From Pigeons, of England, September 20, 1929
Does competitive sport with rollers improve the quality of the bird as a roller? Myself, as a fancier of about twenty years, I think not. We know that a given number of birds are flown in competition, and the kit making the most turns is judged the winner including, of course, the style of fly, but the quality of the birds, which should come before anything, receives no notice or attention.
Now to get a kit of birds to make these turns requires little or no experience whatever. You can buy them from anywhere, and breed them without any thought in selection and stock, and get good results. Birds of this caliber are those, which can do anything but roll.
When performing a turn, it is noticed that the fall is a good depth, but I have noticed no good rolling. Of course, you get one or two that roll, but surely these pigeons cannot be classed as good rollers, not in the sense of the word known to fanciers and breeders of the true English Roller.
A good roller is a bird, which can roll tight like a ball through the air for four or five yards. I find it most difficult to describe a good bird, but I have noticed that strangers to the hobby have easily discerned the marvelous way in which they roll. They readily grasp the fascination of keeping birds that roll in the way described, birds which are really worthy of being called rollers.
There are dozens of ways in which birds roll, but only one way that appeals to and attracts the attention of a real lover of a quality roller. To get a kit of rollers together takes some time and patience. Firstly, the selection and breeding and the fixing of a strain covers a period of years. Tumbler breeders are aware of this, although it would seem that some of them will not be educated to know what a good bird is, or they will not go to the trouble to cultivate the real roller.
They appear to be content to keep, breed, and fly birds that are in their opinion, more likely to win them a few shillings. They thereby deceive not only themselves but also the public, that their pigeons are genuine rollers. It is quite safe to say that today there are fewer breeders of the true English Roller, better known as the Birmingham Roller, than there were twenty years ago.
William H. Pensom