When an award-winning fancy pigeon keeper in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley discovers his entire flock is missing — over 300 fancy pigeons, cockatiels, canaries and finches — he goes to the police and learns the region has recently been hit with a number of livestock thefts.
Without immediate answers from law enforcement about the fate of his beloved birds, he relies on the old-school detective instincts of a close friend, as well as a more modern approach by a young fancier from his pigeon club, to discover if he’s just another victim in the rash of thefts, or if a rival breeder is behind the pigeon pinching.
The hobby of keeping and breeding fancy pigeons may seem a little eccentric, but it’s actually been around for thousands of years and is still common today across Europe and North America. For those who show their birds, the competitions are just like dog and cat shows, but with pigeons.
The thought of someone stealing any of these delicate creatures for personal gain was pretty far-fetched, but the more the production company, Big Cedar Films, looked into the case of the stolen pigeons, a plausible theory emerged. With the help of the victim’s best friend and a junior fancier who was just 13 at the time of the theft, the production team was able to get to the bottom of it and give credit to some of the unsung heroes of the investigation.
Farm crime facts:
- All types of pigeons have evolved from one species: the common rock pigeon. Today there are over 300 different breeds of fancy pigeons.
- Germany is the fancy pigeon capital of the world, holding competitions almost every weekend.
- There are breed-specific standards that each fancy pigeon is held to when being judged in a competition including their general impression, colour, body structure, station, and quality and plumage of their tail.
- In 2010-2011, farmers in B.C.'s Fraser Valley were hit by a rash of livestock thefts, which included meat pigeons — better known as squab. The problem got so bad, the Abbotsford Police assigned a dedicated livestock enforcement officer — codename: LEO — to investigate the thefts.
- The Abbotsford-Mission area has one of the highest crime rates in Canada, ranking eighth in the 2017 census. In 2011, it was ranked tenth.