The Parlor Tumbler is probably the most unique breed of pigeon in that it is the only breed that has entirely lost its ability to fly!
Actually, this statement is only partly true, for surprisingly, the Parlor actually can manage some flight, from the time it is weaned until about three months old, but even while flying up to its perch will do a flip or tumble. Within a few weeks, these birds are forever grounded.
What is most remarkable is their ability to tumble on the ground. There are actually three different varieties, which are the single, the double and the roller. The single and double are now rather uncommon, having taken a back seat to their bretheren, the spectacular roller variety.
Another unique feature of the breed is that it is the ONLY one in any pigeon show that is not judged on appearance! Performance is the only criteria for roller performers, and much the same is true for the single and double.
The single performer is judged by making a single flip, or tumble and landing ideally in the exact same spot as the flip started.
The double is judged likewise, but must perform a double flip in its one leap.
And then, there are the stars of the parlor world....the rollers. When I was first introduced to the breed some 50+ years ago by the late Merrill Peters, former superintendant of the now defunct pigeon show at the Los Angeles County Fair, I obtained all three varieties from him, and must say that the rollers were also my favorite. At that time, rollers had to continuously tumble along the ground in a more-or-less straight line, and the winner would be the bird who rolled the furthest. The average in those days was 30 to 40 feet, with exceptional performances of 75-80 ft.
I don't know what they feed these guys today, but the current official worlds record is held by bird bred and owned by Paul Gamino of Bakersfield, CA, of 662 ft. 3 In., well over two football fields....including end zones.
Parlor tumblers are about the same size as the feral pigeon, and are rather unremarkable in appearance. The only variations from the wild type is a somewhat rounder head, and amazingly, an almost total lack of the color blue and its sub-colors.
The most common colors are red, yellow, kite (bronzy blackish color), White splahed, almond and deroy. Virtually all parlors have pearl eyes.
Little is known of the origins of the Parlor, but the breed has been bred for hundreds of years. The English are credited for modern development, and the breed has been known in America for two hundred years. Never greatly popular, the breed has two speacialty clubs in the US, and specimens are generally found at all major shows throughout the USA.
CHARACTERISTICS AND BEHAVIOR
Since the adult Parlor is unable to fly, they soon become very tame and trusting of their owners. Obviously, they nest on the floor, and are by far, one of the most devoted parents to their young. My introduction to them was for this purpose, as I was keeping a couple short-faced varieties (As did Mr. Peters), and he strongly recommended them. They lived up to this, and more! Many were the times when I was able to place three or even four foster babies under them, and they would fill them all! They also make an excellent companion breed to pigeons that nest in the upper loft, and I would highly reccomend them for use as foster parents for doves as well!
Then, on occasion, you can take them outside and let them do their stuff. Find a large grassy area, and let 'em roll! Imagine the stares and surprised people when you excercise them at the local city park!
Here is a link that will lead you to all sorts of websites devoted to the Parlor Tumbler, including clubs and individual breeders.
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