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4. Sun

That heavenly body in the sky that has been there since time began. Worshipped for generations by all the nations of the planet earth. The planet earth revolving in complete synchronization with the sun and the earths moon, never missing a beat, never changing its pattern. Time has been calculated by its revolutions giving us our days, months, years and seasons. Our seasons are governed by the position of the sun on the horizon. On any given day a different country is experiencing one of the four seasons. For example, today in this country it is winter, in another country it is summer, in another country it is autumn(fall) and in another country it is spring. Each country that experiences the four seasons share some common factors. One of these factors is the spring and fall migration. This phenomenon is of great importance to racing pigeon fanciers because the spring migration is the signal of the commencement of the navigation season.The sun has reached the position which is called the spring equinox or vernal equinox. The elements that are required which enables various species, including racing pigeons, to navigate come into force when the sun reaches its spring equinox. Between the spring equinox and mid summer's day these elements build in strength on a steady incline until they reach their peak on or about mid summer's day after which they start a steady decline levelling out on the arrival of the autumn(fall) equinox. This signals the fall migration and the closing of the navigation season. This phenomenon has occurred for hundreds of thousands of years and has never changed from its original pattern. Nature controls the strength of these elements by the position of the sun and the amount and type of cloud cover. The higher the position of the sun the stronger the elements. The heavier the cloud cover the fewer elements get through to reach the earths surface. These elements which are required for navigation are ultra violet rays. Commonly called UV-rays.

There are three types of UV-rays, they are:


The third one(UV-c) we do not have to worry about. They are burned up in the outer stratosphere and never reach the earths surface. The first one(UV-a) we get all year round. It is UV-b that comes through at the spring equinox and declines at the fall equinox that is required by the migratory species and racing pigeons. Without these elements navigation cannot take place. Years of study and experiments have shown clearly that the outcome of a pigeon race is consistant with the strength of the UV-rays on the day of the race. There are four levels of UV-rays that we must consider. These levels are: bad, reasonable, excellent and dangerous.

Our experience and studies show the following:

Bad (UV-level: 0-3): smash or bad races.
Reasonable (UV-level: 3-5): tough racing, many losses.
Excellent (UV-level: 4-7.5): excellent racing.
Dangerous (UV-level: 7.5+): disaster to total smash. During the dangerous level the ultraviolet can cross the spectrum and enter the infra red spectrum. From tests carried out the infra red causes total confusion and disorientation for the pigeon.

Copyright 1998. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole, in part, in any form or medium, without the express written permission of Steven van Breemen and Hubert Land, is strictly forbidden.

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Steven van Breemen