Since the start of 1915, people keeping pigeons in Jersey have had to follow strict rules over the housing and release of their birds. Under Defence of the Realm Regulations, anyone not registering their birds or found flying homing pigeons can face prosecution.
In recent weeks, the Home Office has clarified the rules governing the import and export of pigeons to and from the Channel Islands. While it remains strictly forbidden to send carrier or homing pigeons to the UK, the export of what are termed ‘fancy breeds’ is permissible. These are birds bred strictly for showing and not for any form of racing. Before sending or taking any such birds to the UK, however, Jersey pigeon owners must obtain a special label available from the British Admiralty in London. Customs officials are under instruction to detain any birds that do not have this label.
The Island’s Pigeon Officer, Mr John Cory, has the responsibility for communicating these new rules to Jersey’s registered pigeon owners, which number 390. His main concern is the potential delay in receiving the labels from London, which may result in owners missing a show.