One of the flying breeds
to arrive on the shores of the North American Continent in the early 1960's
was the Polish Orlik Tumbler. At that time they were called Orlik Falcon
Tumblers by the fanciers who offered them for sale. It was at that time,
a breed little known to us here in the USA and the only information at
hand was imported from the British Isles and that was sparse of content
indeed. From this hand me down description the birds were to resemble soaring
hawks of some sort while in flight and they could not fly without favorable
winds, or on rainy
days, etc., etc.
Personally, after reading some of the descriptions and picturing the possibility of such an awesome sight in the air, plus the glowing accounts which were being passed around about them, the writer could not resist the chance to have some Rare Breeds for himself. When the birds were actually in hand, they appeared to be virtually just another European Oriental Roller/Tumbler type. The physical structure and colors were typical of those depicted in the "Pigeon Portraits" by Mr. H.P. Macklin in the issues of the APJ during the 1950's.
However, over a period of nearly twenty years the writer has grown to admire them very much. Falcons they are NOT! They are Polish Tumblers precisely, according to Mr. H. Pyrzakowski (a native Pole), and came from the grassy plains in Poland which lead to the bordering hills of the Ukraine. They are, indeed related to the Ukranian Skycutters and Shields just as one would expect.
In addition, my one time
Polish landlady told me Orlik means baby Eagle instead of Falcon, and this
term, no doubt, refers to the exceptionally broad flight and secondary
wing feathers, as well as to the broad-webbed and wide tail which contains
from 14 to 18 feathers. If vivid imaginations were used, I suppose you
might say they do resemble the raptor class of birds, especially the broad-winged
hawks. This is again partially due to a similarity in silhouette, because
Orliks have very short, thick-set necks and have a habit of wheeling in
circles with disregard to others flying at the same height, rather than
kitting together as the Rollers and Flights perform. And they do make good
their name of Tumbler, because
they will tumble, taking one or two revolutions (backward somersaults) both at high altitudes or near the ground. They also do their share of misjudging their height and the result is they do crash into light wires, tree tops and against the roof of the loft at times.
If scared silly by hawks or humans, they can climb up in the sky out of sight, but they are usually loathe to fly, except to make local fielding trips with the Saxon Field Pigeons I have from East Germany. Once they are familiar with their loft's surroundings, they can be relied on to remain nearby and seldom venture off. They are quite tame, naturally, and never quarrel in the loft. They raise their own young with ease and will foster even larger breeds.
Their colors are few: Ash-Red wit the variation that the tails contain two or three outer rectrices whicli are red and white spot; Kite with the central eight or ten feathers of the tail white with white on the rump, a well; Ash-Yellow usually withou any colored edge feathers in the tail The colors are deep and lustrous, bu care must be taken to discard an that begin to show a circle of whit feathers around the eye. This effect could come from their close relation to the Rschev Star-tailed Tumbler which feature the white circle aroud the eye coupled with white beard.
These Polish Tumblers will
never stir the commotion that Macedonian acrobatic flying Rollers are presently
creating, but for fanciers who really want a RARE BREED and enjoys the
Tumbler family - these birds may very well be the birds for YOU.
Back To Orliks