Number: AU 330
Last Revision: 7-10-07
Introduction: It is our members’
responsibility to maintain the health, well being
and safety of our racing pigeons at all times.
Weather, sun, and the geomagnetic fields of the
earth all play a role in how our birds navigate,
and those forces such as wind, rain, fog, solar
activity and geomagnetic disturbances may impact
our birds’ ability to return home.
following guidelines are provided to help race
committees and liberators make informed race
decisions n order to prevent loss of pigeons.
Releases depend on
race/distance, air quality, humidity and winds:
It is strongly recommended to check the weather
along the flight line for signs of any storms or
temperatures are forecast for the course, the
pigeons should be released as early in the
morning as possible. Since temperature/humidity
ranges differ for different parts of the
country, specific temperature levels are not
defined and left to the liberator’s decision.
Winds can be associated with weather fronts,
storms and tide changes. Releasing in
excessive wind conditions should be avoided.
Pigeons are known
to use the sun as a navigational aid.
Therefore, if it is cloudy, a bright spot in the
clouds that indicates where the sun is should
always be visible before a release.
It is also
recommended that for releases, a ground
visibility of at least three (3) miles be
present, with a cloud ceiling of at least 1000
ft. Other factors affecting visibility are:
High clouds are
acceptable as long as a bright spot indicating
the sun’s position is visible. Caution should
always be used in “solid” overcast conditions.
May indicate a
pending storm or storm front moving into area.
Check weather along flight path.
Fog, or haze:
Hold release until
the fog burns off or until ground visibility and
the sun are visible.
Smoke and ash can
have an adverse affect on the pigeon’s eyes,
throat and lungs. Releasing pigeons in smoky
conditions should always be avoided.
Rain, Snow and Hail:
permitted in light mist, scattered showers or
light snow, providing visibility is at least
three (3) miles and the weather is clear or
clearing along the flight path.
Attempt to keep the
racing birds from flying into severe weather
en-route. Check forecasts from reporting
stations along the line of flight at the time
the birds are expected to be passing through.
Try to avoid having the birds encounter heavy
rain or snow, thunderstorms, electrical storms,
hail, high winds, fog, smoke, and other similar
never be released during any weather alerts
anywhere along the flight path or if a pending
storm front is moving into the flight line.
Hold birds, return
them, or release short if clear. Examples of
severe weather conditions which Racing Pigeons
should never be released in are:
The sun is a very
important navigational tool for our pigeons.
Solar storms affect the earth’s geomagnetic
fields, which can have an adverse affect on the
birds. During times of increased solar activity
caution should be used.
It is recommended
that birds should not be released at the
beginning of any geographic structure such as
mountains or lakes that could interfere with the
It is the
responsibility of the AU organization to ensure
that the vehicle or transportation being used to
transport race birds be in good usable and safe
condition; both from a mechanical standpoint and
being secure and comfortable for the birds.
These transportation standards should be met for
should allow Young birds a minimum of 42 square
inches per bird, 45 for old hens, and 48 per old
Cock. For two day races, recommended minimums
are 52 square inches per old hen and 64 per old
Upon arrival at the
release point, it is recommended liberation
should allow at least one hour of “rest” prior
to releasing the birds. This allows the birds
time to rest, drink water and calm down.
In no event should birds be released before
sunrise. The AU recommends birds be held until
30 minutes or more after sunrise.
The liberator must
always have feed available in case of holdover.
The birds should be fed at least once a day.
Water should be kept in front of them, including
on the day of release.
Transport should be constructed to allow for
good ventilation, feeding, and watering of the
birds. It is recommended, for health
reasons, that water and feeding be administered
from outside, at the rear of the crate, where
recommended that the person releasing the
pigeons at the release have no
birds in the race, or should have an additional
person to help
“witness” the release.
It is recommended that the birds be watered and
fed on any two-day transportation-long distance
race. On overnight, next morning releases, the
birds should be watered prior to release.
Crates should be
constructed in a way to allow proper ventilation
without significant or adverse heat gain to
occur when fully loaded.
The race schedule,
including procedures for changes, shall be
established at a regular or special meeting, per
rule 5.01. (Rule 5.01 The race schedule,
including dates, race stations, closing of
races, shipping times, shipping limits and
procedures for changes, shall be established at
a regular or special business meeting.)
It is recommended that all AU organizations
maintain an official race committee, chaired by
the Race Secretary and no less then two (2)
other members, to mediate race problems and to
backup Race Secretary duties.
Monitoring Race Conditions:
To eliminate most weather concerns, the Race
Liberator and Race Secretary should take
advantage of as many of the aids that monitor
weather conditions as possible, prior to the
race. Satellite weather maps, Flight services,
Department of Transportation web cams, and
Government weather and Solar web sites all have
current up to date information available to