PCS Blog

Billy’s Pigeons

Posted by Alice Hodge | 14 March 2014

"Those things aren't pigeons, they're scrapple. I race homing pigeons. They're real birds. They're athletes." 



Billy (Isaac Lamb) and John (Tom Bloom) wait for Billy's pigeons to return in A Small Fire.

A Small Fire is about love, loss and life and most of the scenes exist in the archetypal locations of life: the living room, bedroom, work and even a wedding reception. One scene, however, takes place on a roof and is framed by a rather unexpected event, at least by modern standards — pigeon racing. 


Messyness Chic compiled the gorgeous photography of Brooklyn-based Aaron Wojack who documented the semi-secret life of avian subculture.



While there is no exact proof, there is reason to believe that the origins of pigeon racing can be traced as far back as 220 A.D. and was very popular in Belgium in the 19th century. Along with the sport of racing, pigeons were also central to communication as homing pigeons. Until the early 20th century, pigeon posts were located all over the world and, while primarily used for military purposes, a few are in use even today.

defines the sport of pigeon racing as:

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.


While popularity for the sport in the U.S. has waned since the early 20th century, it still has a stronghold on the east coast, particularly Hoboken, New Jersey and Coney Island. There is even a racing club in the Willamette Valley.


See more of Aaron's photographs and check out the full article. 


A Small Fire runs now through March 23.


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