“That’s an unusual bird Rob.” I commented, on seeing this small and beautiful dove-like bird in one of their temporary aviaries.
“Aye”, said Rob. “He turned up at Pete’s gate, and just sat there, looking tired. We think he’s a Tumbler.”
“A Tumbler. They’re a pigeon that tumbles from the sky”, he pointed out, patiently.
“Evidently…So what’re you going to do with him?”
“Ah, we thought we’d feed him up and let him go.”
“I could take him to ours and release him there if you like? It’s a bit less exposed and Suz is always feeding the wild birds, so he won’t starve if he stays!”
And that’s how ‘Tony’ the Tumbler ended up at Merrybower – in the back of the car in a pet crate, like so many of our residents.
However, once I’d confessed to having brought another animal home (it was my time after all, Suz and the children had only recently brought a runt rabbit home, promptly named her Fay, and installed her in the dining room “until she’s better”), Suz took one look at him and said “You can’t just let him go, he looks domesticated!”.
Sure enough he did seem happy to be handled, but there was no leg ring. We had no idea what he was, other than a suspected ‘Tumbler’, whatever that was. So we gave him grain and water, and he was moved into one of Suz’s own “Animal Escape Pods”, or a pet crate as the rest of the world knows them. And then we turned to the internet to see what we could discover about him, and if anyone locally knew anything about them.
It turns out that he is a Persian (Iranian) High Flying Tumbler. These are an old and rare breed of pigeon from what was once known as Persia and is now Iran. It is also written that the Persian Kings and nobility kept domesticated pigeons way back, even to the Hakhamanish Dynasty which began over 2,500 years ago, and that modern-day Tumblers are descendants of those birds, as are many other variations of the pigeon throughout the area within the Persian empire.
More specifically, Tony is a Crested Toghie Tumbler. So now we knew what he was, but what to do with him? We decided that a breeder/fancier would be the best person to let us know if they would survive in the wild, so we started to call anyone we could find offering Tumblers for sale. A kind chap in Cambridgeshire said he’d have given him a home if he were closer, and someone in London said not to let him go, but perhaps we could call the RSPCA and they could rehome him. Not a bad idea, but we kept searching. Eventually we found someone local to us who breeds and keeps Pakistani Tumblers, a very similar breed. He told us that they were just starting to fly their Tumblers, but not for very long in the weather we have. They all have heated pens, and Tony would be well looked after – if we ever wanted to visit and see his pigeons we would be more than welcome, which was very generous, and made you realise you were talking to someone very genuine and who appreciates their animals.
So Tony is now safely ensconced with his own kind, with a human slave that understands his needs – wonderful!
For more information, we found this website to be particularly useful: