Balance Of All Things - Sent to NBRC:12/25/98
By: Ken Easley

All things in life are to be kept in balance and so it is with the roller also. The direct, to the point, simple explanations are generally the best. I have found the best from the air will produce the best in the air. But it is always interesting to look at the fine details of the best birds to discover what sets them apart from the rest.

The statement: “if it rolls correctly then the type must be correct” and “type will take care of itself” are absolutely correct. Think about it, how else could it be? I have seen the right roll and the right type produced from these. Never straying from your plan using only the finest, and they will maintain their quality and type. This will not happen over night. It takes time. Rollers should never be chosen for stock purposes by type alone. You must put in the time and fly them out. The best birds seem to have the look of the eagle in their eyes. Upon close observation the eye has a feature common with an eagle. The pupil seems to reduce down to almost a pin dot when in the bright sun. This is called the flex. I would not stock a bird without making sure it is stable no matter what the eye looks like. The only exception being that it is out of two champions that are very stable and I have no other opportunity to get a youngster out of this pair.

The body type is wedge shaped when viewed from the top. They will be shorter legged or closer to the ground with a ready to go look. They are not too wide in the chest, with strong wing buts prominent. They have the feel of an apple in the hand, with a light one- piece feel. Not too deep in the keel and not too shallow, with a nice curve going up fairly tight to the vent bones, more so in cocks than in hens. A one feather tail or at the very least tight. I really like those cock birds with the spoon tail. The fastest birds I have ever seen had tight hard feathers that felt soft or silky in the hand.

I know there are many fast birds with looser feathers, but I am talking about those rare smooth and fast, with the clean exit. They possess a strong powerful look with a calm intelligence, but at the same time readiness. They are so smooth that they remind me of those ice skating Olympic champions spinning tight and smooth then coming out of the roll like an Olympic diver slipping into the water. Our own private Olympians in the back yard.

I remember reading an article where the author claimed “there is no hole” it is just the shape of the body rolling. That one always cracks me up. So simple, yet so true it is ridiculous. Fine detailed observation will reveal much to the trained eye. Of coarse one would have to understand class and quality before he could discern whether or not a bird possessed these traits. When you look at a painting of a pot of flowers you can choose to see a pot of flowers or you can elect to notice the fine lines, the texture, the things that make one painting better than another. We are going to have the no lace sergeants who can always cut through the crap to the heart of the matter and the philosophical artistry of the diplomats. There is much to be gained from both sides of the coin. I can for the most part see quality in a bird on the ground, but would never trust it completely.

Mr. Pensom was incredibly gifted in regards to the Birmingham roller. Should you read Pensom’s book again, you may be astonished how much more is comprehendible versus the last time you read it. I have read somewhere that Pensom was unable to get his point across. I believe it was because he left out information he assumed you already knew. His writings are very clear to me now.

I have read that he contradicted himself in some of his writings. I believe it is because he was learning as the rest of us are and his opinion changed with newly acquired knowledge. If you were to read his final or last writings describing the champion, I believe you would find it very similar to the above stated description. Even with the description in your hand you will not truly understand until the knowledge has been gained through experience as stated by Bill. The biggest misunderstanding in Pensom’s writings, is the statement that stock birds are better picked on the ground. I truly believe he was trying to say choose the type on the ground from the best ones out of the air. He could tell the best in the air from the look of a bird on the ground. Most of us can not do that. If you have two outstanding birds in the air of the same quality, use the bird with the best overall package of the two.

When he made the statement: “A bird is only as old as it’s mother” he knew that early landing birds will produce early landing offspring and so on. The defective genes that caused the parent to be a cull or a champion will be transmitted to the offspring giving a high probability of the same type of performance recurring. Therefore it is better to wait a little longer to stock a bird to make sure of what you can expect to see in the offspring. Something that has not manifested itself yet may surface later. If you stock the bird too soon you will not know until you have already wasted a lot of time. Most are not completely stable until after two years.

I read the interview with the world cup champion. One comment made by the champ, I found to be very amusing. He stated that all pigeons do is eat, sleep and crap. See what I mean, simple yet true. Of coarse we could easily be accused of the same.
I just hope that it never gets so simple that flyers start to refer to the annual world cup as the rats with wings competition. Humans seem to trample everything into the mud just to see what happens. I would not enjoy that. I really like my rollers and I think it is great to see the whole picture. The roller has many facets to explore. You can choose one or you can try them all. Just for the record, I am a hard core flyer that appreciates a good-un and detest culls.

Central Roller Club