Ace Hole - The trap door you want your bird to go in on race day

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.

Apple Bodied – See Blocky

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. .

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 to 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.

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


Bars - Color bands across the back part of the top surface of a Racing Homer's wing.

Basket Training – After basketing their birds fanciers bring them to release points where

they are released, to get them ready and trained for flying back to the loft.

Basketing – To load your birds into the training or shipping basket.

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".

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.

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. See also trap


Bob Trap – A simple one way trap fixed to the loft which has rods that only swing in one

direction that the pigeon pushes against to get into the loft but cannot get out. Not a good trap for

birds that need to be timed. See also Trap

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



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


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.

Circle Of Adaption – The ring just outside the pupil of the eye, usually black or greenish

black in color and can come in many various sizes and shapes. Seeeye sign,

Circle Of Correlation – The ring of the eye just outside the circle of adaption, can come in

many colors including yellow, green, black, blue, grey, white or violet. Seeeye sign,

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.

Clusters – Clusters can be found moving about in the pupil of the pigeons eye, some are large

enough to be stationary and can be seen without a loupe, usually yellow, gold or silver. See eye


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

Cobby – See Blocky

Cock - A male Racing Homer.

Columbidae – The species of bird which the pigeon fall under.

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


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

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

Cooing – The sound pigeons make during courtship. Same ascrowing


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. Considered a flaw in the pigeon.

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


Crop Milk – also known as pigeon’s milk, it is a secretion from the lining of the crop of pigeons

and doves which the parents feed their young by regurgitation

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.

Crowing – See Cooing

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

Curb Appeal – Refers to how appealing your loft looks in the area or from the “curb” of the

street. Ex “That loft has great curb appeal” Lofts should have good curb appeal which helps keep

the image of pigeon racing in good standings with the community.


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.


Double Widowhood – Double widowhood is basically the same as Widowhood but

instead of only racing the cocks, you race both the cocks and hens to the same box. See Also


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


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.


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

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. Related terms loupe, reflex action, pupil, circle of adaption, circle of correlation,

iris, health circle, clusters.


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.


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


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

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


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.

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 – Predator to pigeons

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

Health Circle – The outer most ring of the pigeons eye, which is dark black or grayish except

in red birds where it is reddish brown and a lighter color. It is the blood supply to the eye, also

called the health ring. See eye sign,

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.

Iris – The ring of the eye just outside of the circle or correlation, has two parts the inner iris

which is white or lightly colored and the outer iris which is dark and richly colored. See eye sign,


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.


Lab – (the lab) Slang term for Loft or Coop

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


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 – The person(s) who let the birds out of the shipping crates during the start of 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, also called a coop.

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.

Loft Management – Properly managing a loft for successful results, such as managing

breeding, conditioning, feeding, health and racing.

Loft Manager – The person in charge of managing the loft

Loupe – A device used to look through to magnify an object, Mainly used for eyesign research.

See eye sign,



Mandible - The beak or bill.

Master – The owner of the pigeons.

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


Nestbox – A compartment in the loft where a cock and hen lay eggs, incubate there eggs,

build nests and care for their young. Nestboxes are usually clustered together sort of like a

pigeon apartment building. A nestbox is there apartment within the loft.

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


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.

Open Door Trap - An open door trap is simply a hole with a hinged door. This can be

locked open, closed, or set open about 4 inches for trapping race birds. Open door traps are used

for widowhood racing where once the pigeon enters he flies straight to his nestbox where he can

be clocked. See also Trap

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)

PE – Abbreviation for Pigeon Elite

Pectorals - The large muscles lying on both sides of the keel, which are used to drive the

wings during flight.

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

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

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

Pigeonary - Dictionary of words and terminology used for pigeons.

Pigeon Club - A number of fanciers who join together to race pigeons.

Pigeon Elite – An elite pigeon or group of pigeons with outstanding racing records. Also the

title of one of the most informative pigeon racing books available (see www.pigeonelite.com)

Pigeon Milk – See Crop Milk

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


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.


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.

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.

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.

Pupil – The small round black center of a pigeons eye. See eye sign,



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 bird season and old bird

season, times of the seasons vary depending on location.

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.


Ranging – See Tripping

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.

Reflex Action – a term used in eyesign research, the action the pigeons pupil makes the

instant light hits it. See eye sign,

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

Ring - See Band

Ringing – See Banding

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.

Routing – See Tripping

Rubber Necking – The act of looking for your birds to return on race day.

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 - See 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

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.

Sputnik Trap - Advantages of Sputniks are that they act as a combination aviary, sun porch,

release door, landing board, and trap, all in one. Since no bobs are involved, birds are less likely

to hesitate entering the loft. See also Trap

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. See also


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?"

See also Bobs, Bob Trap, Stall Trap, Open Door Trap, Sputnik Trap, Trapping

Trapping – The act of trapping or capturing your birds into the loft.

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 “scouting, 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.


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


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.

Widow – A lone hen who lost her mate (possibly due to a hawk attack or disease)

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. See also Double Widowhood

Windspeed - Program used in calculating race results.



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.