What happens to the birds after they are released? They usually fly up to about 50 metres, circle 2 or 3 times to get their bearings, create a formation (if it is a flock release) and then fly back to their home, where their family and friends await!
How do they know how to get home? The doves are naturally homing birds, and are trained to capitalise on those instincts. The doves were born at the loft to which they return and have been educated by their parents and handlers and will eventually breed their own young there also. The actual mechanism of their homing abilities is not completely understood, but they are thought to use the earth's magnetic field, the position of the sun and extremely good eyesight to get home!
Can we release them inside? NO, the birds must be released outside and in a position from which their flight is not impeded. They can not be released under trees, power lines, eaves or verandas/gazebos etc.
Can we hold the birds? Yes of course, if you feel confident enough to do so. We treasure our doves and we would discourage anyone who is unsure about handling them from doing so. Far better for your photographer/videographer to achieve a happy, relaxed shot of the doves as they are released from the cage or baskets. If, however, you do feel confident enough to handle the doves, your dove handler will retrieve the bird from the cage, put it into your hands for you and instruct you how to hold it gently but firmly. When you open your hands to allow them to fly, try to avoid throwing the birds upwards, (the hallelujah pose), as it is most likely your arms and hands will obscure your face from the photographs.
Will they have "an accident" on me? Most unlikely. The doves are fed in the evening, or on their return to the loft. When they are released from the baskets, they are ahead of you and you are out of harm's way. Though ultimately, please remember, they are God's living creatures and anything can happen (but it is however considered to be good luck)!
What if the weather is bad? The safety of our beautiful Doves is of paramount importance to us and our prime consideration. If it is extremely wet/foggy/snowing/threatening weather or storms and/or very strong winds, the release will be cancelled and a full refund given. The decision will be made on the day by the handler and is final.
Why can’t we release them at night? The doves will not fly at night. They will roost in a tree or rooftop somewhere and are at risk from predators. Therefore, they must be released preferably two hours before sunset, so they have time to return to their loft on the day.
Are they doves or pigeons? The word ‘dove’ is a generic term for a white or grey bird of a particular body type. Our birds are thoroughbreds, bred from white racing pigeons, which in turn, are bred from a species called the Gibraltan Rock Dove.
It is thought that the dove which brought the twig back to Noah on the ark was in fact, a white homing pigeon, a Gibraltan Rock Dove, as it ‘homed’ to the ark.