Pigeon fanciers are scrambling to figure out how approximately 5,000 birds vanished into a “Bermuda triangle” in a single event on one of the worst days recorded for the sport.
9,000 pigeons competed in a three-hour competition from Peterborough to the North East, but more than half of them are yet to arrive.
Up to this point, only atmospheric conditions have been identified as a possible reason.
“We’ve experienced one of the worst ever racing days in our history,” pigeon fancier Richard Sayers had said The Sun.
“The majority of the breeders I’ve spoken with blame the weather — probably a solar storm just above clouds that caused static in the atmosphere — but no one knows for sure.”
Homing pigeons travel using the Earth’s magnetic field, however they can become disoriented during a geomagnetic storm.
Hundreds of pigeons with identification rings have been lost by breeders’ clubs. Anybody who spots one of the racing pigeons is asked to feed and water them in the hopes that they will carry on their journey.
“We became aware pretty soon that something quite strange was happening,” Ian Evans, of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, reportedly stated.
“This is the first time I’ve heard of anything like that.”
“On the surface, the weather conditions appeared to be favorable. Thousands of birds, though, failed to return in the end.
“Something happened that caused them to lose their sense of direction. We think it had something to do with the activity of the solar wind activity.”
He went on to say that numerous stories of problems had been received from other European countries and that the racing organisation had contacted the Met Office to see if solar activity could just have triggered a geomagnetic storm.
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