Kuncizzjoni l/o Rabat, Malta – Pigeon racing is the sport of releasing specially trained racing pigeons, which then return to their homes over a carefully measured distance. The time it takes the animal to cover the specified distance is measured and the bird’s rate of travel is calculated and compared with all of the other pigeons in the race to determine which animal returned at the highest speed.
Pigeon racing requires a specific breed of pigeon bred for the sport, the “Racing Homer”. Competing pigeons are specially trained and conditioned for races that vary in distance for approximately to 100 to 1000 km.
The winner of a pigeon race is the bird with the highest velocity, measured in ypm or mpm; this calculation demands that the distance be divided into yards, then divide the yards by the number of minutes it took the bird to return. Since races can often be won and lost by seconds, many different timing and measuring devices have been developed.
The traditional timing method involves rubber rings being placed into a specially designed clock, whereas a newer development uses RFID tags to record arrival time.