Emanating from the front yard of Carey Larkin's home in Kooringal is a chaotic symphony of coos and ruffling feathers.
This is because the big, custom-built wooden cage he keeps next to his garage contains his pride and joy - nearly 70 energetic and cheery pigeons.
Mr Larkin is one of the nine remaining members of the Wagga Pigeon Racing Club, a dedicated group of friends who regularly breed flocks of pigeons and then pit them against one another in races spanning hundreds of kilometres.
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For these races, the pigeons are gathered together and driven to a far-off location, where they are then released and sent flying back to their respective homes.
Upon their return they fly through scanners which record their time and calculate a winner, taking into account the different distances each owners' birds may have had to travel.
Mr Larkin competed in pigeon racing as a child in Liverpool, but was forced to give it up when his family decided against raising the birds at home.
He left the sport behind and it was not until nearly 50 years later he rediscovered his passion for it, thanks to some nudging from a friend.
"I was in a very serious car accident in 1987 where I was told I would never walk or work again," Mr Larkin said.
"It meant I was always looking for things to do during the day and in 2014 I had a friend from my childhood who had never stopped racing who recommended I get back into it. He offered to build me a cage and buy me the birds and I just had to race them."
Mr Larkin took the offer and said he has never made a better decision.
"I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have pigeons - I just love them," he said.
"They're beautiful creatures and it's just fun seeing them when they're fit and flying around. They're so loving and the way they feed their young is amazing."
Currently Mr Larkin owns about 70 of the birds, including 30 former race winners used for breeding, 30 current racers as well as youngsters that haven't flown yet.
When COVID permits, he and the other club members compete in weekly races - days which he said are grounded in fun but can definitely get competitive.
"Everybody's got their own little secrets which they won't tell anybody but it's just a fun day really," he said.
"I just love watching them come home because at first they're just a speck but then they close their wings up and they come in like bloody rockets."
Competitor numbers in the sport are dropping and Mr Larkin said he'd love to see more young participants getting involved in the Wagga club.
"We'd absolutely love to start up a junior club but there's just no young people getting involved at the moment," he said.
"When I first started they were absolutely fantastic to me and took me through everything. There is so much knowledge in this club and they are more than happy to share it with new members and help them in any way they can."
Anyone interested can contact the Wagga Pigeon Racing Club for tips on how to get involved.
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