In order to place them into their loft - and in general to check that they are alright - it is necessary to handle them. This must be done without harming them of course, but still securely enough that they cannot escape.
Jos Voortman, the racing pigeon breeder that provided us with the squabs, showed us how to do so.
The pigeon should be grasped with ones dominant hand, with the thumb wrapping around their wings and the index and middle finger on either side of their legs. The other hand should be supporting the bird and holding it against ones body to make sure it feels secure.
From this position one can easily spread the pigeons wings to check their condition, or the bird can even be flipped around to check their information from their foot tag.