Futurity Race - Race in which there are points or money that the winners receive.



Girth - Circumference of the pigeons body.

GMT - Greenwich Mean Time; official world standard time.

GPS - A navigation system that allows you to find the Longitude and Latitude of certain location.

Grit - A mixture of crushed quartz, granite, oyster shell and charcoal; salt; and trace elements.  A necessity for birds to grind up their food.

Grizzle - Refers to the color pattern of individual feathers of a pigeon that have two colors (Eg., white with gray flecks.)



Hall of Fame - National recognition for outstanding performance in racing.  

Hawk - One of our biggest problems.  Often called #!"X>!#*___ so and so.

Hawkbait - Often refers to birds that have a lot of white on them. 

Hen - A female Racing Homer.

Hold Over - When a race cannot be released for weather  reasons it will be held over for better conditions.

Hooples - A device similar to a tennis racket with a long handle that is used to herd the Racing Homers into the trap.



In-Breeding - The mating together of closely related Racing Homers.

In-Decisive - What I am before I load them up on shipping night.


Jewing - Part of the wattle on the lower beak.

Junior Member - A member of the AU who is younger than 18 years of age.



Keel - Bone running down the middle of the breast to which the pectoral muscles are attached.

Keratin - The protein from which the feathers are formed.

K Factor - Some say this disturbs the pigeons homing abilities. Daily regular magnetic field variation arise from current systems caused by regular solar radiation changes. Other irregular current systems produce magnetic field changes caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetosphere, by the magnetosphere itself, by the interactions between the magnetosphere and ionosphere, and by the ionosphere itself. Magnetic activity indices were designed to describe variation in the geomagnetic field caused by these irregular current systems.

Kick - Referring to the act of turning the knob on the timer (clock) that stamps the exact time.

Kicking - Action taken in setting all clocks to the same time. 

Kit - A flock of pigeons flying together as a team.

Kitten - A cute little fuzzy thing that likes milk.


Landing Board - A large flat surface on which the birds land before entering the trap and the loft.

Late Hatch - Name given to the 3rd or 4th round young birds which are usually too young to race in the young bird series of races.

Liberation - The act of liberating the race birds.  Letting them out of the shipping crates.

Liberator - A person who liberates the birds on a race.

Line of Flight - When training the pigeons, some may take their young birds out in all directions from their loft.  At a certain distance, they will then take their birds to train in the "line of flight", being in the direction of the coming seasons scheduled race course.

Loft - A structure usually of wood in which the Racing Homers are housed.

Loft Break - Teaching your birds where they live and to return to the loft.  eg. "Take these birds and they should be young enough to "loft break".

Loft Flying - Referring to birds released from the loft for exercise and they circle the yard.


Mandible - The beak or bill.

Master - What the pigeon calls its owner.

Master Timer - A timing device fitted with a sweeping second hand used to synchronize all the clocks.

Mealy - A racing Homer of a light tannish color with red-brown bars across the back part of the top surface of its wings.

Moult - The yearly process of losing all feathers and growing new ones in a systematic manner.  The heaviest part of the moult occurs during late summer and early Fall.


Natural System - A racing system in which the birds are kept paired, sitting on eggs or rearing youngsters and used for motivation during a race.  Most mother fly hard to get back to their young babies.  Oddly enough, as the babies are starting to feather, the fathers fly hard to return.

Nicking - Term used when a strain of family of Racing Homers cross well and produce winners.

Nickel - Five pennies tightly rolled up into one coin.

Night Flight - Term used when the birds refuse to land after their normal evening exercise period and fly all night.


Old Bird - Any Racing Homer more than one year old.

On the Drop - Referring to how many birds came in and landed first.  eg. "I had seven birds "on the drop" off the 600 mile race.

One Loft Race - A specific loft where breeders send their birds and all the birds are raced from that one loft.

OOA - Abbreviation for Out of Area birds.  Birds shipped in for certain races.

Out-Cross - Mating together of unrelated strains or families of Racing Homers.

Overfly - A loft located farther from the release point than another loft is said to have "overfly" on the shorter loft by the difference in distance.


Pd - Abbreviation for a Pied Racing Homer. (color white mixed on head)

Pectorals - The large muscles lying on both sides of the keel. 

Pedigree - The written ancestry and racing record of a Racing Homer.

Perch - An elevated place made for the birds to perch on.

Pied - A Racing Homer with white feathers on its neck or head.

Pigeonary - Dictionary of words and terminology used for pigeons. See a Canadian Pigeonary

Pigeon Club - A number of fanciers who ban together to race pigeons.  Has nothing to do with a ban of pigeons united.  It is not a big stick used to beat pigeons.

Pigeon Toed - Really has nothing to do with pigeons.

Pin Feather - A growing feather of the young pigeons that has not yet broken through the shaft.

Pipping - The process of the young bird chipping out of the egg shell during hatching.

Plumage - General feathering

Poles - Sticks made of bamboo or wood used to herd the birds to the trap.

Polls - The place to be to vote on the lesser of two evils.

Pool - Refers to the betting that may take place.

Pot Eggs - Artificial eggs made of wood or plastic used to replace real eggs when hatching is undesirable.  They are used most often in old bird racing season so that the birds racing will not be exhausted from feeding young.

Premaxilla - The beak

Primaries - Last 10 large flight feathers in the Racing Homer's wing.

Priority - Is what I should consider to make a list of what I should do next.  See also:  procrastinate

Prisoner - A Racing Homer that is never allowed out of the loft in which it is housed.  Usually refers to a bird acquired from someone else that is too old to loft break.

Procrastinate - What I do when faced with having to make a list.

Pumpers - Pigeons used as foster parents.

Pumping - Taking the eggs from the best breeders and putting them under pumpers.  Allowing the best pair to lay again in an effort to get as many "best birds" as possible.


Quick - What we call a bird that was clocked flying over 2,500 ypm

Quicker - What I should have been when the wind blew a twenty dollar bill out of my hand.

Quickest - The way Vinny moved when he saw a twenty dollar bill  blowing out in the parking lot.


Race - A competitive sporting event to find out who had the fastest pigeon that day.

Race Course - Often voted on for direction and race stations for the coming race season.          eg. North, South, East, or West, or points in-between.  The course will always stay in one direction for a season.

Race Season - Normally, there are two seasons a year.  Young birds fly from Sept to Dec and Old birds fly from March to May here in the North Texas Concourse Arena.

Race Secretary - The person voted in to make the decision for releasing birds on a race (working with race committee.)

Race Station - The designated point of release.  Often named after the nearest town or city.

Race Team - The pigeons that one uses during a season of racing in either young bird or old birds series.

Racing Homer - A pigeon whose ability to quickly return home that has been selectively bred over hundreds of generations.

Racing Widows - Sometimes referring to the wives of  fanciers who spend so much time in the loft and with their birds.  

Rank - A process in courtship when the hen is thoroughly aroused and is eager to tread with the cock.

RB - Abbreviation for a red bar (Mealy) Racing Homer.

RC - Abbreviation for a red check Racing Homer.

Red Bar - The same as Mealy.

Red Book - A book used to determine the fraction of the variation time on the clock's paper tape that is slow or fast with respect to the master timer that is to be added or subtracted, respectively, from the arrival time of a bird as shown on the clock's paper tape to determine the actual arrival time of the Racing Homer by the master timer.  Also called "Black Book".

Red Check - A Racing Homer of a light reddish color with dark red-brown checked patterns on the top surface of its wing.

Result Sheets - The print out of the results from a given race.

Ring - Refers to the band we put on the birds leg.  See Band

Road Training - Birds crated, driven to an open area in the country that is free of obstructions and released to fly home.  Also called "tossing" the birds.  Process is usually referred to during young bird training, during the month before official races start.

Rubber Necking - What you do on a race day waiting for your birds to return.

Running Board - A horizontal 4 to 6 inch wide board running the width of the aviary for the birds to stand on.

Runt - A youngster that did not develop properly.



Scales - The dead skin on the body which surrounds the breast-bone

Scouting - Same as "tripping".

Secondaries - The 10 smaller flight feathers in the Racing Homer's wing next to its body.

Settling - The act of acclimating young birds to the loft and letting the birds go outside of the loft for the first time.

Settling Cage - A wire cage that sits on the landing board and encloses the front of the trap; used to loft break young birds or prisoners.

Shipping - The procedures in which the members of a racing pigeon club gather to enter their birds into racing competition.

Shipping Crate - A crate used to carry the Racing Homers to the race release point.

Silky - Term used to describe healthy feathers.

Single Toss - Tossing a Racing Homer by itself.

Sire - Father Homing Pigeon

Skipping - What little folks do when they are having fun.

Smash - The dreaded result of NO BIRD returns from a race or toss.

Spl - Abbreviation for a splash Racing Homer (white feathers splashed throughout body).

Splash - Irregular arrangement of white and colored feathers on a Racing Homer's body.

Spraddle Legged - A young bird with its legs horizontal to its body so that it can not stand up.  This condition results from insufficient amount of nesting material.

Squab - A baby pigeon.

Squeaker - Young Racing Homer from 2 to 8 weeks old.

Stall Trap - A type of trap designed with several partitions so that only one Racing Homer may enter a stall at a time.  It has a locking device that keeps the bird in the stall until the countermark is removed.  Only after the fancier unlocks the trap can the Racing Homer enter the loft.

Stockings - Feathers on the legs or feet.


Team - The group of homers that are being raced or flown.

Throw Back - A color pattern or type that does not look like either parent, but which greatly resembles a distant relative.

Tick - One or two white feathers located behind the Racing Homer's eye.

Tossing - The act of taking a Racing Homer away from its loft and releasing it so that it has to fly home.

Trap - The device that allows a Racing Homer to enter its loft but from which it cannot exit its loft.  Also used to designate the time the birds enter the loft. ex. "What time did your bird TRAP?"

Treading - The sexual act where the cock jumps onto the hen's back.

Tripping - Refers to the exercising Racing Homers leaving the immediate vicinity of their loft and flying for long periods of time.  Also called "ranging - or routing".


 Unikon - Electronic clocking system.  Has antennas in the trap and chip rings on the pigeons leg that electronically clock the exact second the bird goes through the trap.  

Unitarian - A free lance Christian that can't make up their mind which God to believe in.


Variation Time - The time difference between the clock and the master timer.

Velocity - Average speed of pigeon in a race expressed in meters per minute or yards per minute.

Vent Bones - Two small bones directly behind and on either side of the breast bone and under its tail.

Visitor - A bird from another loft that comes into your loft would be a visitor.



Wattle - Fleshy cover on the nostrils behind the upper beak.

Weaning - Taking the young birds away from their parents; usually done at 28 days of age, plus or minus a few days.

Wflt - Abbreviation for white flight.  

White Flight - A Racing Homer with one or more white primary-flights.

Widowhood - A racing system whereby the cock bird races to the hen.  He only sees the hen immediately before and after coming home from the race.  There are about a half dozen ways to fly "widowhood" but they all consist of ways to motivate the bird racing into flying faster to get home to see what is going on with his family.

Windspeed - Program used in calculating race results.



X-Ray Glasses - Don't really work.


Yearling - A one year old Racing Homer.

Young Bird - A pigeon that is not a year old. 

YPM - Abbreviation for yards-per-minute; used to give the speed of the Racing Homer when they have been officially clocked coming off a race.


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