Feathers are set to fly next month when the nation's fastest pigeons compete in Australia's richest racing series, the Gold Coast 50,000.
More than 600 birds have been entered in the 'one loft' race series.
The pigeons compete in four races over eight weeks, starting with a two-and-a-half hour flight and then steadily build up to a nine-hour marathon on September 8.
Race organiser Steve Zander says most pigeon races start at a common point but then each individual bird sets a course for its own home.
He says the Gold Coast 50,000 is a true test for birds.
"The unique situation of one loft races is where all birds have the same finish line and there's not a disadvantage to any given flyer," he said.
Breeders dropped off their best young squabs to Mr Zander's Willowvale loft in December and he's feeding and training them up for the four races.
"It's about competing, it's about winning, it's about the excitement, the adrenalin rush of getting a fast pigeon," he said.
Upper Coomera breeder Jason Hudson has been in the sport for five years and has entered three birds in the series.
"It's definitely the Melbourne Cup of pigeon racing, it's the best way to explain it," he said.
He wants a slice of the $140,000 prize purse and "the prestige of having your pigeons race against the best quality birds in Australia."
Mr Hudson says breeders become attached to their birds, but not all of them make it home from a training flight.
"The falcons tend to kill quite a few of the birds, unfortunately," he said.
Mr Zander says predatory birds, power lines and fences claim most of the missing pigeons.
"You do lose one here and one there and sometimes you might have a bad training day when you could lose six or seven," he said.
Last year's winner of the final marathon race came from South Australia. The winning bird flew from a release point in Rockhampton, in central Queensland, to the Gold Coast in just under nine hours.
The winning owner walked away with a prized breeding bird and a $65,000 cheque.