[Appeared in the June 22, 2011 issue of The Molokai Dispatch]
By Catherine Cluett
There’s no place like home – especially if you’re a pigeon. Molokai Rainbows, Clay Adachi’s business of releasing multi-colored pigeons for events around Molokai, brings smiles to awed onlookers as the birds swirl in unison overhead before heading straight home to their roomy pens in Adachi’s backyard.
“Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, they all come home,” he said.
Referred to as homing pigeons, racing pigeons (a sport practiced around the world) and carrier pigeons, the species have been used for thousands of years to carry messages hundreds of miles before mail service or the Internet. While the navigation methods pigeons use are highly debated, many scientists believe the birds use the earth’s magnetic field to find their way. Adachi’s birds can fly home all the way from Maui, where he occasionally releases them for training.
Raising birds has been a lifelong passion for Adachi. He developed a special fondness for white pigeons after he was given a pair when he was young. Now, he owns about 150 birds, something he got back into, he said, more than 15 years ago. After that, “I figured I’d rent them out to pay for their own feed,” Adachi explained. Continue reading