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History of the American Dove Association
by Jeff Downing

The Beginning...
In December of 1971, a group of men gathered at the home of Teno Vande Watter. They all had one thing in common, the desire to do something more for doves and people interested in dove keeping. They all agreed a club should be formed and the “Great Lakes Dove Breeders Association” was formed. Officers were elected and work started on forming a constitution, setting dove standards and letting everyone know of the new club. Their first ad went into the American Pigeon Journal and membership started to climb. As membership grew, it was quickly decided a new name was needed. They were outgrowing the area, with members from all over the country. The “American Dove Association” was adopted.

Membership Benefits...
Steadily growing from the first meeting, the ADA now has some 500 members from the United States and Canada, as well as many other countries. Each member receives a Membership and Breeders Directory, with listings of names, addresses, contact numbers, species and color mutations of doves kept, and a listing by state and country. This is a great resource for help and for networking both locally and nation wide. The new member packets also contains the ADA Constitution, the Standard for Ringneck Doves, the Standard for Diamond Doves, drawings of a Ringneck and Diamond Dove ready for framing, copies of the ADA DoveLine newsletter and order information for bands, books and other items offered through the club.

Development of Colors...
Back in the 1950’s we had two colors of Ringneck Doves, white and fawn. Just think that the ADA has seen Ringneck mutations grow from seven to thirty-five recognized colors at the present time, with some of the good members to thank for many of these new birds. For example, Dr. Wilmer Miller of Ames, Iowa, has greatly helped in bringing the dove world further along through genetics and breeding. We have many members to think of and thank for their hard work on dove keeping and color mutations, as well as getting the ADA on its feet.

Sharing Information...
Many members have also been active writing guides and articles, passing along information to the new and experienced fancier alike. Art Modler was Publicity Director for the ADA and produced a fine booklet on the care of the Ringneck dove. He and LeRoy Reed also wrote many articles for the ADA bulletin and the American Pigeon Journal, helping to stimulate interest in doves.

Dove Shows...
In October 1973 the club held the first dove show with the National Young Bird Show in Louisville, Kentucky. Membership had grown to ninety by this time with many attending and showing 65 doves to be judged by Orman Forcht. Roger Baker was the first Grand Champion with a young wild hen. The show was such a success that it was decided that it would become a yearly event. Now the show is a much looked forward to migration of dove lovers and breeders alike to Louisville each fall. Walking into the Halls, you will be overwhelmed by the thousands of pigeons and hundreds of doves being shown. Everyone is there because they “Love Doves.” What better way to expand your knowledge and maybe collection, by talking to others and seeing the many varieties and mutations available at the show.

Identification Bands for Doves...
Through the years bands to fit doves were hard to find. In 1976 the club was able to obtain and offer a “dove” band. They now offer bands for Ringneck doves, Diamond doves, and Exotic doves. The bands are ADA identified, with the year and consecutive numbering, and records kept on who purchased them. The bands are seamless and of good quality.

DoveLine Newsletter And Web Site..
One of the best benefits of the association is the newsletter, DoveLine. This publication is a bi-monthly newsletter filled with great information for the beginner and experienced dove fancier alike. You’ll find letters and articles about doves and dove keeping, advertisements on products and services related to doves, classifieds for members, and updates on new members. Believe me, you will look forward to its arrival as much as I do. Putting together and maintaining the DoveLine is a huge undertaking. As Secretary-Treasurer, Rita Courtney was instrumental in its development and the club is very lucky to have benefited from her experience and hard work. Kathy Hildreth, who served valiantly as Secretary and Editor, managed DoveLine for a number of years and was only recently replaced by Denny Stapp. It is through Kathy, her husband Charles, and David Baxter’s foresight and hard work that the ADA has now entered into the cyber-world.

Your participation in the American Dove Association will continue to be of value to you, and your doves will love you all the more!

© Copyright 2010 American Dove Association, Inc.