The mystery as ‘worst day in pigeon racing history’ sees 5,000 birds vanish into thin air

Fanciers are trying to establish why more than half of the birds flying in a northeast race have yet to arrive with similar issues affecting competitions last Saturday

More than half of the pigeons in a northeast race have disappeared

Fanciers are trying to figure out how around 5,000 birds went missing in a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ in a single race in what is being called one of the worst days in the sport’s history.

A race from Peterborough to the northeast saw 9,000 pigeons take part in what would normally be a three-hour competition, but more than half have yet to arrive.

Atmospheric conditions are the only explanation put forward so far.

Pigeon fancier Richard Sayers told The Sun: “We had one of the worst racing days in our history.

“Most of the ranchers I talk to blame the atmospheric conditions – possibly a solar storm above the clouds that created static electricity in the atmosphere – but no one really knows.”

Pigeon breeders attribute the disappearance of pigeons to atmospheric conditions


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Carrier pigeons use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate, but they can become disoriented in the event of a geomagnetic storm.

Breeders have seen their clubs lose hundreds of pigeons with identification rings. They ask anyone who sees one of the carrier pigeons to give them food and water with the likelihood that they will eventually move on.

Richard Sayers (pictured center with his family) said it was one of the worst days in pigeon racing history

Ian Evans, of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, is quoted as saying: “We became aware quite quickly that something very unusual was happening.

“I’ve never heard of anything like that.

“At first glance, the weather conditions were good. But in this case, thousands of birds simply did not return.

“Something happened that disrupted their navigational abilities. We think it may have something to do with solar wind activity.”

He added that there had been similar reports of problems in other European countries and that the racing association had gone to the Met Office to find out if solar activity could have caused a geomagnetic storm.

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