The doves will usually circle the area a few times in wonderful formation, then fly home, where they are fed, watered, and they feel safe. They are well trained and very fit.
Apart from being given thorough training from an early age, the "homing instinct" seems to be just that - an instinct. Nobody really knows exactly just how they do it, but they must be the right type of bird, fit, healthy and well trained to start with.
We begin handling the doves at just a few weeks old, and homing training starts at around twelve weeks, with small distances, then building up to longer flights.
A well trained healthy bird can fly up to 600 miles. However, we try to limit the releases to within approximately a 50 mile radius of their home, but we have relased further a field and all the doves returned home safely.
All pigeons are actually classified as doves. The species of our birds are white Rock Doves, Columba livia. They are very similar to the homing pigeons which are raced to distances up to 500 miles. Our birds have been specially bred for releases.
The distance of the release from home will determine the latest time possible for the release. The doves need enough time to safely arrive home before dark. Two hours before sunset is a good rule of thumb.
This is completely up to you. However, since the doves cannot fly at night, your release must be timed to happen approximately 2 hours before dusk, to allow the birds time to fly home. Most of our releases occur between 2pm and 5pm, however we are happy to discuss your specific timings with you.
You many have as many birds released as you want, providing we can accommodate a large quantity on the date of your event. Of course the more birds released, the more spectacular the effect.
Not at all. We have spent a lot of time in training our birds to return home. It is very rare for them to not come back, or get separated if in a group.
Extremely. They are snow white, and they're bathed before each release. We also perform regular checks on the health and cleanliness of all our doves.