Yesterday, we received a specially designed pigeon loft left over from this summer’s “Fly by Night” performance in New York City by artist, Duke Riley. During “Fly By Night”, nearly two-thousand birds, wearing tiny LED lights, circled above the East River, illuminating the night sky - it was a spectacular show. Many of the birds were from Duke’s personal flock or rescued from pigeon fanciers in the region - Homers and Flights, Rollers and Tumblers, Russian Highfliers, as well as one of the oldest breeds, the Syrian Damascene, were part of the performing group.
Now that the performance is over, Duke is keeping many of the pigeons as his pets. Others will be returned to their original homes, or placed with experienced bird owners. I will keep a small number here at the farm. Pigeons have been domesticated for thousands of years and have been kept by people worldwide for their companionship, their sport, and their loyal service. Helping to home these birds is a nice way to pay tribute to the pigeon and its fascinating history. Enjoy the photos.
One of two pigeon lofts arrived at the farm from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City.
Pete and Jonah put plywood boards down to help make it easier for the truck to pass over the ditch on the side of the carriage road.
Mike guides the truck to its location not far from my chicken coops, just behind the new pumpkin patch.
Once placed, the outdoor grounds crew worked to carefully lower the structure from the truck and onto the grass.
The loft was originally part of a series of pigeon houses used for the “Fly by Night” performance by artist, Duke Riley.
Some of you may recall, I attended the show in June. During the performance, Duke released a flock of talented pigeons that elegantly twirled, swooped, and glided above New York City’s waters.
The show was a tribute to the pigeon and the fascinating history of pigeon flying. Pigeons are renowned for their outstanding navigational abilities and Pigeons are renowned for their outstanding navigational abilities and can fly at altitudes up to and beyond 6000-feet.
Before the performance, all the pigeons sat atop their coops on the Baylander, a decommissioned Vietnam-era Navy ship.
This was loft # 3. Duke, and some carpenter helpers, built the collection of lofts for the performances.
Pigeon lofts often contain specially constructed openings to allow the birds to come and go, but also to keep them safe and provide nesting accommodations. This section is all enclosed with special netting. The small opening outlined in white is how the birds enter the enclosure from this end of the loft.
Concrete blocks were placed under each corner of the structure to provide a sturdy base and to keep the loft off the lawn.
The structure is very heavy, so each corner was carefully lifted as each block was put into position.
Next, Chhiring and Pete emptied the loft, removing all the other platforms, and stairs made by the carpenters for the pigeons to get in and out of the space. Everything will be repainted Bedford Gray to match all the other buildings on the farm.
On one side of the loft is an entire wall of nesting spaces. Pigeons mate for life, and tend to raise two chicks at the same time. Both female and male pigeons share responsibility of caring for and raising young.
A wall of roosting posts is on the other side. Pigeons are highly sociable animals. They will often be seen in flocks of 20 to 30 birds.
This is an exterior platform and doorway for the pigeons to enter the loft.
When it arrived, the loft was actually in need of a thorough cleaning, so Pete began power washing the structure.
Each entrance was sprayed several times. Pigeons are actually very clean animals.
Pete also power washed the floors in the loft.
And every single nesting box.
The walls are so clean. The shelf floors for the nesting boxes are removable, so brand new ones were provided and will be installed after the loft dries.
This is the back of the loft, where the pigeons eat, drink and socialize with each other.
Look how clean it is after a good power wash. It will look even more beautiful after it’s painted and refurbished.