For thousands of years, white doves have been the symbol of new beginnings, peace, fidelity, love, luck and prosperity.
Pertinently, 30 were released at this year’s ANZAC service held during lockdown at the Rangiora Cenotaph and these birds belonged to Luisetti Seeds’ staff member Tony Hyde. Tony’s white pigeons are becoming increasingly popular for releasing at weddings, funerals and memorial services as people enjoy the sight of white birds taking to the air.
“A lot of people enjoy watching them fly around and I enjoy seeing people being mesmerised by them.”
Tony explains that his birds are pigeons rather than doves, because unlike pigeons, doves have no homing instinct. Tony has been keeping pigeons for over 50 years and has been a member of the National Association, the North Canterbury Pigeon and Poultry Club and the Canterbury Poultry Club.
He has never raced his pigeons, but enjoys taking them for trips away so they can stretch their wings and find their way home. While most weekends they only fly short distances, occasionally Tony will take them as far away as Picton and flying 90-95km/ hour, they can make it home before he does.
He has only recently started releasing birds at events and while this is popular practice overseas, particularly in the USA, it is new to this country and Tony doesn’t know of anyone else offering the pigeon release service.
So far, all the business has been by word of mouth, but Tony is hoping to breed enough pigeons this year so that he will have 100 birds available and then he will be in a position to advertise.
While it is a hobby for Tony, he enjoys taking his birds to special events and seeing other people appreciate them and all they symbolise.
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