The pigeon – keeper of Emircan


“Both my father and grandfather were pigeon – keepers…and perhaps my grand-father, too.”

Every month, Emircanli Qushbaz Faiq spends a portion of his earnings to provide for his pigeons.

Everyone in the village of Emircan knows him as the “Bird-catcher.” He remembers being interested in pigeons from an early age, probably because of his father and grand – father who were also bird – keepers. Uncle Faiq says he cannot live without pigeons, the reason being his intuitive connection to them. He is retired now, and is able to spend much of his day with his birds.

In Emircan, bird – keepers have come to the unwritten agreement that if a pigeon escapes and flies to another flock, the owner of that flock is obliged to return the pigeon to its rightful owner. In other cities outside of Baku, this doesn’t work: “Every month, about 4 – 5 lost birds might pass over Emircan, in which case I let my own birds out to join them. The stray bird will usually come back to nest with my birds, where I feed and take care of them as my own. Every month, I spend about 30 – 40 manat just to feed them. If you include vitamins and medicine, it probably comes out to 60 – 70 manat per month.”

Uncle Faiq says that the pigeons are like people to him. In the same way that people need to eat, drink, take medicine and vitamins, so do pigeons: “One time, one of my pigeons got sick and spread its illness to the others. In just one day, 10 – 15 of my birds died. For that reason I try to get them the very best feed and medicine, so that they remain healthy.”

When it comes to selling the pigeons, they become more valuable the longer they’re able to stay in the air. “I have pigeons that can spend 10 – 12 hours a day flying. I even have pigeons that can twirl and spin in the air – don’t ask me how! These details can change the price of a pigeon.

Prices start from 100 manat, and can go up to 300 – 400 manat per pigeon.

Busses take small winding roads to get to the village of Emircan
Because Uncle Faiq is retired, he can spend much of the day with his pigeons
“Every morning from when I wake up until I go to sleep at night, I constantly check on their nests and make sure that everything is in good shape”
“I spray their nests to make sure that microbes and other harmful bacteria don’t infect any of my pigeons”
“In order to get a new – colored bird, I take birds of different colors and put them together to mate so that their offspring take on new and surprising tones”
“I feed them 4 – 5 times a day”
“When buying feed, I try to get the best quality available”
Pigeons are truly a key – part of his life
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