pigeon POSTULATES REGARDING THE BIRMINGHAM ROLLER
For decades now, the roller hobby has been plagued by friction and hostility with regard to certain issues. The aggressive and abusive nature of communications from some individuals have threatened the very core of the fancy since its inception. The impact of such discourtesy lives on like a dark cloud as more and more men join the ranks of non-participation in roller organizations; content to fly their birds for their own enjoyment in their backyards….in peace. It is, indeed, a tragedy when we lose a good man in the hobby because of this…and we have lost many. Among the most divisive of issues (and there have been several), none elicits more emotion than the issue of the nature of the True Birmingham Roller as it relates to breed outcrossing. Fraught with rumors, fears, ignorance, and suspicion, it has become difficult to separate science from illusion; and fact from myth. Let us join together in an effort to separate out these elements and to gain a better understanding of the nature of the True Birmingham Roller. The following is offered for your consideration for the purposes of clarification:
The BR is clearly distinguished from Tumblers by a strict performance standard: ” Any Pigeon which can not turn over at least 10 times in a space of about four feet at the maturity of development , must be regarded as a common Tumbler. A roller , or spinner , as is often termed, and I think more descriptive, is a far different proposition and same is esteemed according to the distance it will roll and the velocity at which it rotates. ALTHOUGH OF THE SAME COMMON STOCK,THE ROLLER IS, TO SAY THE LEAST, A CULTIVATED TUMBLER.” page 10. The Birmingham Roller Pigeon WHP.
” We can therefor estimate, and without any exaggeration, that from the total number of BIRMINGHAM ROLLERS BRED, ninety percent are of no value whatever. A LARGE NUMBER OF THESE BIRDS DO NOT DESERVE THE TITLE OF BIRMINGHAM ROLLER AS THEY DO NOT POSSES THE NECESSARY QUALIFICATIONS.” page 65. The Birmingham Roller Pigeon WHP.
Pensom insisted that a Tumbler and a BR could, indeed, occupy the same nest : “Although these two types are of the same family, they are as distant in relationship as the two poles from a performing point of view; in fact; two distinct breeds.” (WHPensom, Feathered World of England, November 8, 1931.)
The performance definititon of the True Birmingham Roller continued to be articulated over the years as the fancy progressed in the US: ” To be worthy of the designation of BIRMINGHAM ROLLER, Pensom states the bird should roll straight down, like a falling ball, with inconceivable rapidity.” Ray Perkins The Birmingham Roller Pigeon, P.44 By WHP and others.
"The best roller fanciers in England state that ANY BIRD THAT ROLLS IS ENTITLED TO BE CALLED A ROLLER, BUT THE NAME BIRMINGHAM ROLLER SHOULD BE USED ONLY TO DESIGNATE THESE BIRDS THAT PERFORM IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE HIGH STANDARDS SET FOR THESE ROLLERS IN THEIR PLACE OF ORIGIN".
“ANY BIRD THAT ROLLS, is a Roller. If this Roller can perform to standard, it can earn the TITLE…. of a BIRMINGHAM ROLLER.” Ray Perkins, The Birmingham Roller P.45 By WHP and others.
” These birds are bred for perfection and frequency or performance. PERFORMANCE is always foremost and, as a ROLLER’S one claim for recognition… is its performance this is as it should be.” Ray Perkins, The Birmingham Roller Pigeon By WHP and Others, P. 44
” The English Breeders and they were the originators of the Birmingham Roller, are exemplified today by WH Pensom of Birmingham, England. This world renowned breeder on the theory that quality of performance is THE essential characteristic of the TRUE BIRMINGHAM ROLLER and proper frequency of performance is also a requisite. To be worthy of the designation of Birmingham Roller, Pensom states the birds should roll straight down, like a falling ball, with inconceivable rapidity.” Ray Perkins, The Birmingham Roller Pigeon, by WHP and Others, p. 44
It is, hereby, recommended that the roller hobby adopt certain vernacular and standards for the interaction with fellow roller enthusiasts, in order to promote mutual respect and fellowship among its members. First of all, Postulates I-XIX should be accepted and adopted by roller men as fact until such time as additional sources of information brought to light, may justify some modfication. Secondly, that those families of BR that perform according to standard, and whose type is standard; yet acknowledge that a breed outcross occurred somewhere in the history of the family, and that sufficient generations (7) have been bred so as to pass the genetic test for the return to the Birmingham type (WHP Pensom Roller Club book, article dated 1945), having met the established performance definition and adhering to the scientific basis of breed-outcrossing, shall henceforth be known as Birmingham Rollers. Furthermore, those families of BR in which breed outcrosses are currently being made…of less than seven generations and in the later half of the 20th century; henceforth, shall be known as Experimental or Project Birmingham Rollers. In the future, any reference to any families of Birmingham Rollers in such derogatory terms as “mongrels” or “mutts” or the breeders of any families as “purists”, or “pedigree men”, or “color-breeders”, will be viewed as deliberate antagonism with intent to impugn the reputation of the flyer and his family of rollers. Internet roller sites should immediately begin to enforce a zero tolerance for the use of such terminology in any posts on their roller forum sites. In so doing, we would set a new standard for the public conduct of roller men for the betterment of the roller hobby.
It is recommended that each and every member of the hobby adopt the following ideal in the breeding and flying of the BR:
“The Birmingham Roller, bred to meet the True Birmingham Roller standard of performance, has the highest value and worth and should be so prized by the owner.”
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