“They’re just a beau­ti­ful, beau­ti­ful bird. Pi­geons will al­ways be a big part of my life.”

Ottawa Magazine - - Art + Furtniture -

Pho­tog­ra­pher : BREN­DAN BUR­DEN


Dave Delorme was raised on Sec­ond Av­enue at a time when back­yard chicken coops — and even goats — were not un­com­mon sights around the neigh­bour­hood.

“The chick­ens and ducks would fol­low you right down the street,” re­calls the 60-yearold. “Farm an­i­mals weren’t banned from the city the way they are to­day. You would see them in peo­ple’s back­yards. It was a much dif­fer­ent feel than what you have to­day.”

When the an­i­mals started to dis­ap­pear, Dave knew it was time to leave the Glebe. For 30 years, the roofer has lived just out­side Man­otick on seven acres of land he shares with more than 200 birds.

Dave’s great-un­cle kept pi­geons at a farm in North Gower. “He used to give me pi­geon eggs to take home, and I’d try and hatch them.”

“I’ve al­ways been fas­ci­nated with pi­geons,” says Dave. “I used to try and trap them in the north stands of Lans­downe Park, up un­der the gird­ers.”

Dave fig­ures he has about a dozen dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of pi­geons, mostly “fan­cies” (birds meant to show at com­pe­ti­tions) but also some hom­ing pi­geons (birds meant to race). He’s given some of them names — there was a Cham­pion, a Crys­tal.

Open space. You need a lot of open space if you’re go­ing to be­come a pi­geon fancier (that's the proper ti­tle for some­one with a back­yard pi­geon coop), and Dave Delorme was per­haps fated for a coun­try life. “They’re just a beau­ti­ful, beau­ti­ful bird.”

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