Solway Township, MN (NNCNOW.COM) -A number of Northland kids "went to the birds" Sunday.
Well, actually the birds came to them.
Pigeons; on a good day one might call them "street grouse."
"Street grouse is one of the nicest names I've ever heard. The flying rat is one of the worst," says Kim Bartz a pigeon breeder.
Despite a bit of a dirty reputation, pigeons actually are clean birds according to their fans and they make great pets.
"They're really nice and you can handle them a lot," says Shea Mosher, a pigeon fan.
Julianna Langelier another pigion fan says there's a pigeon type for everyone.
"There are all types. There are ones that are easier for beginners and ones that are harder for older 4–H'ers."
This learning session about pigeons for kids was put on by the 4–H Club.
Yes, they're still around.
"Oh, yes. 4–H has gone digital and we're online and on twitter, all that," Bartz adds.
4–H was started in 1902 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It stands for "head, heart, hands, and health.
The goal of 4–H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills for youth ages five to 21.
Raising and training pigeons is one of many ways to learn those skills.
"They learn responsibility. The birds are waiting for you at home everyday. You need to feed them, water them and talk to them," informs Bartz.
"I like learning about all the different kinds of pigeons and how to care for them. I like learning about animals," says Jazelle Waxbik, yet another pigeon fan.
4–H's slogan is "learn by doing."
Pigeon trainer Kim Bartz hopes these kids learn that pigeons are far more than pesty birds on a statue.
"You don't have to fear them. You can embrace them. They're awesome."
Veterans of 4–H include former Vice President Walter Mondale, TV host David Letterman and actress Julia Roberts.
Posted to the web by Dave Anderson