It was a hot
afternoon in the summer of 1969 when I went to visit my friend, Andrew Clayton.
His father took us both into the backyard where he had a loft, housing about
twenty white European Fantails. As a nine year old boy, I had never been that
close to pigeons. I can say I was most impressed. Mr. Clayton let Andrew and I
touch the birds and their eggs. Like all small children being exposed to pigeons
for the first time, we were both a little scared. We were also very fascinated
by them. Regardless of what I learned in the forthcoming years, whenever I went
to visit Andrew I always had to ask about the birds.
About five years ago, I purchased my own home and after fixing it up I noticed
that it was lacking something in the backyard. It is odd how the past can catch
up with you and all of a sudden you are seeking out people who have birds that
you are interested in. With much trial and error, Dora and I came across the
Flying Oriental Roller.
People told us the Oriental Roller could not fly and we would not be successful
in finding any that could. Rising to the challenge we purchased some birds from
several different breeders around America. We quickly found out that there seems
to be major confusion on what a Flying Oriental Roller should be.
The NPA has a
written standard for the Flying Oriental Roller and the birds are easy to find
on pages 653-655 of the Encyclopedia of Pigeons by Levi. Unfortunately, most of
the birds we received were crosses of who knows what. Needless to say we were
very disappointed. After trying the various types, we found that they were
either, too heavy to sustain flight for long or if they attempted a roll, it was
not a pretty sight.
expense and wasted effort, we gave up on the so called "American breeders". We
finally purchased a few genuine Flying Oriental Rollers from Turkey and Germany.
They were exactly what they were supposed to be and that was a pleasant
surprise, as well as a bit of a shock after so much hassle. I have yet to meet
an American breeder who has a true Flying Oriental Roller.
Oriental Rollers were a whole new experience for me. A true "Oriental Roller"
has the energy to out-maneuver a hawk with its flying ability, speed, and skill.
One of their many tactics is to fly towards the hawk, thereby ruining its chance
to set up an attack.
During the past
seven years of owning the Flying Oriental Rollers, I have tried different
approaches to training. As young birds, I have found that you don't need to
ration food in order to get them to fly. In fact we open the door and off they
go. They fly consistently for at least one hour. They are a calm bird and are
easily tamed. Their personality takes a while to develop along with their diving
and rolling abilities. It does not happen overnight!
It seems to me
that most of the confusion regarding their performance is because one has to
wait several months, sometimes a year, in order to see their true nature
develop. It is worth it and as time goes by they fascinate and intrigue me more
and more. Preserving the Flying Oriental Roller for type and performance, as
described in the Encyclopedia of Pigeons by Levi on pages 653-655, is our
The colors we
raise are: Black, Red, Yellow, Almond and Barred. Last year we only raised 50
Almonds, 30 Classic, and 15 Spread Almonds. Waiting for my favorite color
(Almond) to emerge on a full scale was most challenging but now we are seeing
excellent results. Presently we have 150 Almonds flying and 45 more in the
Occasionally we have a few for sale.