My impressions on orientation

It is a known fact that most pigeon fanciers are always grumbling and displeased with what faces them. This observation is a timely one, and to convince oneself, one only has to go to the clubhouse at the time the clocks are being brought in to be checked.

This procedure is never a quiet and orderly one. . . it is at such a time that most fanciers are bewailing their hard luck.. . the bird lost time dropping to the
loft. .. it came « from the back ». . . and so forth. Various causes are found for this, such as the influence of the « drag », or the wrong
direction of the wind !
To the above objections, one remark alone may be made, which covers the entire situation. . . Such pigeons were simply lost... they did not take the right direction... they could not find their bearings... or, they were entered into the race in poor condition !
Those birds that took the wrong direction for a while, usually return home after the prizes. One may then assume, had they come in from the correct direction, they could have been included among the prize winners. What may be concluded, from all of the remarks made when the clocks are brought in, on race-day ? That the result of the race more or less will depend on the birds taking the right direction right from the start of the race, rather than the actual velocity flown. There can be no doubt that the races are more regular with clear skies, little wind, and normal weather. Should the success of a race be dependant solely on the percentage of the prize money taken by one particular section or another ? This has been discussed time and again, and no true decision has ever been reached in the matter. It appears to us that all of this is closely tied in with the ability of the pigeon to orientate itself properly, in relation to the state of the weather it meets along the course of the race. Surely, with strong winds and a disturbed atmosphere, the ability to orientate properly plays an important role in the results.
A bird that is basketted in the best possible physical condition, and which has the ability to orientate itself correctly and quickly, must come in as a winner, and without appearing tired - even with adverse winds ! Let us establish at this time, that its ability to orientate properly and rapidly can only be fully developed if the bird enjoys perfect health and is in full possession of its mental strength. It is a know fact that the faster the velocity, the greater number of pigeons will be seen
wandering off their line of flight. These birds simply cannot use their ability to orientate properly because they were not in the right condition, at the time they were liberated. We may conclude from this that, in a fast race, a bird which is in poor condition stands a good chance of getting lost on the way. Had such a bird been on the right course, it might have easily finished in the prizes - but because of the mistake it made, in orienating itself correctly, it will be late in timing in.

Of course, a pigeon that makes such a mistake has to fly a longer distance and these extra minutes will represent the longer voyage to be travelled. It is only natural that one feels disappointment, when one sees a bird coming in from the wrong direction, especially when one had been sure that the bird had been basketted in the best of condition for the event.
One often forgets that a bird may lose its condition in the race-basket; it may also lose this condition on the way home ! The condition of a bird at any given time may swing to « good » or « bad », and the reason for the bird losing its way is to be attributed to the fact that the bird's condition was not all it might have been. It is very likely that all pigeons that finish in the prizes are to be thankful for their condition and form at the end of the contest. Good pigeons in posses-ion of all their faculties come to the front in all winds and weather, whether they fly as a group or not. Still, we must accept the fact that when the wind is against them, the ability to orientate correctly and swiftly is the only reason for their success. Will-power and stamina always play a great role in reducing the time required for the distance to be covered.

Head winds will seldom cause a bird to home from the wrong direction, in view of the fact that when the race is flown with a head wind, as a rule the birds will come in on course. The very opposite is true when the wind happens to be a « tail-wind »... the birds will fly in a bunch and here the chances to capture a prize are very limited. It would not be the same in a race where we have head winds, since the prizes then will be won at regular intervals because the birds are all coming in from the same direction. We must always note that it is the most gifted and best conditioned birds that will arrive home first. They possess more initiative, more will-power and more stamina, and in view of the fact that they will all come in from the same direction, one may conclude that they made no mistake in orientating properly.
At this time, perhaps we should point out that a low-flying pigeon will face more risk, since it will not always see its obstacles in time to avoid them. It has been established that some birds will come in from one direction and others from an entirely different direction, in accordance with the winds and the unevenness of the ground over which they are flying. It has also been observed that if a flock of birds is flying home according to the wind direction and the ground covered is somewhat flat, then this group will have a tendency to spread out, and become endlessly long. This « stringing out » will occur because some pigeons feel more at ease with a head wind, than others.
As a result, the distance will thus be greater in proportion to the actual distance to be covered between the point of liberation and the loft.
From the discussion above, it can easily be seen that the wind sometimes will have an influence on the wandering of some birds, which may be in a conditional decline for a short time ; under these circum they will turn in. In such cases, one may say that the ability to orienstances, they should not be held responsible for the unfortunate results, fate is probably to blame, since it may be missing completely or not abie to adapt itself to the flying velocity ; this will naturally give rise
to those mistakes made during the race.
Those birds which arrive home after the prizes have all been won, had enough speed, but their best came to nothing because they were not in the correct condition in which they could orientate themselves properly.