Pigeons increase reading curiosity in kids
Northwestern Elementary students were recently challenged by their teachers and by visiting author Erika Liodice to set reading goals.
Liodice, who visited on Oct. 10, challenged the gym packed with students with this puzzle: What does Mike Tyson, the Queen of England (Elizabeth II) and Walt Disney have in common?
Answer: They all have racing pigeon teams.
Liodice told the youngsters there are pigeon racing teams in New Tripoli.
Pigeon racing is part of national and local history.
For about 200 years, people have been training pigeons to find their way home after being released in far-off locations.
Teams compete against each other in timed events.
Liodice told the crowd the pigeons use the sun like humans use maps or GPS to determine their location.
Once the pigeons are released, they will circle around three times to orient themselves and then they soar for home, hitting speeds of 65 mph.
Liodice has written two books in her High Flyers series, “Rookie of the Year” and “The Pigeon Poacher Strikes Again.”
The books center around a spunky, newbie racing pigeon, Rocket.
In his adventures readers learn more about the endangered sport of pigeon racing.
Capping off the presentation was the event everyone came for.
First, Liodice asked the youngsters to name each of the three pigeons, who were only differentiated by the colored bands they wore.
The students in the crowd named the pigeons Pickle, Bluey and Checkers.
Then, everyone went outside and Liodice released the pigeons.
“What surprised me the most, was that the pigeons could actually be trained to race,” said student Lillian Bernhard.
She watched along with the crowd, as the pigeons swirled overhead and raced each other for home.
Liodice brought along her books for sale and got the kids excited about reading.