By 1856 Darwin had already built up a lot of information from his anatomical study of pigeons, he paid particular attention to measurements of the fancy breeds in comparison to the wild rock dove such as skull size, beak length and foot size. Darwin gained further experience in the various types of pigeons in early January when he visited the Philoperistron Pigeon show and in February he was gifted Trumpeters, Nuns and Turbits. After visiting Mathew Wicken, a small pair of brown Pouters were heading for Down House so by the end of February, 1856 he had 15 breeds of pigeon. He decided to build another loft purely to fly out his tumblers, Darwin had well and truly become a pigeon fancier even though he may not have thought so himself. He did say that he was "hand in glove with all sorts of fanciers, Spitalfield weavers and all sorts of odd specimens of the human species."

During his year of crossbreeding his lack of genetic knowledge about colour inheritance may have led him to some incorrect conclusions; such as when he produced a white bird from two blue pied Pouters, he thought this must have been the result of cross pairing with a white fantail as this was the only white bird which could have been responsible when infact two pieds often do throw a pure white bird. The white bird is still blue underneath but the pied affect has completely covered the true colour.
 

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Black Dragoon 'Best in show' Reading January 2009

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Red double crested German Trumpeter Denmark National January 2009

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Red Barb
Denmark National January 2009

Bill Mclay Norwich Cropper

Blue Pied Norwich Cropper

pouters

Brunner Pouters still displayed in bell shaped show cages