BIRDS OF A FEATHER RETURN HOME TOGETHER

Here in north Louisiana, we see a name like “Hebert” and we pronounce it “He-bert”. Down south that same name is pronounced “Ay-Bear”. Same goes for another name I just realized has different pronunciation….”Clement”. Up here, it’s “Clem-ent”. Down around Thibodeaux, that name rolls off tongues as “Cle-Maw”.

Pronunciations aside, I had occasion last week to visit with a fellow transplanted from south Louisiana, Keith Clement (who pronounces his name Cle-Maw) who hails, by the way, from Thibodeaux. Clement works as a corrosion control specialist in the natural gas pipeline industry but when he’s not on the job, he can be found at his state-of-the-art pigeon loft in back of his house.

There are two rather distinct types of birds he maintains; multi-colored racing pigeons and pure white homing pigeons. Both varieties have the ability to return to their home base when released sometimes hundreds of miles from the base. Clement shared an occasion that boggles the mind about one of his birds.

“I had sent a young bird to be entered in a race down to Lake Charles so it could be trained to fly back to that base,” said Clement. “On race day, the bird and others in the race were taken to Conway, AR to be released at daylight that morning. My bird arrived at the Lake Charles base at 3:05 that afternoon, covering a distance of some 350 miles non-stop.”

Clement now has that bird in a breeding program at his home loft but said if he were to release the bird today it would make a bee-line back to the base in Lake Charles.

That is simply mind-blowing to me. I had to do some research to try and find out just how these birds know where home is and how they are able to return. According to a web site I read, “a pigeon has an innate homing ability, meaning it will generally return to its base, it is believed by using magneto-reception, which is defined as a sense which allows an organism to detect a magnetic field to perceive direction, altitude or location.”

Whatever. That’s too deep for me to comprehend but while visiting Clement, I saw this phenomenon in action. He placed about 40 birds in a cage, he and I drove a few miles down the road to the parking lot at a church and the birds were released. They made a circle around the roof of the church and then were gone.

“They’ll beat us back home,” said Clement as we drove away.

Sure enough, when we arrived back at his home, we saw shadows of a flock of birds circling the loft. All the birds got back to their base as soon as we did. These white homing pigeons are often used at events such as weddings or funerals where they are “rented” to be released for the ceremony.

“Often at funerals,” Clement explained, “we will release four birds, three representing the Holy Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit with the final one representing the departing spirit of the deceased. This can be quite meaningful to a family who has lost a loved one.”

As accurate as homing pigeons are in returning home, young ones in particular may get confused and have difficulty returning home. For example, our daughter who lives in Minden sent me a photo a couple of weeks ago of a white bird that was sitting on her driveway. She posted the photo on Facebook, Clement saw the photo and identified it as one of his that had gotten off track.

The ability to find your way home is something I could have used once when I was hunting, got turned around in a thicket and had to call for help. I guess my magneto-reception doesn’t work very well.

FISHING REPORT

CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has been best fishing deep water with deep diving crank baits, jigging spoons and tail spinners. Crappie are in the deep water out from the dam with best catches made on shiners or jigs fished 2 ½ feet off the bottom in 35-40 foot water. Jigging spoons bounced off the bottom in deep water are fair for yellow bass. No report on catfish. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Fishing is slow. No report this week. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – Crappie fishing is best fishing the deep tops, 18 feet deep in 20-25 foot water on shiners or jigs including the Blue Pearl, Gum Drop, Lites Out. Bass are fair in the run-outs from river lakes to river with spinners, crank baits and soft plastics working best. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie fishing has been best in the channel fishing 20 feet deep in 25-30 foot water. Best jigs this week have been the Popsicle, 120-R, Key lime Pie. Bass are in the channels in deeper water with crank baits, jigs and soft plastics picking up some. Bream fishing is slow while catfish are still biting cold worms fished off the banks. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Crappie fishing has been best fishing around submerged brush in 25 – 30 foot water with shiners or blue colored jigs working best. Bass are fair with most running rather small and hitting on Chatter baits. A few bream have been caught off the banks on night crawlers. No report on stripers or catfish. For latest information, call Misty at Kel’s Cove at 331-2730 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfishing has been good on cold worms. Crappie fishing has been fair with some big fish caught fairly deep off the banks on shiners or jigs. No report on bass. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – The water is low; launching boats is a near impossibility. No fishing this week. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is high, but on a stand-still, expecting a slow fall next week. No fishing reported this week. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.


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