July 8, 2021
They flew the coop—and vanished into thin air. British bird handlers are devastated after a mind-boggling 5,000 homing pigeons seemingly disappeared during a race across the United Kingdom in late June, the New York Post reports.
“We’ve seen one of the very worst ever racing days in our history,” pigeon hobbyist Richard Sayers wrote in a Facebook post chronicling the feathery fiasco, which occurred after 9,000 racing birds took off from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, on a journey to the northeast. And while the 170-mile round-trip flight should only have taken three hours, over half the avian competitors were unaccounted for at the finish line.
They were reportedly part of 250,000 pigeons released in approximately 50 racing events across the country—
It’s unclear what prompted the squab squadrons to seemingly vanish—however, many breeders are “blaming the atmospheric conditions, possibly a solar storm above the clouds that created static in the atmosphere,”according to the Post,
Ian Evans, CEO of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, finds the Bermuda Triangle-esque disappearance especially baffling as “weather conditions across the country were good.” He added that “there was nothing to suggest that any birds would struggle to get home.”
To help re-coop-erate losses, Sayers is imploring “anyone who comes across a racing pigeon to feed, water and let it rest,” whereupon “there’s an 80% chance the birds will get on their way after a few days,” he told The Daily Mail. The North Yorkshire native added that the homing pigeons can be identified by a leg ring denoting their “code and number.”
To prevent such disasters in the future, Royal Pigeon Racing Association boss Evans is holding talks with the UK’s national weather service to obtain reports on any unusual solar activity.
Research contact: @nypost