|Racing pigeon photographed near Barkby, Leicestershire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Take into consideration the fact that pigeons rely on their internal compass, navigational skills, and homing instinct in order to fly to a designated point at the shortest route possible. You may have the fastest pigeon in a race, but it won't really matter if it doesn't fly in a straight line towards its goal. The more intelligent pigeons can orient themselves really well to any given location and have an innate feel for its coordinates.
These types of pigeons can be found by looking for bloodlines that can fly at very long distances. Young ones can fly at a distance of 300-350 miles while yearlings can fly up to 500 miles. These progenies are able to benefit from the genes of their parents whose long flights have helped them develop their intelligence as long-distance flyers. The ability to stay in flight for long hours has provided them opportunities in developing their decision-making skills in times of fatigue. These birds also have extensive experience in dealing with any type of weather, which should be beneficial given the fact that the weather can be unpredictable at times.
This is why pigeons that are competitive in short races don't necessary become winners when joining long ones. Not having the experience to brave the hazards of long flights, these pigeons didn't get to hone their heart, intelligence, and stamina. Most importantly, their homing instincts are too undeveloped to be able to spot the shortest route; these pigeons also tend to lose their way easily. As a result, short distance racers quit at the slightest provocation.
Keeping the pigeons healthy is also very important and that is why physical conditioning should always be administered the moment a young pigeon learns to fly in order to develop strength, stamina and recovery time. This means having them fly consecutive weeks at a distance of 200-350 miles. The moment you spot a pigeon that easily gives up after a few weeks, no matter how fast it is, is the time to judge that bird as incapable of winning any race competitions.
Always keep in mind that heredity plays a big factor in determining a winner. While it doesn't guarantee that a super pigeon will have competitive offspring, it sure does increase its chances. This is small-scale evolution doing its own work, and we might as well work with nature to find success in the sport.
It is important that you verify the accuracy of the information tagged to a pigeon before making any purchases. Lastly, make sure to have a holistic approach to picking the right racing pigeon. If you take stock of a pigeon's mental faculties as well as its physical ones, you just might be on your way to raising a champion.