Library release with kids!

How fun was that! Over fifty people filled the big new conference room at the Bozeman Public Library for an hour-long talk on the 5000-year history of humans and homing pigeons. They touched birds I walked around and held, saw the different colors of feathers of the 20 birds I brought, held grains and wooden eggs and leg identification bands. They met white homing doves from the ceremonial team and our champions from our racing and breeding teams. Afterward we took all the birds out to the front lawn on Main Street. Half of the birds I gave

Bozeman Library Presentation and Release

The birds are loving these late October sunny days, but we've gotten out the warmers to keep the waterers from freezing at night. The pigeons are just fine down to -60 degrees! Come visit the Bozeman Public Library this Sunday at 1:30. I'll be bringing a flock of white ceremonial homing pigeons and some of our racing champions as well. We'll have a presentation on the 5000-year history of humans and homing pigeons and if the weather's not crazy we'll release them afterward from the front lawn to fly home. Great for all ages. Hope to

Memorial flight over a pond

I took four doves to the River Rock Pond on a gorgeous fall morning for a memorial for a woman who was a nurse, a mother and grandmother. The nursing graduation pictures of her in her cap reminded me of Nurse Cherry Ames, of the pride and patriotism that were part of becoming a wartime nurse. A circle of chairs faced out over the pond and beautiful flowers and scattered fall leaves. It was an Episcopal service and her four granddaughters were the soloists in her songs. During the final reading of the "Song of Simeon"

Bozeman Chronicle top story!

The "Respecting the Sacred" tolerance celebration and dove release were the top story in the 9/13/10 Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Lovely picture of the circling flock on the front page! See the electronic version in the link to the right. Now I need to put together a guest article or letter to the editor as the article didn't mention they are homing pigeons and were home safe before I was. Note to self: make sure this gets in the next article right away.

“Respecting the Sacred” Tolerance celebration

This afternoon in front of the Bozeman Public Library gathered members and leaders from Bozeman's Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist, humanist, human rights advocation and other communities. In response to the threatened burning of Qurans and the rise in feelings against American Muslim communities, leaders spoke in turn both in English and their own languages. Music and singing, cheers and laughing and learning and children running in the sun. At the end a flock of white doves flew. I held one white dove, and said, "I have been raising a flock of a white strain of

9/11 Memorial and Tolerance Releases

This weekend, weather permitting, I am going to release my flock of white doves at two public events -- the first one at 7:30 am on Saturday at the Central Valley Fire Department in Belgrade, releasing 21 doves to honor and remember all who died in the attacks on September 11th nine years ago. The second release will be at 2:00 on Sunday in front of the Bozeman Public Library as part of an event supporting tolerance and diversity sponsored by the Gallatin Valley Interfaith Association and to the Gallatin Valley

Pigeons and family

A couple of years ago the videographer Mike Gurnett with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks came and put together a little gem of a piece about our lofts and family. You can see it here in the links to the right under 'Smetana family and lofts TV short.' I love the look on Natalia's face. I'm so glad to have this as our kids get older. I fall in love again a little every time I see it.

Belgrade Senior Center Visit

This Wednesday I took a basket of birds to talk at the Senior Center in Belgrade. I especially enjoy talking at senior centers and retirement homes because there are often people who personally remember the bravery and the feats of the military homing pigeons in the two World Wars. Or sometimes someone had relatives in the old country who had a family loft. We had both of these this time. In a special twist this time we combined the talk and release at the end with a field trip to visit our loft. Five

Spotless loft

Yesterday I cleaned all four sections of the white bird loft -- scraped, wiped, vacuumed feathers and dust and gave the birds a bath to play in at the same time. We had a big truckload of feed coming in and fun tractor time unloading it. It's time to separate the mated pairs and close up their nesting boxes. This will help them change focus from nesting to molting. The timing of molting isn't as important for the white flock as it is for the racing teams, but it's good for them to start now and

Birchwood Talk and Release

This week I took a basket of birds up to Birchwood, the assisted living part of the Hillcrest retirement center for a talk and dove release. They gave me a microphone to help people hear better. I brought a white flock but also a red check, a blue bar and a silver hen to illustrate about colors and breeding. I also brought wooden eggs, a nest bowl, leg bands and some mixed feed so that people could feel things. I held a bird so that each person could feel its feathers, and the white bloom