**Where do your Champions live**

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**Where do your Champions live**
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**Where do your Champions live**


Part 1


Where do your champions live, to start with it is a fact that the jet stream goes around the globe from the west to the east, therefore the prevailing winds are mainly from the west e.g. north west, west and south west, a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, and that is how our distances are worked out,

With these facts in mind, a club flying north to south or south to north usually gets a push from the west the line of flight then becomes a banana route, any flier west of the centre is an automatic looser as soon as the birds go east of the centre line.  In a ten year study in the U.S.A. fliers on the east of centre won 86% of the races, in many cases there was a complete white wash of the west side lofts,


Now for a bit of my own personal experiences, in one club that I flew in, I lived 35 miles west of my nearest loft, in that particular club my open wins were few and far between, although I won my fair share of the section races, the best velocities in that club were shared by three or four fliers all on the east of the town, these same fliers also took up most of the space on the honour boards, later I competed in a club in my own town and I am south east of the rest of the fliers, all our races are on the north line and instead of winning a few races I won nearly every race on the program,

I am sure that I had not found any magic potion , I am also sure that the others birds are as good as mine and I know that as I gave the other fliers most of their stock pigeons, maybe it is because my loft is east of all the other lofts, just as a matter of interest I never count these wins when I advertise my birds as I feel it would be cheating any prospective buyers, so what I put to the other members was a compromise I worked out a system that was fair to all,  the lofts to the West of town were given added mileage to make up for the birds that in most instances broke not far from my loft, I wonder if I had been  living east of my previous club would I also have been one of their champions.   


My personal opinion is that the preferred position in any club or fed is for example if you are racing from north to south the bottom south east corner of the club or federation is the place to live, the worst is the north west corner as these birds will be giving distance to the south east birds, the opposite works for lofts flying from south to north the top north east corner is where you should have your loft for the same reasons that I had mentioned. Check where your champions live.

An article in an edition of the pigeon fancier some time ago helps to prove my point, the tests on 10 pigeons with the G.P.S. tracking monitors attached recently in Germany showed with 10,000 recorded positions not once did the birds cross west of the centre line in their 200 klm flight one bird even went over 9 klm off that centre line, what chance would you have had to win the race if you lived west of centre


Part 2


Now for the next part of my theory on where do your champions live, the first part was to do with being east of your federation or club and how the wind is to your advantage this one is to do with magnetic lines and grids, every country has magnetic grids they are lines which mainly running north - south,

In Australia maps can be purchased of the whole country or specific areas, how do these affect pigeons?, well birds are reluctant to cross one of these grids and will seek a way past them they will come through the hills mainly through valleys or where there is a break in the line or a weak magnetic pull, this may explain why some fanciers are always complaining that they never get a bird to home on line,


I will give you two examples one is my own experience where I lived on the edge of the Bennett Ranges, the rangers were right in the direct line of the flight path from the race points, not once did I get my birds to home on line they always came north or south to me never on line, several years ago a fancier in Sydney asked me why I thought his birds were never coming on line in a particular year,  still returning from the same direction as the past year,  That year he had a good year with the birds homing direct each week right on line, the first thing I asked him if they were flying the same direction, he said that they had switched from a southerly direction to a north west line,


I told him to get a map of the magnetic grids for his area and he would find a magnetic grid north west of his loft which the birds would not cross they were going around the magnetic line and homing from the wrong direction, he brought the map and found that I was right there was a very strong magnetic grid to the north and west of him, these maps also showed that most of the top lofts were situated in the area least affected by magnetic lines for their birds to cross no matter which direction that they flew, the areas with the  least magnet lines are usually coloured purple and that is where most of the champions lived.


There is in my opinion a conclusion that can be reached if my theory is correct, first is that the lofts most effected by magnet grids will never be among the top lofts in their club, secondly a lofts that can only win on one line of flight have a magnet grid blocking off the direct line from other directions as is the case with my friend from Sydney, and last the top lofts in clubs or federations are the ones least affected with at most only a small magnetic interference from whichever direction that they race from,   if the theory is correct maybe federations should be checking the grids in their racing area and selecting the direction home from release points that pigeons will have as few magnetic grids to cross as possible, it doesn't seem to be any problem for birds flying along these lines.  If anybody would like to try out what I have just written about I would appreciate their findings and comments, I am sure there will be a lot of pigeon fanciers buying maps in the near future as it could decide where your next house and loft is situated

When I was working at the University I met a fellow that was doing a study into a very small bird that migrated from Siberia every year to the shores of the Swan River in Western Australia, a distance in excess of ten thousand miles, they stayed a short while to breed then returned to Siberia for their summer, as scientists go he had to find out how they could navigate the extreme distance and arrive at exactly the same place at the same time each year, so what did he do he cut some of these poor little creatures into tiny pieces , one thing that he found was that there were small traces of magnetite in the brain tissue, this has since been confirmed by scientists from the Cornell University in America, when the time came for the birds to depart and head back to Siberia the amount of magnetite had built up considerably, so somewhere they had found a supply of the necessary mineral nearby to Crawley Bay on the Swan river, it could have been from the gravel and ironstone outcrops that were nearby in Kings Park or even the mineral sands near the beach, I asked my friend if he could get me a supply of magnetite so that I  could give to my birds to try, which he did, my results over the time that I used the magnetite proved to me that there was an advantage using magnetite as an additive to the birds diet to help their homing capability, since my first contact with magnetite I  have  found out that scientists have found traces of magnetite in the brain tissue of many migrating animals with some fish having traces in their nose.   

Now where to get magnetite it can be purchased as pure magnetite or if you live near any coalfields there should be plenty of magnetite available as it is used in the processing of coal, coal dust has magnetite in it, at one time I was talking to Peter Rigani a top English fancier and the conversation got around to birds homing to their lofts, he told me that his returns were not as they used to be, I asked him a few questions about what he may have changed in his birds diet, he said the only thing was he had stopped putting coal dust in with his grit, I advised him when he returned to England to go back to what he was doing, in a later correspondence he said that his returns had improved back to what they were before,


Titanium  (titano-magnetite) is another rich source of magnetite, one other thing that I found out is that the pigeons spend a lot of time picking on gravel paths or roads mainly to get the trace elements in the gravel, also included in the gravel is iron, my neighbors used to thing that I  was mad, and they were probably right as I  used to walk up and down the road dragging a magnet getting the iron for my birds, it  take long to get a small tin full, I  would feed this iron to the birds in their grit bowls, one other observation that I  made no matter how much the birds ate of the small particles of iron there was very little in their droppings it appeared that they had been able to break down the iron in their system somewhere, no matter where I went I had the magnet with me even on a trip to the beach, every time I had some minerals to bring home with me.

They are just opening a magnetite mine not far from where I live it is believed to be the biggest deposit known in the world.


The next step was to try the magnetite under racing conditions,

The Matthews bros from Arizona in America who were believers of the magnetite theory put the theory to the test, their conclusion was although that it was not a scientific experiment it appeared that magnetite does help the better bred birds nothing can help the poor quality birds.

The two brothers were the only ones to use magnetite in their club, they also gave several birds to other fanciers without telling them about the magnetite, they didn't mention it to the other members they wanted to see how their birds compared to the lofts not using magnetite, one flier in the club started with 200 birds and finished with nine, the other members in the club had teams near 100 birds and lost most of them, one of the brothers won most of the races the other won the 150 and the 300 mile race,  the 300 mile was won with two birds 30 minutes in front, the birds that they had given to other fanciers to fly that were raised on magnetite, were included in the prizes, all of the places in the hard 300 mile race were filled with birds that were raised on magnetite, and where all the other fliers had heavy losses the Matthews Brothers had 18 out of the 21 birds shipped to arrive home.

They found that it probably only helped the birds on bad days when the birds were split up or on smash races. 

Just to finish off this topic I have always earthed my loft roof to the ground, by running a wire to a star picket that I had driven into the ground, I was advised to do this many years ago by a fellow fancier, I do not know if it fits in with the Magnetic Grids or the magnetite all I know is that when there was a smash race there were few races that I did not home a bird and in some races I homed the only bird in race time


I have discovered today that it is highly magnetic, that is, drop a magnet near it and heaps will stick to the magnet.   To me that means that it contains large amounts of minute metal filings, ( similar to that you would find near a lathe in a engineering workshop - I wonder what the source of it is??)
If it contains actual metal filings, which is apparent, I question the birds ability to actually absorb metal filings into its bloodstream to maintain the iron level in the blood.   


I noticed that the birds tend to leave traces of it still in the bottom of the feed tray, - perhaps they don't appreciate chunks of steel in their breakfast?


Part 3


My 'layman's' reading, tells me that iron is essential in the blood stream to create red corpuscles, which in turn utilize the oxygen from the lungs, and we all know the importance of the oxygen to the birds performance.

As an alternative, a elderly retired flyer, told me that he used to buy from the local chemist a vitamin and iron tonic, labeled BCM.   He put a couple of cap full into the feed or water for three days before basketing and claims he had very good results.   His belief was the iron in the tonic.
I would reckon a human approved tonic like this BSM, in liquid form, would be more readily absorbed into the blood stream that actual 'metal filings'.


I have always wondered how pigeons found their way home, over the years I have tried several ways to find out, one was when I had a small radio transmitter made for me by a fellow at the University, every time I let the birds out I turned it on when I wanted them to trap,

My wife would turn it on the same time as I released the birds from short tosses, this went on for only a short time until the police knocked on the door and confiscated all my radio gear they said that I was using an illegal transmitter and was lucky that no charges would be laid.