Pigeon enthusiasts want you to know that pigeons are so much more than those disreputable city specimens lurking underfoot, awaiting crumbs as you polish off that bagel. Take, for instance, the preening creatures on display at the recent Grand National Pigeon Show.

The gathering in Ontario, California, was the 93rd under the auspices of the National Pigeon Association. (Noted pigeon enthusiast Mike Tyson opened the festivities.) According to the Associated Press, "Showing pigeons is one of the oldest and largest hobbies in the world." To know pigeons, apparently, is to love them:

"All these pigeons are man-made. None of them occur in nature like this," said Nolan, who raises English trumpeters, known for their acoustic sound of distant trumpets. "All of these breeds have evolved from man's creative genius."

Samantha Wendell of North Hollywood and her fantail Francis, which looks like a turkey, are inseparable.

"Pigeons are just like dogs, they love you like a dog if you spend time with them and love them back," she said. "He is all hugs and snuggles."

Unfortunately, attracting new blood is a challenge. One attendee (who admitted his compatriots are largely over 50) bemoaned that, "We are up against computers and computer games." Virtual pigeons just aren't the same, I guess.

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Images via AP.