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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — To walk these convention show aisles is to explore one of the oldest relationships that exist between man and animal.

Joel Kincade is a master breeder of pigeons.

He’s been around them all his life.

Kincade is an airline pilot now, but he still gets most excited for these winged creatures.

“Domestic pigeons, or Colomba livia, is probably the second oldest domesticated animal in history,” he says.

For thousands of years now, we’ve bred pigeons to carry messages, for human consumption, and, more recently, to look at.

Standing in the middle of the National Pigeon Association Grand National Convention in Oklahoma City, Joel points out, “Just by looking at all these different birds you can see that you’re only limited by your imagination in what Mother Nature is going to give you.”

Every year Joel and hundreds of other pigeon fanciers get together in a different city, bringing with them enough birds to fill a whole convention hall.

The variety is so staggering that breeders hardly call them pigeons any more.

A short walk around the convention reveals Kormorna Tumblers, Silisian Swallows, English Trumpeters, and Mookees to name a few.

“Most of these breeds are thousands of years old,” says Kincade.

Breeder historians tell us the Rothchilds built there European business empire on pigeons.

“Because they were getting their information faster than their competitors,” says Joel.

He adds that Charles Darwin built part of his theory of evolution from breeding pigeons.

In the present day, there are some scientists doing genetic work with pigeons but most people here just like to be around them.

“It’s hard to imagine,” says Kincade, “Not being able to go out to my loft and just sitting down on my feed bucket after feeding and watering, and having them land on my shoulder and say, ‘hey. how ya been. I missed ya.'”

Horsemen Pouters, Holley Croppers, they’re all here.

Most of them couldn’t fly even if you opened their cages, but they can sure put on a show.