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Finding Calm in Mike Tyson's Pigeon Coop

'Once you grab a bird's feet, it's all over. They just give up. You could do it with an eagle," or so Mike Tyson explained as he gently held a pigeon in the massive hands that had rendered so many of his opponents unconscious. The former champion, who is now a vegan and looking svelte, bubbled with excitement over a new shipment of pigeons that had just arrived at his abode in the Las Vegas suburbs. Expansive but not extravagant, the contemporary minimalist home was previously owned by NBA star Jalen Rose.

For Mike Tyson, a rara avis of 20th-century sports, pigeons were there in the beginning and, he insisted, "They'll be there when I die." They are also feathering the time in between. Mr. Tyson, who owns some 3,000 birds, is the star of a new six-part Animal Planet reality series called "Taking on Tyson," which debuts March 6. The show examines Mr. Tyson's lifelong love of pigeons and follows him as he's introduced to the culture and practice of pigeon racing.


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