August 30, 2012
‘Birdmuda Triangle’ Sucking Up Hundreds Of Pigeons
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle is a popular one, but another tale is rising high as the "Birdmuda Triangle" begins to catch wind.
Hundreds of birds have gone missing in the "Birdmuda Triangle" between Thirsk, Wetherby and Consett in north-east England.
Pigeon racers gathered at an event earlier this month, launching their flocks high into the sky, setting them on a pace to pass through the triangle.
Only 13 out of the 232 birds that were put into the race returned to their coops in Scotland, but this wasn't the only event that saw losses. The other event had 800 birds out of the 1,000 go missing.
"Last weekend, a mate had 63 birds away from Durham and 25 went missing. It's heartbreaking, it's puzzling, and some people's seasons are finished because of this," Keith Simpson, of the East Cleveland Federation of pigeon fanciers, said to local reporters.
Some theories are that the missing birds might have tried to avoid rainclouds over North Yorkshire, but never managed to get back on course.
Another theory is that birds of prey such as peregrine falcons are disrupting the events, providing them with a flocking feast.
The more scientific theory blames nearby military intelligence operations, saying that signals from the Royal Air Force's Menwith Hill satellite station are jamming the birds' instincts.
"There's been a fair amount of experimentation on the effect of radio signals on pigeon orientation," Charles Walcott, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University who has been studying pigeons since 1962, told Discovery News. "No one has ever seen any substantial effect."
Fluctuations in the "K index," which is a measure of the earth's geomagnetic activity, adds to this theory. Racing pigeons are well trained, and are able to fly hundreds of miles and find their way around using geomagnetic fields before using their sight. A change in the "K index" could affect their ability to return to their coops.