A Putney pupil is celebrating her successes after her fancy pigeon, ‘Velvetier’, won two races on behalf of Oasis Academy Putney.
Putney pupil Alexandra Sinclair joined the Young Fanciers, a member group where school-aged pigeon enthusiasts learn about and race pigeons after becoming interested in pigeons’ historical role in communications, such as relaying messages during World War I. The group is part of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA)’s schools outreach programme, which Oasis Academy Putney joined earlier this year.
As part of the school outreach programme, Booth & Roper, a pigeon breeder, donated a pigeon to go into the ‘One Loft’ – a loft in Tewksbury where pigeons belonging to owners without their own coop live and train together.
The pigeon won first prize in the school category of the 103 mile race from Worksop to Tewkesbury, returning 60th out of the 805 total birds in the race. Velvetier also placed fourth in the school category in a second, 235 mile race.
Pigeons race using their unique abilities to navigate such as smell and electromagnetism (the Earth’s magnetic field). They have magnetite (iron) in their beaks and special cells in their eyes that can potentially see magnetic fields. They also use visual cues, including the position of the sun.
Thanks to Velvetier’s successes, the school received prize money of £100 and £250 respectively.
Principal Glenn Lillo of Oasis Academy Putney said, “I’d like to offer my congratulations to Alexandra and Velvetier. We are grateful that pupils at Oasis Academy Putney have access to a large variety of extracurricular activities that allow them to widen their horizons and explore new interests. Thank you to the Royal Pigeon Racing Association for their support.”