Frequently Asked Questions about White Dove Releases
Are they pigeons, or are they doves?
The common pigeon is actually a type of dove known as the "Rock Dove". So technically speaking, the birds used in releases are doves. However, there is a huge difference between the white doves used in releases and regular doves.
**IMPORTANT** The ONLY type of birds that should be used for dove releases are well trained white RACING PIGEONS!!!
These birds have been bred for generations for their ability to fly home from distances of up to 600 miles. Beware of unethical businesses that use the smaller white "Ring Neck" doves for release. These are the doves you will often find in pet stores for under $20 dollars. Not only can they not find their way home, they cannot really fly more that a few feet! Any bird other than a racing pigeon (Rock Dove) will die when released into the wild, including white pigeons purchased from poultry farms.
My wedding is scheduled for 8:00 pm, is that too late?
The time of the local sunset relative to the distance the birds will have to fly home determines whether they can fly safely home before dark. Well trained birds can fly at 55-60 mph and should be given adequate time to return home before darkness. The birds do not like to fly in the dark, will produce a very unappealing looking "release" if forced out at night (they actually will not want to come out of their baskets). Provided there is adequate natural lighting at the moment of release, the birds should be given time to return home, or at the very least enough light to sit down somewhere for the night. We do not release our birds in the dark!
What about bad weather?
The birds should not be released in extremely bad weather, like a severe rain storm, windstorm, thunderstorm, or strong snowstorm. We, at Asheville White Dove Releases will discuss our concerns for the birds safety with you prior to your event. We will consider a Plan B, reschedule the dove release or refund your payment if we determine that cancellation is appropriate on our part. Please ask for our Terms and Conditions contract which spells out our policy.
How far can they fly?
Well trained,quality racing pigeon stock have a range of anywhere between 100 to 600 miles, depending on many variable factors such as weather, stock quality, etc. While further distances are possible, this would be for only for exceptional specimens. The key here is well trained quality stock. While it will be hard for the layman to know the difference, generally those operators who also race their birds have these types of birds.
White dove release providers generally train and provide releases from 50-100 miles maximum using good quality birds and training practices. Beware of anyone offering to ship birds to you for self release at exceptional distances or low prices. Despite what they may tell you, the likelihood of their birds returning home is remote because they often don't train them nor do they care if they return home! However we do train and care about our birds!
Can I release them myself, or is it better to have a release coordinator?
While it is possible for anyone to open an appropriate basket and let the birds go, having an experienced professional who may guide you through your event will very much enhance your special event. There is much more to this than simply showing up and opening the lid.... there is an "art" to it. Only experienced professionals understand bird behavior, timing, and what it takes to separate the "ho hum" release from the phenomenal release. Let us help you.
DOVE RELEASE vs BUTTERFLY RELEASE ?
I am often asked if we offer butterfly releases, and we DO NOT, for several reasons. Here are some things to consider when deciding between a dove release and a butterfly release for your wedding or other event.
1) Doves can be released year round; butterflies can only be released in sunny conditions at temperatures greater than 70 degrees.
2) When you release doves, you have a much better chance of getting spectacular photographs. Butterflies are very small and can easily be missed in photos.
3) Every dove that is release will be alive! The standard guarantee for butterflies is 85% to be alive. So-if you're planning to release 100 butterflies, up to 15 could arrive dead. If you and your guests don't handle them properly, that number could skyrocket.
4) Your doves will FLY! Many butterflies land on guests or on the ground and may end up getting stepped on.
5) There are some concerns about releasing butterfies into the wild, and some states have restrictions. Doves all return home and are the most ecological friendly choice to celebrate your happiness.
Asheville White Dove Releases takes our service very seriously and will work with you to create the best white dove release experience possible.