The National Birmingham Roller Association is a charitable association that breeds, trains and flies the Birmingham Roller breed of pigeons. The group was founded in 1961 by a group of 10 enthusiasts, led by elected organization president J. Leroy Smith. The group gathers annually for the National Championship Fly to showcase the talents of trained groups, called kits, of these birds.
The Birmingham Roller pigeon is type of domesticated bird that originated in Birmingham, England. Due to intentional breeding by humans, the birds have developed the ability to somersault rapidly in the air during mid-flight. The National Birmingham Roller Association members train kits of these birds to fly in formation and roll simultaneously. In competition, the trainer and pigeons are judged on the kit number, quality of somersault, depth of the roll as well as the cohesion of the group.
Pigeon breeds related to the Birmingham Roller include Show Rollers, which are generally larger than flying varieties; Oriental Rollers, which often come in a number of colors; and Parlor Rollers, a breed that doesn't fly but somersaults backwards along the ground. Scientific analysis of the rolling motion of these breeds concludes that a genetic variation causes the birds to pull the head backwards and tail upwards when raising its wings, contrary to the motion of typical rock pigeons.