Tag Archives: birds

Bayside resident prepares for annual pigeon race


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Xu Jun wakes up every morning at 4 a.m. and drives hundreds of miles away from his Bayside apartment with at least 70 pigeons, then lets them find their way home. He’s training his birds, known as homing pigeons, for a competition in September.

“When I was young I liked to have pigeons,” Jun said in Mandarin, speaking through translator Lisa Zhang. “It’s always been an interest of mine.”

Jun participates in various races across the northeast and he began the hobby three years ago. The World Center Memorial Race, the one Jun is currently preparing for, is hosted by the Bronx Homing Pigeon Club and takes place in late September. Each of Jun’s 101 pigeons has an individual number tag so that the race organizers can make sure nobody cheats. The organizers of the race will take Jun’s birds, along with hundreds of other contestants’ birds, to an undisclosed area where they are released. Contestants are judged based on how fast their flock comes home, according to Jun.

Jun’s birds live in a wooden nest, known as a loft, in a College Point bus repair shop. The loft serves as their home and final destination in races. Jun works for the shop and during the lulls in his work schedule he cleans the loft and feeds the birds.

Homing pigeons have two racing seasons. The first is in late September when the birds are less than a year old. The second season is in the spring and the birds are typically older by this point in their racing careers.

With the first race season approaching, Jun has been training his pigeons by taking them further and further out in New Jersey every week and then releasing them in the wild, where they will usually take several hours to fly back home.

“I just like pigeons. It’s a very simple thing for me and I enjoy it,” Jun said. That day he was particularly pleased with his birds’ athletic performance; he released 73 and all of them returned, an outcome that doesn’t always happen.

“There’s kind of a neat tradition to pigeon homing,” said Deone Roberts, who works for the American Racing Pigeon Union, an organization that’s affiliated with hundreds of pigeon clubs across the country.

“The bird’s simply enjoying flying and going home,” she said. “[The pigeon] wants to go home and be with his mate and their offspring. It makes good fun.”

Using pigeons for racing has been around in America since the late 1800s, according to Roberts’ organization. The birds, a common sight in New York City, were also used during WWII to transmit messages across enemy lines.

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Suspects try to nab birds from Rego Park pet store: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Two men are accused of stealing an assortment of birds from a Rego Park pet store, minutes after trying to burglarize a dental office down the street.

In addition to taking the animals, the pair also swiped bird cages from the Petland Discounts on 63rd Drive near Saunders Street at about 3:20 a.m. Wednesday before dumping them in a nearby alleyway, cops said.

The break-in triggered the store alarm and the manager was called, according to police. The birds, which included a white ringneck, a red bronze canary and several varieties of finches, along with three cages, were then found next to the store.

Around 2:55 a.m., the suspects also attempted to burglarize a dentist office, located at 94-24 63rd Drive, but fled without taking anything, officials said.

Police describe both suspects as 17 to 20 years old and about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Fowl Strikes Cause Foul Feelings


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Recent collisions between birds and airplanes departing city airports could give a much-needed “all clear” for negotiations between the Port Authority and wildlife conservation groups.

While recent uproar mainly surrounds possible runway expansion plans at JFK, in-flight crashes with birds came under scrutiny when a Los Angeles-bound flight was quickly grounded after a bird was sucked into its engine shortly after taking off on Thursday, April 19.

Tarmac expansion came under fire when the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced its proposal to extend the airport’s runway, expected to cover a significant portion of the Jamaica Bay area, in February, 2011. The 400-acre area of land, including wetlands and shoreline, was designated as a wildlife refuge, park and recreation area by the National Parks System in 1972.

Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder believes conservationists attempting to protect the birds and those trying to ensure the safety of plane passengers need to collaborate.

While preserving Jamaica Bay has long since been a priority on Goldfeder’s platform, he proclaims he is not for working against the airports, adding that there is always a balance to be found.

Goldfeder also noted that many people believe the birds striking the planes are not the same birds nesting in the Jamaica Bay area.

A source close to the situation suggested increasing traffic out of the city’s other airports, LaGuardia and Newark, is a better solution than filling in Jamaica Bay.

Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority, claimed that the agency’s wildlife control protocol is above and beyond Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, insisting they are among the industry’s most effective.

“Our wildlife biologists and staff efforts to minimize threats to aircraft include reducing nesting areas, removing standing water and eliminating food sources,” said Coleman. “We also use pyrotechnics to disperse birds. We believe those efforts are effective since the number of incidents at JFK resulting in aircraft damage has remained about the same since 2008.”

Dan Mundy, president and founder of Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers, believes the recent increase in collisions Mundy mentioned the famed incident of US Airways Flight 1549, when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River after striking a flock of Canadian geese in January of 2009. Mundy alleged that high-flying fowl cause more severe problems than those closer to the ground, adding that groups of migrating birds can be dangerous to planes, as with Flight 1549.

According to published reports, Sullenberger opposes the mayor’s plan to put a trash station near LaGuardia Airport — a decision that will inevitably bring more birds to the area.

Acknowledging that the Port Authority takes measures to scare away birds, such as simulated gunshots and preying falcons, Mundy wondered why plane manufacturers have yet to design a system to prevent birds from being sucked into engines.

Mundy added that bird strikes are not just a problem with airplanes. Several tall buildings, including the Empire State Building, have caused the demise of birds killed by flying directly into the glass windows.

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Gillibrand Wants Geese Roundup In Wake Of Bird Strikes

In the wake of a pair of recent bird strikes involving planes in the New York area, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is looking to rein in the flying nuisance responsible. She’s proposing a new measure that would make it easier for the Department of Agriculture to round up and kill Canada geese on federal land at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge near Kennedy Airport. Wildlife advocates oppose the idea. The birds can shatter windshields, dent fuselages and ruin engines. Read More: NY1

 

 

Jackson Heights BID Delivers On Promise, Merchants Say

The Jackson Heights shopping strip is looking a lot prettier these days with news trees, benches and cleaner streets. It’s a far cry from what the 82nd Street business improvement district or BID used to look like. Now it’s got a new look, new leadership and a new name. It’s now called the 82nd Street partnership and business owners appear to like it. Retail businesses are members of the BID and many of the store owners had complained to local leaders that under the old Business Improvement District there wasn’t a lot of improvement. Read More: NY1

 

 

Power line from Quebec to Astoria draws mixed reviews

A proposal to create a $2.2 billion power transmission line to bring wind and hydroelectric power from Quebec to Astoria is pitting environmentalists and against each another and creating some unusual alliances. The Champlain Hudson Power Express project would bring up to 1,000 megawatts of Canadian power into the city through a roughly 333-mile underground, and at times underwater, cable. Read More: Daily News

 

Judge clears crane magnate James Lomma of manslaughter in deaths

Manhattan crane czar James Lomma was acquitted Thursday of the deaths of two hardhats who were killed when one of his giant machines collapsed on them. Lomma, who was charged with manslaughter in the deadly May 2008 accident at an E. 91st St. construction site, sat stoically as Judge Daniel Conviser handed down his verdict in Manhattan Supreme Court. Lomma faced up to 15 years in prison for the deaths of Donald Leo, 30, and Ramadan Kurtaj, 27. The two were killed when the crane cab plunged 200 feet down into the street. Read More: Daily News

 

Knicks’ Lin beats Lakers’ Bryant in NBA jersey sales

Jeremy Lin outsold Kobe Bryant in official jersey sales over the past year, the NBA revealed Thursday, despite the Knicks phenom only emerging to prominence in February. Fans rushed to get the former undrafted D-Leaguer’s name on their back at an unprecedented rate when “Linsanity” took hold little more than two months ago as his breakthrough performances captured global attention. The mass demand meant only Bulls guard Derrick Rose sold more jerseys than Lin last year. It is the first time the Chicago star, who was boosted by last season’s MVP title, has topped the annual list. Read More: New York Post

Camera catches prostitute accused of stealing $500K worth of diamonds

This is the savvy prostitute who allegedly swiped half a million dollars worth of uncut diamonds from a hapless gem trader — caught on surveillance video as she made her barefoot getaway from a Manhattan hotel, police say. Erika Cooper, 34 — a k a Bianca Williams — is now the target of an NYPD manhunt for allegedly pulling off the April 17 heist at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, where she waited until her john Kurt Kaiser fell asleep before she fled with his loot. Her big mistake was giving Kaiser her real phone number, which cops have used to identify her and dig up mug shots from an earlier prostitution bust, a police source said. Read More: New York Post