Circus Lofts

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Flying West of England Tumblers

These are the old time flying type West of England Tumblers. I had them as a kid and have searched for them for many years but just now found them again. Most people have told me are extinct because they are now all show birds. I have heard obscure reports of one or two other fanciers still keeping the flying type but they are very elusive.

I bought them from Vito Felise out of NJ, he has had this strain for 43 years. The east coast still has a lot of these guys that are die hard flyers of different flying breeds. He only keeps high flying breeds as they are supposed to fly, so that's what he bred them for through the years. 

They are all Baldheads, almost all Cream Bars and Silver Bars. He said with proper training they will fly 10 hours up in the clouds and do 1-4 flips. They are best known for real high flying (most of the times out of sight) and for many many hours. Back in England before they started to breed them for exhibition they used to have endurance flying contests with the winners having their birds in the air for the longest period of time. They also tumble, but not like a roller, they do 1-4 flips at a time and not as frequent. Most of the tumbling happens on the way up and the way down. They fly in a tight kit and circle the area.

Vito said he has culled them hard over the years for performance only. In fact the name of his loft is "Fly or Die Lofts." The loft name came from his culling methods, he said if they didn't fly right, the Raptors got them and the ones that Raptors didn't cull, he would. He came highly recommended as having the real flying type by the West of England Club.

I bought him out so these will be it as far as this family goes. He has too many flying breeds to fly them all at this time and he is getting older.

I believe these Cream Bars are dilute Ash Red bar. It looks like a couple of them have Smoky or Sooty in them. That would be the darker ones. The Silver bars are Dilute Blue Bar. That means all I will get out of them will be these two colors. But Vito said he was going to hunt me down some other colors from some of his friends that he sold birds to if they haven't crossed them into the show lines. He said to cross these into the show lines would set them back 30 years.

Some have odd eyes (one bull eye and one pearl eye) The odd eyes are a result of him only breeding for performance and not looks. It could be bred out by selection if one cared to.


The following three pictures are Vito's West of England's flying at his place

Way back when, West's and Tipplers in England were on par with each other flying, time wise. They were both developed from the same basic breeds, only the whims of the fanciers differed in which way the two breeds were developed as time went on. Birmingham Rollers too were from the same basic parentage. How they performed, or I should say how the fanciers of the Tippler, Birmingham Roller and West wanted their birds to fly and perform dictated which way the three breeds developed. All three were once called just Flying Tumblers or more properly English Flying Tumblers.
There was no such thing as a West of England Tumbler, Tippler or Birmingham Roller as distinct breeds before about 1880. There were Rollers, yes, such as Oriental, Persian etc but no Birmingham Rollers. The Birmingham Roller got its name in a pub at a flying tumbler club meeting in Birmingham England. Other than that info I've never read anything using the breed names WOET, Birmingham Roller or Tippler before about 1880. - Chuck Zeller


Photo of High Flying West of England Tumblers. From Pigeons Illustrated 1909.
Paul wrote there were weekly reports on High Flying West's in this publication. Birds owned by Mr. Balson who flew West's in several flying contests for 9 hours and more.





The following are from supplements of Pigeons & Pigeon World magazine from 1913 and 1928

July 11, 1913


woe_old_wests3.jpg (1374272 bytes)

Mr. Bell on one of his lawns, with a range of twenty-seven single- pair breeding houses in the background.
click on the thumbnail and look at the enlarged view. July 11, 1913



A kit of Mr. Bell's West's on one of his lofts. This photo is from the 1928 supplement.


Winning kits flew 4-9 hours with five hours being the average time. One kit flown by a West fancier in Coventry, England flew for 12 hours and 20 minutes.

Dudley Schumacher and his flying West's 1938. Highland Park, CA.

Dudley Schumacher's flying mottles in 2004. He say's they go up to dot high and stay there hours on end. Yah folks these mostly white mottles are typical of those that first came over from England in the early 1900's. They go dot high and tumble two three or more tumbles, he flies now out of a kit box that hold thirty birds on each side. Heppner's son in law brought him the kit box a year or so ago and talked him into feeding them a table spoon of feed each. Dudley said now they fly longer and tighter together. He was flying out of a loft about 8' X10'. 


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