Photograph: João Silva
João Ferreira and his son share a world of unknown rules where they are the gods of the dovecote. A pigeon fancier spends an entire life searching for the perfect pigeon. The best time for a fancier is when the races take place. It’s not like now. “I feel empty at this time of the year”, says José Jacinto holding a pigeon in his hand and opening its wings as if holding two incomplete fans. This is the time when fanciers have to wait for the wings to grow, so that the birds can fly again and bring them joy again.