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Michael Romano - Champion Flyer of Champion Birds
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Michael Romano - Champion Flyer of Champion Birds
Michael Romano - 2005 Young Bird Champion Loft 151-300 Lofts
Flying with the CJC Combine.

Tell us a little about yourself?
When you were born? Did your family have birds? When did you first start with pigeons? When did you first race? What was the name of the first club you flew in?

My father introduced me to racing pigeons. He had them on a three story tenement rooftop in Hoboken, NJ. My father worked as a longshoreman on the Hoboken docks, just like in On The Waterfront, with Marlon Brando.

I won my first race in 1954 in the Hudson County pigeon club in Hoboken. It was a 250 mile race and my father had to go to work that day. He allowed me to enter the birds in the race, but, being so young I had to get a ride to the club after clocking. There were two cocks fighting over a hen, the looser of the fight was my first bird home and won the race. Has anything changed in fifty years? My father took a lot of teasing from his friends because the bird was not pooled.

Where do you fly today?
Have you ever flown as a partnership, if so who was your partner and when?

I fly in the greater Elizabeth pigeon club, the OLC club and the Perth Amboy pigeon club. My father was my only real partner, although, I did have a lot of fun and a couple of good seasons racing with Harry Witt. We won the North Hudson Futurity race, and we did celebrate.

Do you think your position is a good one as far as combine races are concerned? How big is Combine / Club?

I am in a good position for the GE club, because I am south of most flyers. In the combine, I am in the middle probably, an equal number north and south of me. The Central Jersey Combine averages around two hundred lofts.

Do you have an original family of pigeons?

Yes, almost all my birds have some of the blood lines from Leo Gavron from Sayreville, NJ. I only have two birds in my breeding coop that I did not breed, and only one that is not trained to my loft. I could probably give you the pedigree of most of my birds going back over fifty years.

What type of birds do you now fly? Big, med, small?
Big to medium. Can you give us a little history on your champion bird?

Please list your bird's record that enabled you to enter into the champion bird competition. Also for Champion loft if you qualified for this. Please list your flying results.

First 100 did not fly, as the birds were getting over Adeno Virus
Second 100, 2nd Club, 26th Combine, 2,824 birds, 217 lofts

First 150, 1st Club, 3rd, 9th, 18th Combine, 2,585 birds, 216 lofts
Second 150, 1st Club, 12th, 45th, 60th, 79th Combine, 2,885 birds, 230 lofts

First 200, 1st Club, 1st, 21st, 25th, 52nd, 54th, Combine, 2,885 birds, 230 lofts

Second 200, 2nd Club, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 29th, 49th, 57th, 58th, Combine, 3,239 birds

First 250, brought back to 150, 2nd Club, 14th Combine, 2,197 birds, 175 lofts

Second 250, 4th Club, 29th, 37th, 38th, 40th, 49th, 2,614 birds, 196 lofts

First 300, 2nd Club, 3rd, 16th, Combine, 2,425 birds, 178 lofts
Second 300, 3rd Club, 23rd, 52nd, 54th, Combine, 2,142 birds, 163 lofts

325 mile Garden State Open Race, 1st, 9th, 14th, 27th, 38th, 43rd, 756 birds, 58 lofts

300 mile Perth Amboy Open Futurity Race, 1st, 12th, 59th, 75th, 623 birds, 73 lofts

350 mile Garden State Open Challenge Race, 6th, 261 birds, 23 lofts

250 mile GE Club Futurity, 2nd, 4th

Do you race imports?
I have one Meuleman in my breeding loft and he has produced winners with five different hens.

When you select birds, do you go to auction, or the internet and buy a bird or do you scout out other champions and obtain birds from them?
I haven't purchased any birds recently, only some young birds at auctions for special races.

How many birds do you fly on your old bird team and young bird teams?

For Old birds I fly 50 to 60, and for Young Birds I fly 60 to 70.

Do you prefer old bird or young birds flying?
I prefer old birds. The longer races are more fair because location is not a factor as much as in the short races. All the bigger prizes are in the Young Bird races, so it makes young bird racing more exciting.

Do you use a system? For young birds?

I like to fly separated sexes for Young Birds.

For Old Birds?
I try to do both separated and natural for old birds.
Please explain your system day by day from preparing for the first training toss to the last race.

I think the Sampson Bros. tape explains the light system much better than I can.

How do you feel about people using different systems that compete with you?

I don't care as long they don't give them drugs, although, our Combine has a rule against the darkening system.

Explain how you would prepare a team of birds to go into a 300 mile Futurity Race?
It’s all according to the weather, and how many previous races the bird has flown. If all conditions are good, I would do it the same as any other race. If a bird is healthy and not hurting, he loves an hour fly in the morning. I would not train him the day of shipping. I think that is the motivation day.

Explain how you would prepare a team of birds for shipping to a 400 mile Old Bird race?

I love a hen on two week old eggs for the longer races.

Do you cut flights?
Yes, but not on all birds,

Pull tail feathers?

Do you have your birds finished with body molt when races start, or are you a natural flyer, if so, when do you start to breed?

I try to breed as early as possible so the birds are more mature and have a better chance of moulting out before the bigger races. My problem is that I usually go on vacation two weeks in Nov., three weeks in Jan., and three weeks in Feb. I am lucky to have a very good flyer, Pete Contala (Wings loft), who takes care of my birds for me when I am gone.

Do you fly to the perch? Do you fly widowhood? Separated sexes, or just hens? If you fly natural or widowhood, please explain your method in old birds and young birds.

I have never flown widowhood, I'm sure it is probably the best, because, most of Europe does this method. I often thought I might like to try it, but, it is very difficult for me to let the birds loft fly because of the hawk problem that has come about in recent years.

Describe you loft. Do you have a separate breeding loft? What kind of airflow do you have in the loft, fans, etc?

I have a 24 ft. by eight ft. flying loft with 4 sections, and a 12 ft by 8 ft breeding loft with 2 sections.

Describe how you feed? Hopper or individual seeds?
I feed by hopper.

After a flight around the loft or is it when they return from training?

When the birds come home from training, I feed them light, then a little while later, I will feed them as much as they want without leaving any feed. This will not always work when they are on eggs. I am usually done with the birds between 11am --12 noon. For many years I fed twice a day, but this way it is so much easier for me to do other things the rest of the day. I have a nice boat that I enjoy, or if I want to go for a 5 or 6 hour lunch, I don't have to worry about feeding the birds in the evening. I try to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible. Pigeons have been my life long hobby, and I try to keep things in perspective. Years ago, when I was fortunate enough to win a good prize, I would tell my wife, “its cruise time!” and she would book us a cruise.

Which mixture do you use?
I use a commercial mixture from Browns that I purchase from Charlie Sarafer (Z Line Loft) Charlie is always very helpful with feed, medication and the electronic clock. And don't forget peanuts! The birds just love them.

How do you train your birds, single toss, in a flock, or on the training truck?

I go down the road as little as possible, once the truck starts I am on it every day unless I was partying too much the night before. We have a very good trainer in Vinny Degrado (Amoco Loft), from Staten Island, much of the success that I do have is from his dependable training.

Do you time your birds from training and if so give us example?

I like to use the electronic clock, not so much to see the first birds but to see if any birds are late as they might be hurting and need some rest. I think this is probably one of the reasons I do not lose many pigeons during the season. A little rest will go a long way in putting a bird back in condition.

Is there any kind of health program you follow regularly? If so explain it to us. How do you medicate and for what reason?

I will vaccinate for Pox and PMV. I will follow instructions on the label for the three in one or four in one medication to treat for coccidiosis, canker, and respiratory. One problem I have is the Adeno Virus. Each young bird season for the last few years, as soon as I put them on the training truck the second week of training they come down with it. I stop training and medicate all the birds. I was told it was additional stress from the training truck. This year I was on the ball and I had the birds down to the 100 before Vinny started training. The first week he usually only goes 30 or 40 miles, so they had it easier being on the truck. Because of this I missed the first 100 mile club and combine race and was not eligible for any average speed honors.

How often do you race your champion bird? How about the rest of the team?

If I have a bird working, I will not stop him. IF 03 OLC 957 flew almost every race in the 03 old bird series. He was 1st Club 500, 4th Combine, 1,815 birds, 171 lofts; 5th Club 400, 2nd Club 300, 22nd, Combine, 1,902 birds,175 lofts; 1st Club 300, 8th Combine, 2,107 birds, 191 lofts; 1st Central Section Hall of Fame; 2nd Overall CJC.

Two other very consistent young birds were 05 PAF 5540 Blue Check Cock. He took 1st in PAOF 300 mile band race against 73 lofts, 621 birds; 14th place Garden State Open 325 miles; 20th place Tri-State Bond race 300 miles; 79th place 150 miles, 2,885 birds 230 lofts. He flew 8 races this young bird season. IF 05 PAF 5538 Blue Bar Hen was 2nd 100 miles Club, 160 birds, 12 lofts; 26th combine, 2,824 birds; 1st 150 miles Club, 162 birds, 12 lofts; 12th combine, 2,885 birds, 230 lofts; 9th Garden State Open, 325 miles, 756 birds, 58 lofts; 75th place PAOF 300 miles. She flew 8 races this young bird season.

Do you believe in bird entry limits?

Yes, you have to have some limits to meet the club and combine needs.

Do you believe in clocking limits?

No, as long as it does not put an extra burden on the race secretary, with the electronic clock I would leave it to him.

How do you select your breeding pairs? Have you any advice for new flyers?
I think they could learn so much from helping out an experienced flyer for a season or two and wear a mask for the pigeon dust when you are in the loft

Have you any advice for advanced flyers?

Wear a mask for pigeon dust when in the loft, and try to help out your race secretary as much as you can.

Is there a flyer, breeder or book that has helped you become a better pigeon flyer?

Do you have any kind of goals in the sport?
Just to relax and have fun and maybe win a nice prize every now and then. I love having my 4 year granddaughter putting the birds’ vitamins in the watering can and stirring and stirring so serious. Then when she feeds the birds, she has to take her little stroller in the loft with her, I don't know if the birds are more scared of her or the hawks. I just watch her and laugh. I don't let her feed the flyers too often.

If you had the opportunity to change something in the pigeon game what would it be?

To help a new flyer. A new young flyer with a family is so difficult because it is so expensive for feed, medicine, training, time, pooling, city ordinances, and people selling birds for very high prices. Our sport and hobby is in serious trouble.
If you have a list of good books or videotape please recommend some.

I think if someone has the knowledge, experience and time to write a book or make a video tape about pigeons I'm sure you can learn something from any of them.

If you have received a trophy from us, what do you think of it and do you recommend others to apply for awards?
Yes, it is nice to be rewarded for an exceptional season. This award has been an honor for me and I consider this quite an opportunity to participate in these awards.

I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for all the time and effort spent in collecting all the data for the IF awards and my thanks to the IF membership.

Michael Romano 
3 Wick Drive,
Fords NJ 08863

Posted by :
Mr. Paul Walsh -
I.F - International Federation - USA

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