Monday, February 28, 2011

Doves vs Butterflies: Bliss Weddings Post made in 2002

Questions and interest continue to be made in regards to the decision if one should use doves or butterflies in their wedding ceremonies. Since  I raise doves (white homing pigeons) I have a bias in the release of doves.  Using a professional dove handler the birds are trained and managed in a way to guarantee the highest safety of their return home. The handler can work with your photographer to capture those special moments on film and can work with your wedding coordinator to personalise your release.  I found this old post and I thought I would put it on my blog to encourage dialogue. Please check it out.

If you have had butterflies at your wedding, or you are researching the use of butterflies for an event please share that information with us.  Maybe you raise butterflies or know someone who does, I'm sure butterflies are handled differently since 2002 would like to post that information.  If you have any questions about our birds email us at  or check out our site at

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hawks: Nemises of the Doves

Ask anyone who raises doves or pigeons "What is their number one frustration with the birds?" and they will most often tell you their experiences with the hawks.  In fact when the hawks migrate from November till April their are some dove companies that limit their releases or in fact do no releases through those months because of the bird losses they experience.  I will admit that we do have some losses to the hawks  but because of some of our practices I believe we keep our losses to a minimum.   The following are some things we do.

It has been our experience that hawks seem to be creatures of habit.  Because we know that the hawk seems to be around the loft lets say in the morning we take the birds on training tosses after 12:00.  By the way the hawk most often we have trouble with is called a Cooper Hawk.  We are outside when the birds arrive to discourage and to observe whether hawks are in the area.  The birds are most vulnerable when taking off and landing.  We believe in taking our birds on tosses rather than allowing free flight because the doves when given the opportunity of free flight will often go to the trees since they are close to home which allows them to be an easy target for the hawk. A healthy pigeon or rock dove in flight will out fly most variety of hawks.  So our first precaution is to vary the times of our training tosses.

Our doves are locked down at all times.  We feel that it is important for us to control the activity of the doves and we want to minimize the amount of time they are exposed to the elements so the only time they are out is when they have been released for a trainning toss or a ceremonial release.  The design of our loft allows the dove to come in, but there is no way he can get out.  So our second precaution is to control the amount of time the dove has to being outside.

One of the controls a handler has on his doves is hunger.  When we take the doves out on a trainning toss the toss is allways done before they are fed.  Remember when I said that the dove is most vulnerable when taking off and landing.  When the bird comes home and he is hungry he will go in the loft quickly because he is hungry rather than hanging in the trees where it is a target for the hawk.  Our doves know food and water is waiting for them so they trap quickly.  So food and water is a great motivater for keeping the doves on their toes.

Our birds are exercised year round, a healthy well conditioned dove is not an easy target.  Even with all the precautions we take we do occasionaly lose a bird.  But it has been our experience that the birds we lose tend to be the less desireable ones and I think in some ways the hawk is natures way of keeping the overall flock healthier.  If you are looking for ceremonial doves check out our website at  if you are out of our service area I can steer you in the right direction, if you have any questions email me at