'Birdmuda Triangle' claims more victims
Thu, 30 Aug 2012 11:27a.m.
By Dan Satherley
Hundreds of homing pigeons in northeast England have disappeared without trace in what their owners are now calling the 'Birdmuda Triangle'.
On August 25, 232 birds were released in Yorkshire, but only 13 of them made it to their destination in Scotland.
According to UK paper The Telegraph, hundreds more have gone missing in the same region in the last few months, and their owners are giving up the sport in droves.
"This is not the first time it has happened in that area," pigeon racer Austin Lindores told the paper. "I won't be racing there again."
There are a few theories floating around – one is the high number of showers in the area of late.
But Wendy Jeffries, president of a local pigeon club, said it can't be the weather.
"The weather wasn't too bad around here on Saturday," she told The Telegraph.
"It has been an atrocious year. I am down to 10 young birds out of 29 and the people I have talked to are the same."
Another theory is that too many birds are being flown at once, and flocks heading in different directions are putting others off course.
But the most popular theory is perhaps the most controversial. A spy base run by the Royal Air Force is in the area, and since homing pigeons use magnetic fields for navigation, it's believed the base's satellite monitoring equipment is jamming the birds' sense of direction.
But the evidence doesn't quite stack up, reports science news site LiveScience..
"There's been a fair amount of experimentation on the effect of radio signals on pigeon orientation," Charles Walcott, professor of neurobiology and behaviour at Cornell University, told the website.
"No one has ever seen any substantial effect."
Others are blaming solar flares, cloud cover and even other birds. The Guardian reports in recent years, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has reintroduced several threatened species of birds of prey into the wild.
"It is the worst year in the memory of people who have been racing for 60 years," Stuart Fawcett told The Telegraph.
"The area being talked about is very heavily congested with pigeons because the raptor problem became so great elsewhere that races have moved to east England."
And maybe the raptors have followed them.
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31/08/2012 9:43:12 a.m.
Maybe the pigeons thought the grass looked greener and gave up homing.....
30/08/2012 12:52:23 p.m.
Almost got it right. In fact I would say it's more to do with signals emitted by HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Programme).
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