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For the Fancier by the Fancier - 10

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NWHU - For the Fancier by the Fancier 10

Covid 19: at last it looks like this dreadful virus is on the decline, its not gone away and it will be back in places and at times. It has had a devastating impact on so many lives. We will all look to our scientists now to win the war with a vaccine or treatment programme that will help us against this invisible killer. With restrictions being lifted please stay alert please be careful.

It is that time again - Strays

Throughout the year at the NWHU we do get birds reported to us from across all unions and associations including our own issued life rung birds (don’t panic we’re not about to start demanding a non-constituted levy on any none NWHU life rings), yes we get fancy / show pigeons as well as racing pigeons reported. It’s that time again when we see an increase now racing has started and people are training their young bird teams. The strays are reported by fanciers and non-fanciers alike now we always try and help as far as is possible to provide information to help get the birds repatriated no matter where they are from or what ring they have. We are more interested in helping get the birds home and promoting the sport than using unsubstantiated claims to penalise fanciers. Still not made the connection between marginalising and showing contempt towards its own membership and how that helps get strays home and or promote the sport? must be missing a trick somewhere? 

But we digress sorry about that, right back in the room, now that racing has well and truly started, and young bird season is fast approaching the ongoing issue of strays and stray reporting is once more be upon us.

The NWHU have and always have had several ways to report strays, starting with their web site there is a stray reporting page and form. Please if you use this facility ensure you enter the full life ring number. There is advice for non-fanciers to help them provide essential welfare for the bird(s) also contact information for the correct life ring union / association. For NWHU rings then there is a form to fill in to help provide the right information needed to get the bird back home. 

By Phone

When reporting any birds over the phone please leave your name and return number Terry and myself have had a few strange calls at all hours including weekends but one type that really amuses are the people who call and don’t leave a their full name and or return number on the answer service, now if Terry or me get to it before the next call you can use last caller, but leaving a message “Hello NWHU its Bob here got one of your birds to report give me a call back”, on its own that kind of message isn’t that helpful without the return number. Thankfully, you can phone the NWHU contact times below and there is an answer service for out of hours.

Phone & contact times Terry Dawber Tel: 01257- 421271 If unavailable, please leave a message

CONTACT TIMES - Monday 4pm – 8pm, Tuesday 5pm – 7pm, Wednesday 10am – 1pm, Thursday 10am – 1pm and Friday 1pm – 3pm (excluding bank & public holidays)


You can use the stray reporting facility on the union’s website detailed above or you can also leave a message on the form provided under the Contact Us header alternatively you can email Terry direct">

So we have a multi-layered approach to help deal with strays, is it perfect not yet can we do more probably but that’s a developments for the future.

Stamp it, Address it / Tel No it

Now a couple of pleas, please, please, please ensure you clearly wing stamp your birds, check that the telephone stickers you put your ETS rings are still on and readable, check that the telephone / address rings you put on are also still there, intact and readable.


Now a blast from the past Very interesting 2013 article featuring the Secretary Terry Dawber.

North West Homing Union backs pigeon racing

A leading society for pigeon racing has hit out at the suggestion that the past time should be banned. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation (Peta) have claimed that racing pigeons is “cruel” and should be stopped However the secretary of the North West Homing Union, Terry Dawber, said he “completely disagrees” with the claim. Peta has said they have sent formal complaints to Defra and the Gambling Commission about the racing following an investigation they carried out into the losses and casualties that occur when racing takes place. And the organisation is urging the RSPCA to launch investigations and take action to stop the races. Peta has also sent a letter to the Queen asking her to review her involvement the sport.

Mr Dawber said: “I would disagree. Fishing is cruel but people still fish.

“It isn’t cruel because to get the birds to come home they have got to be in a loving home and be happy in their surroundings.

“That is part and parcel of getting them home safely.”

“It isn’t cruel. In a couple of weeks’ time we will all be watching the best horses come together for the Grand National and the jockeys will be getting their whips out.

“That is what wants banning, not the horse racing but the whipping.

“We don’t whip our pigeons.”

Mr Dawber has kept pigeons for almost 60 years and said the main battle that owners face is with birds of prey who can savage the birds.

He added: “I keep pigeons because I love them.

“And to be honest if you fly pigeons in a local club it isn’t profitable at all.”

The focus of Peta’s investigation centres around cross-Channel pigeon racing in which birds were released in the Channel Islands, France and Spain and forced to fly up to 900 miles. 

The investigation revealed the loss and presumed deaths of hundreds of thousands of birds – in one race, more than 90 per cent of the pigeons did not return.

Published Thursday 28 March 2013 Lancashire Post

Our Terry is a retired miner and lifelong pigeon fancier; he has held most posts in the sport on regional committees right up to Secretary of the NWHU. From a hard-working minders background, Terry had recently taken the heart wrenching decision and given up his birds has he was not racing them and with a couple of on-going health issues was finding it difficult to keep up with them. He hasn’t lost any of the fire in his belly for the game (believe most miners have that trait), he believes some in the sport instead of helping it are intent on bullying the fancy into submission it’s their way or the high way which could backfire on the sport and accelerate or force even more fanciers to leave the sport, may be not give up their beloved birds but give up the sport of racing.

Terry has been in lockdown since the start of the Covid 19 restrictions due to his and his wife’s underlining health issues. He has carried on with his work for the union as normal as possible despite his own health issues. This got me thinking how many others have done the same, how much gratitude do we owe those that have ensured that our organisations have ticked over during these last few months, I for one take my hat off to you all and thankyou without reservation.

Now a strange one I was asked by a non-fancier if pigeon organisations and their staff were affected by the lock down as they pointed out to me doesn’t their income come from members subscriptions and sale of goods direct to their members which all would have been paid for largely before the lockdown started? I did suggest if they were that concerned then they should contact organisations direct.

Pigeon Racing - Birds of Pray – RSPB I was reminded of the following when asked about the relationship of pigeon racing, BoP and the RSPB.

Voltaire: God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.

But more on that next time.

Terry Phifer

North West Homing Union President

Please Remember – Stay Alert - Control the Virus - Save Lives

Post Script Note: Since first drafting the above notes Terry Dawber has been admitted to Hospital for treatment and the following arrangements have since been in place:    

North West Homing Union

Mr Robert Owen (NWHU Vice President)

6 Ellerslie Avenue, Rainhill, Prescot, Merseyside l35 4QD.

Email Address:

Telephone No: 07933068638

Contact times Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 18:00 PM.

Excluding Bank and Public Holidays

There is an answer service so please leave your name and return number, these details have been added to the NWHU website

A call divert service has been established, with Terry’s daughter Mandy continuing to help forward any postal correspondence until the new arrangement become widely embedded. On behalf of the management committee of the NWHU I would like to express our thanks to its members and the wider fancy for your support and patience during this unfortunate situation.

Terry Phifer