Bill Milestone releases his flock of racing pigeons from their loft for an afternoon workout.
Photos and story by Thomas K. Pendergast
A tradition of racing that has been going on for more than a century in San Francisco's Richmond District, maybe even going back to before the area got its name, still has one local competitor practicing it today.
Perhaps that is not quite accurate, however, because Bill Milestone is not really in the race himself, per se. It is more precise to say there is a whole flock of competitors living like elite athletes in his Inner Richmond loft.
Describing them as a flock is accurate because this is not a loft made for humans, but for racers with wings and feathers. The loft is in Milestone's back yard, not too far from Golden Gate Park and Saint Ignatius Church, and it has a special room dedicated for breeding more of the elite avian athletes.
Milestone races pigeons, and as far as he knows, he's the only person on the west side of San Francisco who still does.