Pigeons are disappearing in their droves in an area of Yorkshire dubbed the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of the racing world.
Unprecedented numbers of racing pigeons are mysteriously disappearing from the skies above much of Harrogate and Ripon, never to be seen again.
Pigeon fanciers are baffled by the strange phenomenon, some blaming Menwith Hill for interfering with the birds’ ‘homing beacons’.
“We call it the Bermuda Triangle because something always seems to happen,” one fancier told the national press.
“I won’t be racing there again.”
At one event earlier this month, only 13 out of 232 birds released at Thirsk returned to their coops in Scotland. At another, 200 out of 1,000 disappeared.
The ‘Bermuda Triangle’ stretches from Wetherby to Thirsk to Consett. Birds are blowing off course, some getting lost while others, it is believed, are attacked by “raptors” such as peregrine falcons and sparrowhawks.
As reported previously, a bird from Aberford was found 4,500 miles across the Atlantic in July. Henry, an 18-month old racing pigeon released by Fred Lock in Lille in May, is believed to have caught a ship to Barbados where he was found by a woman from Cleethorpes.
Earlier this month, a pigeon turned up at a house in Rossett Holt Grove, making himself so comfortable he would peck on resident John Copeland’s window at mealtimes.
Stuart Fawcett, of the North of England Homing Union, said the conspiracy theorists were running riot.
“I doubt science has advanced so far that interference from Menwith Hill only affects Scottish pigeons,” he said.
“I think maybe the warm weather isn’t just affecting the pigeons’ brains.”
Poor weather is more likely to have been the main culprit, he said, adding that “raptors” play a part.
“The Scottish birds were on their first race,” he added. “They are the Matt le Tissier of the pigeon world. Great playing for Southampton but not so great on the England stage.”