Up To 10,000 Prize Pigeons Mysteriously Disappear During Race

by : Daniel Richardson on : 25 Jun 2021 18:08
PA Images

Between 5,000 and 10,000 pigeons disappeared during a 170-mile race across Britain. 

The pigeons were travelling from Peterborough to the North East of England as part of a race on Saturday, June 19. Unfortunately, an estimated 40% of contestants didn’t return to their owners in an incident described as ‘one of the very worst racing days in our history.’


Some pigeon owners have said a ‘solar storm above the clouds’ could be the reason for the missing pigeons. They believe that storm may have disorientated the birds and, as a result, the return of the pigeons has been delayed.

Pigeon (PA Images)PA Images

With the birds facing difficulty returning home, Richard Sayers, based in Skinningrove, North Yorkshire, appealed to people to give the pigeons food and drink if they arrive at their houses.

Despite concerns, it now seems that more birds are returning to their owners. Sayers told MailOnline:


I’d like to think the number missing today is a lot less and it should get a lot less over the next few days.

Pigeons are actually very clever if they do get tired and into difficulty they’ll find another pigeon loft where they can rest up and the people there will take care of them.

Then when they’re fit enough and healthy enough, they will liberate them to return home. We would hope that by perhaps this time next week all of them should be home.

pigeon racing (PA Images)PA Images

Ian Evans, CEO of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) noted, ‘We became aware quite quickly that something very unusual was happening on Saturday.’

Evans also discussed the rarity of the incident:


I’m 45 and have kept pigeons since I was nine years of age and I have never heard of anything like this, it was extremely unusual and is a real mystery.

On the face of it the weather conditions across the country were good, there was nothing to suggest that any birds would struggle to get home.

But in the events thousands of birds simply didn’t return and as yet are still to return, which of course is a concern to the owners and breeders.

Evans went on to emphasise the scale of the issue, saying that it ‘wasn’t just in this country either, we’ve had reports of heavy losses in Portugal and in Belgium as well.’

The RPRA has now contacted the MET Office to see if specialised reports can be developed that monitor magnetic fields in future for pigeon races.

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. These included the likes of The Hook, WhatCulture and Game Rant. Eventually, Dan found a home for his journalism at UNILAD.

Topics: Animals, Europe, Now, Race, UK


Daily Mail
  1. Daily Mail

    10,000 pigeons VANISH during 170-mile race from Peterborough to North Yorkshire - as breeders fear birds were confused by 'solar storm above clouds'