are they? Standing approximately 4 meters high, usually
painted black or green, with ladders leading to a small
doorway half way up one side and nestling in urban wasteland.
You might be mistaken for thinking this was some trendy
revival of the Scottish baronial style, but no, these structures
The often misunderstood doo-cot is used in a complex game
of pigeon "kidnap". Many people still believe
the doo-cot is the inner city equivalent of the suburban
pigeon loft. This could not be further from the truth.
The concept: let one bird out to bring
a neighbour's bird back to your doo-cot. On entering the doo-cot,
the neighbours bird is captured and becomes the property of
Techniques: All sorts of techniques are
used, of which seduction is one of the most common.
A female in a particularly attractive condition seduces another
person's amorous male back to her loft or to his, depending
which one wins.
If seduction doesn't work, then aggressive males will bully
another bird back to their doo-cot, often with heavy blows
from the leading edge of their wings.
The doo-cot differs from the pigeon loft in
that the birds are not housed within the structures and are
kept elsewhere in lofts, bedrooms, outhouses.
This is a collection of photographs that we have taken
of doocots in Glasgow.
The Dalwoodie Doocot
Doocots were not always used for racing pigeons. They were
originally provided as a place for pigeons to roost / nest.
Which sounds nice until you realise that this attractive environment
was simply meant to keep the birds as a handy source of food!
It has to be note the birds were neither fed nor kept captive.
Jimmy Reid here in Canada and pretty pleased to see your
'page' on 'Dookits,' jist great Jimmy! jist great! I see where
you mention that the birds weren't 'kept in the Dookit' ??
this was not always the case or I wouldn't have 'broken into'
so many, LoL! As kids, we were not in a position to 'buy'
pigeons but, we were quite adept at acquiring them by fair
or foul means?
My buddy's "Graham T. and George T." and I, would
see a particular 'wee ash hen' or a 'big pied cock' and go
weak in the knees 'wae desire' Now, you've got three eleven
year olds sizing up "I.Bell's Dookit" on The Blocks
of Springburn and figuring out 'how to gain access' Mr. I.Bell?
was an extremely clever man as he built the door (God! it
was like Fort Knox!) into the corner of his massive structure
(similiar to the ones in you're terrific photo pictorial)
but, we couldn't figure out how to 'open the door!' We studied
his 'handle/hinge less door' and I eventually found that he
had 'drilled' a big hole through the corner of the Dookit
and into the door at several locations.
He then took the big 'bolts' that are used in railway sleepers
and inserted these through the corner post and into the door
leaving you to believe, that they were just part of the construction!
We 'slipped' out the bolts and gained entry, climbing an inner
ladder, we were then in the cage area. There were 'boxshelves'
with wire fronts on them and inside the 'cages' were the most
beautiful 'Doos' that us young 'Hawker Fliers' had ever seen!
Shaking with excitement, we stuffed a pair each into our 'jukes'
(our sweaters) and 'flew the coop!'LoL!
I wont continue with this story unless you e-mail me and
ask me for 'the rest of it,' LoL! but, I thought I'd 'contribute
a wee bit to your Page. I still fly the Doos out here in Canada
but, they're Scottish Kirkpatrick Racing Pigeons 'imported'
from Larkhall and I have been lucky enough to have had the
"3rd Best Young Bird in Canada, my Div. 1997/98 and 1st
and 2nd Best Young Bird in Canada, my Div. 1999/00, not bad
for a wee Doo thief, LoL! (we got 'doin's' for stealing those
Jim Reid. ex.Springburn / Balornock.
I've just came across your Hidden Glasgow page and found it
My attention was drawn to the section on "Doocots".
Like my father, I was born and bred in Cardonald. Since my
first memories, I can always remember my dad having the "doos".
However, in our area there were no "high rise dookits".
Most of the dookits (and there were many in Cardonald) were
in garden sheds or garages. My dad kept his birds in our garage.
It was a garage that never seen a car inside. It was dedicated
to his "doos".
Stealing "doos" was the practice of the "lowest
of the low". It was not so much the value of the birds.
It was the time taken to train and nurture the birds to just
the way you wanted them, so that they could compete effectively.
In "housing schemes" such as Cardonald and Penilee,
doo sheds were prominent. However, way before "doo sheds",
doo flying was very prominent in areas like Govan, where the
"dookits" were either situated on the roof of the
tenements or "the board" was stuck out of a window,
usually above the kitchen sink.
"Doomen" were a cross section of many types of people.
From business men, to guys "on the bru". All of
which were dedicated to the sport and art of "flying
My dad owned the "doo shop" in Kinning Park for
years. It was opened only on Sunday nights. Birds were swapped,
sold and raffled. Stories were told about how many birds were
caught, lost or stolen by "low life's". Sunday night
was a very busy and serious time for "doomen".
Like the "doo thief" who wrote the article on "your
memories", I too now live in Canada and like him still
fly "the doos". Pouters to be precise. After my
dad closed his businesses in Govan our family moved to Canada.
You can read more about our connection with Govan, Glasgow
click on Govan Folk, then Scanlan Family.
I am enjoying your site. Great work.
Harry Scanlan. [17/12/2003]