Pierre Dordin (Harnes, FR) studied the influence of location, wind and mass on the results – part II

A good friend of Dordin was so kind to show me two of Dordin’s notebooks, which include reports, interpretations, commentaries etc. of the studies conducted in the races from Morcenx (8 July ’50), Angouleme (26 June ’51) and Libourne (5 July ’52).

First things first: this memorable, if not historic flight from Morcenx was organised on 8 July ’50.

That was the day when it was scientifically proven for the first time that the main group of pigeons did not cover the distance in a straight line: they did not follow the shortest possible flight line. Their flight line was influenced by several factors. As a result the pigeons flew (a lot) of additional kilometres compared to the number of kilometres calculated by the system that is used today. All the fanciers in the different basketing sites on and along the line of Morcenx-Lille were invited to take part in this national competition. This included the 18th district with Bordeaux (a distance of 90km, 115 pigeons in the race), the 2nd district with Limoges (270km, 143 pigeons in the race), the 11th district with Nantes (410 km, 228 pigeons) and the 9th district with Tours (410km, 494 pigeons in the race) from five departments: Maine & Loire with Angers (distance of 412 km), Deux-Sèevres with Niort, Vienne with Poitiers (distance of 260 km), Indre et Loire with Tours and Inrde with Chateauroux. Maine et Loire and Deux-Sèvres are on the west side of the theoretical flight line; Vienne is located on the line and Loire and Indre are on the east side.
There was also the 10th district with Rennes (460 km, 57 pigeons in the race), the 4th district with Le Mans (470 km, 123 pigeons), the 5th district with Orleans (500 km, 100 pigeons), the 3rd district with Rouen (670 km, 668 pigeons), the 21st district with Paris (620 km, 559 pigeons), the 2nd district with St. Quentin (700 km, 361 pigeons) and also the 1st district with Lille (800 km, 1253 pigeons).

It was great weather that day in France, from early in the morning until late in the evening! These were the perfect conditions for a successful experiment. At 5h40 a group of nearly 5000 pigeons were released in good weather; there was no wind. The number of basketed pigeons that came from the left and the right side of the theoretical flight line was almost equal! The French national meteorological institute provided the following information:

Morcenx     6 hours - no wind
Bordeaux    6 hours - no wind
Limoges     7 hours - no wind
Limoges    10 hours - no wind
Tours      13 hours - slight S.E. wind; 3m/sec
Rouen      13 hours - slight S.S.E.; 2m/sec
Le Bourget 13 hours - no wind
Chartres   13 hours - slight E wind; 3m/sec
Le Bourget 16 hours - slight E wind; 1m/sec
Lille      16 hours - slight S wind; 3m/sec

It could be expected that the west side of the flight line would benefit from the wind (see figure I).

These are the results from the race; you can find the velocity of the first pigeons in each district in column four:

  Bordeaux         90 km   115 pigeons  1169 m.
  Limoges         270 km   142 pigeons  1029 m.
  Nantes          410 km   228 pigeons  1324 m.
  Tours           410 km   494 pigeons  1232 m.
  Rennes          460 km    57 pigeons  1225 m.
  Le Mans         470 km   123 pigeons  1063 m.
  Orieans         500 km   100 pigeons  1007 m.
  Rouen           670 km   608 pigeons  1395 m.
  St. Quentin     700 km   361 pigeons  1108 m.
  Lille (Rijssel) 800 km  1253 pigeons  1143 m.

The commission drew a number of conclusions from these results, on the assumption that every district has good quality pigeons:

1) The commission observed a normal course of events in every district. In Paris, St. Quentain, Lille etc. (the districts the furthest away from the release site) pigeons would arrive home after about two hours.

2) In the regions that are near and on the theoretical flight lines they noticed slightly higher speeds for pigeons that had to cover a longer distance!

   Limoges       200 km   1029 meter
   Chateauroux   300 km   1087 meter
   Tours         400 km   1088 meter
   Orieans       SOO km   1007 meter
   Parijs        600 km   1090 meter
   Amiens        700 km   1108 meter
   Lille         800 km   1143 meter

Pigeons that had to cover 200 km were 114 metres per minute slower than the pigeons that had to cover 800 km in similar conditions!

3) They noticed that the location of the loft gave a significant advantage. The pigeons that came from the locations in the west achieved the highest speeds. The Norman town of Pontorson, located along the canal at the north of Rennes (near Avranches) had 12 pigeons in the top 13 national (!) and 21 pigeons in the top 27. The highest speed was 1395 m. In The Netherlands only pigeons from Middelharnis and Dordrecht have ever been able to achieve that! Rouen is located at the same distance from the release site but it is almost 100 km to the east and their first pigeon arrived almost an hour and twenty minutes later than the first pigeon in Pontorson; it finished in 30th place. Nantes and Rennes are also located on the west site of the flight line but they are closer to the release site in Morcenx. These pigeons reached a speed of 1324 and 1224m respectively. St. Nazaire, located more to the west than Nantes, had a big advantage and they were able to win a lot of prizes.

4) The commission noticed that the influence of the mass, compared to the influence of the location of the release site, is negligible. In Pontorson only 40 pigeons were basketed. 21 pigeons finished in the top 27 in a race with a total of 5,000 pigeons.

5) They noticed the unfavourable location of the districts on the east side of the theoretical flight line from Morcenx-Lille. The pigeons from the easternmost locations reached the lowest speeds: Orleans 1007 m, Chateauroux 1087 m, Limoges 1029 m. 

Click here for part I of this article.