They may be pests to some... but these New York pigeon lovers say their bird collections are quite a coop


Taking flight: Brooklyn's Bushwick is one of the hubs of pigeon keeping in New York City; and these photos help show just why people do it

They are typically considered germ-ridden, mangy creatures scrounging off leftovers and good for nothing but sullying city landmarks.
But this collection of photos shows pigeons in a whole new light where they vastly improve New York City's sky and provide some of its inhabitants with company and happiness.
In the age-old art of pigeon keeping, the birds - all varieties of domestic pigeon - are precious rather than pestilent.

Ancient art: Brought over to New York by Italians, the art of pigeon keeping has been practised around the world for thousands of years

Where there's a Will there's a way: Willie says he has collected the most pigeons in Bushwick

The stunning pictures, taken by Chris Arnade, are taken from the rooftops of Brooklyn’s Bushwick – one of the hubs of pigeon keeping in New York.
Providing a fascinating insight into the centuries old tradition of pigeon keeping, the pictures show the birds’ beauty both as they soar and nestle in their coops.
The keepers – commonly known as pigeon fanciers – must feed and fly their flocks every day.
According to photographer Chris Arnade, the keepers in Bushwick’s Maria Hernandez Park are all men, who are mostly of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent.

Fanciers: Pigeon keepers - or pigeon fanciers - in Bushwick are all men, according to photographer Chris Arnade

Veteran keeper: 86-year-old Johnny has been collecting birds in Bushwick since he was a boy

A natural: Delone was recently taught how to catch and hold pigeons by his Uncle Luis who keeps the birds

Pigeon keeping, which has been practised for about 10,000 years, was brought to New York City by Italian immigrants and the city remains a bastion of the sport.
These men proudly collect, bred and fly their pigeons, which are signalled back home using flags and whistles. Although, if another keeper manages to lure one of your birds to his roof, you've typically lost it or will have to buy it back for a couple of dollars.
The men keep their pigeons in coops on their roofs, where they often have a small office too. The roofs' crucial criteria: they must be flat.

Captured: Jesus, from East Tremont in the Bronx, shows off the pigeon he has just captured to add to his collection

Soaring: After being let out for a fly round, the birds are signalled back with flags and whistles

Golden glow: The birds look beautiful as they take off in the warm glowing sunlight

source: dailymail