by Joshua Bey, Bronx, NY [For PDF version Click Here]
Tipplers are the true warriors of the sky when it comes to the pigeon wars in New York City. The tippler knows his companions from the loft and will kit tight as one platoon.
They are a family. Flights get crushed along side the pretty Rollers who get caught in these tippler world winds. The tippler shows no mercy and will either fly the stray pigeon to death, or drop at the command of his master and welcome the stray into the loft to pay future bills for feed, vitamins and medication. I have a team of 60 tipplers that will not split up when they bang into another stock which is excellent in the mist of war. Any tippler that does not kit and drop at my command is switched to the rehabilitation program, 4×4 coops which houses my losers and hard headed tipplers who need more discipline. I need soldiers, not time flyers AT THIS POINT.
Tipplers used in battle, are conditioned with Formula Powder to keep them from feeling fatigue in the mist of hard work during battling. They must constantly be up in the clouds and never flying too low. The time flying is not important at this point while in the sky. 100% focus and brains is needed most from the tippler. A quality many different breeds lack.
Once trained and in condition, the tippler knows its job and will roll out like racing homers and hit any stock in its vicinity. Time flying the tippler is of no importance when sending them on a mission with the flag. The leader must always be in position (The Racing Homer ) who’s duty is to cause the tipplers flying style to become more of a straight away type fly rather than a circling one.
Stocks collide. It is a breath-taking scene especially when you know you have sent 60 tipplers up and now the stock appears to be 200 strong. The rush sets in. You begin wondering what breed or special pigeon/pigeons are worth more than $30 a piece at the auction on Sundays. The stocks break up and you can still see the 60 kiting hard going back in for the kill. The tipplers appear to be chasing the other stock. Then 2 falcons come out of the wedlock and now everything is all over the sky except the kit of 60 tipplers who are conditioned too not fear. Maybe a few break loose but gets back into place quickly. The tipplers dive down to the coops naturally without droppers. A quick head count is done ….but now you have counted 87 instead of 60. Feed is tossed into the traps and the strays follow immediately. 27 strays are examined and crated up. FTS and ATU band pigeons are kept due to my belief of them being of quality blood line and are used for future breeding. I am quite sure I have Lovatts, Bodens, Davies, and Maccs…..you name it, in my lofts.
My phone rings. I have the stray owner on the other end…who agreed too the catch and keep rules……….. crying. I show mercy and sell a few back too the owner for $5.00 a piece. A quick $60.00 is made tax free, off the books before I EVEN hit the auction on Sunday’s. The other 15 strays are off too the Auction. The Auction is good. The birds starting bid is $5.00 a piece. Some of the pigeon guys take it too the extreme and begin bidding beyond the 30’s and 40′ for one bird.To make a long story short. I leave with 4 sacks of feed and light and gas bills get paid.This is done on a weekly basis for the past year. Is there any reason or doubt on why I should give up the Tipplers Of War???
Some of Joshua’s thoughts on training in the dark.
by Joshua Bey continued…
My tipplers in the summer time only fly at night from 9pm to 3am.No daytime flying ever. That is a fact and they are just regular tipplers. I use 2 giant lamps and bright yellow tape on top of my coop shaped like an X. I fly 9 tipplers from 9pm – 11pm. I don’t use droppers. I shut off one lamp and they come diving down fast. From 11pm, I turn out 50 more tipplers and they look real good kitting in the dark. One big problem……is that we live in the Bronx and on a few occasions night flying will have the falcon hitting you in the dark. I am telling you this from experience. I never thought that the falcon would attack at night but believe me he does. The Italian man across from my roof flies his flights at night also using one lamp and his birds fly very well in the dark. Now I am just a lay man when it comes to tipplers….but I sure know about flying in the dark. You should see my neighbors expressions at night.
My method of night flying is real simple. I keep my tipplers hungry all day and feed only at night in the summer, starting in early May.This is done for the whole month of May. The tipplers are released from the coop at pitch dark with no lights at all flapping around from the coop to the ground eating. After the birds have eaten all of the feed, they are left out all night in the dark to over come fear. I go back up to my roof at 5am with 2 lamps fully lit up which makes my entire roof look like day time. At first the birds are stunned and will just sit. I do not spook them or wave any flags…. I just observe their behavior. The cocks begin to flap around the hens…. cooing and really trying to mate at 5am in the morning. Some of the cocks mate and begin too clap off around the coop in the dark with the hens. Some may even bunk on another building …but like I said, I’m just observing at this point. After two weeks the birds will no longer bunk on other buildings. They are now into the second week of May clapping off into the dark throwing low hooks around the coop with the lamps lit up, one facing the coop, the other facing the roof. The third week of May is slightly changed, but the method is still the same. What I mean is: when I let the birds out at night, the 2 lamps are already on. Now I spook up all 60 tipplers with my flag and off they go into the air as if it were day time…flying very tight together around the roof. I do not allow them to land. I keep the flag on them…and they continue flying….looking real good. When they have flown for 30 minutes, I shut off the lamp facing the roof leaving the coop light lit. The birds are allowed to come down and are fed. I drill this into their heads until June. By June, the entire stock is flying on their own with or without me feeding them in the pitch dark looking like little bats from the street as long as them 2 lights are on. There is no need for droppers because I want them flying all night except for Saturdays and Sundays. Over the weekend, they bathe and have free time in the day time….which does not affect the night flying during the week. Now the negative side of the story is: Between June and September, there were times when the stock was flying very well when all of a sudden, the entire stock dropped on a building across from me and sat there for a few minutes. I didn’t understand why this was happening until one morning I begin to notice a bird missing. I paid it no mind at first….then it kept happening. One bird at a time begin missing every time they bunked on the next building. I got very angry and went across the street to spook them from the building rooftop and too my surprise, I saw the falcon swooping around my roof in the night. That’s right, in the nighttime. I couldn’t see him from my roof with the lights on but got a good view outside of the lighting. It was no hawk nor was it an owl…it was the falcon. He had me made at night. And I had to lay low for a while which destroyed my night stock. My new stock of 2006 young tipplers will be raised too fly only at night this summer. That is my new goal.