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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read on many online sites, how a white spot on the rump of a racing pigeon tends to increase the birds chances of not being taken by predator birds. I wasn't really thinking about this in connection with my birds until today when I was out back and just watching my birds bath.

Here is what I am referring too: I started the season with 50 young birds. Most given to me by fellow club members. It consisted of 17 Blue Bars, 12 grizzles, three whites, 1 red check and 17 blue checks.

After participating in a total of seven races, here is what I have left:

9 Blue Bars (eight of which have a white spot on their rump), 1 red check, 1 grizzle (mostly black), and two blue check (one light check almost a blue bar, and one dark check).

I believe the percentages would break down as follows for the surviving colors:

100% for the red checks (one "lucky" bird). Less than 10% for the grizzles. 0% for the whites. Approximately 15% for the Blue Checks. Better than 50% for the Blue Bars (although I do not know how many of the 17 I started with had white spots on their rumps, I do know that 8 of the surviving 9 have such spots).

One loft. One flyer. Lots of variables. Not scientific. But interesting.
 

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color has nothing to do with it, it is how many or less that many, of a color you will run out of first.... which will be the slow ones or ones in the wrong place at the wrong time, they just happen to be white or grizzle or blue check. If I went by your formula I would not have any birds left, they are all white and I have 25 of the original 30 from over a year ago. I knew of a white fantail mix that lived for 4 years out 24/7 with alot of other pigeons in a rual area with hawks, before he was caught and sold to a good home
 

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You would have to have the sample size for any scientific and done in a controlled environment. But for fun, what the heck.

As far as whites go, for old bird season, I had three whites, one cock and two hens. All clocked in the races I entered them into. Therefore I could state 100% returns for the whites color in my loft, and belive it was a lot less for the BB, BC, RC, GRZZ, etc.

I dont think the color has a much to do with the number lost or not lost.
 

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Oh by the way, the reason you don’t see many withes in the wild is that, white is a recessive gene and once crossed with a colored pigeon, the changes of a pure white is almost null, not that they are easy targets. A easy target for a predator is the young or weak.
 

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Predators seem to be attracted to those who stick out the most. Whether that's a black pigeon in a flock of whites or a white pigeon in a flock of blues. Or a young bird with adults, or sick with healthy. Or the favorite - slow bird with faster ones, haha :p
 

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It's easier to spot a black dot on a white piece of paper just like spotting a white dot on a black piece of paper.
 

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Are there any facts to back up this or is it just a theory? I think about skittles and what is your favorite one that you always eat first. I always choose the red ones first and so do most people that I know. What if the color of choice for the predators are white. Maybe white looks more delicious and tasty. IDK. I believe that blue is the color of choice for racing. Blue is more common. Sorry if I insult anyone, buts It's what I think only.
 

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FACT: Predators exist to weed out the weak, the old, and the sick. This is why the predator populations are a direct correlation to the prey population. Color has little to do with it, also the assumption is you lost the birds to predators, when in truth we do not know what happen to the birds.

Personally, I would breed the red check with the fastest blue bars. They show the best, "homing" ability. Also Whites are bred more for color and less for homing. This is why most White releases do not release their birds pass 50 mile radius. There are exceptions to this rule. Timber is one of them.

God Bless,
Tony
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Y'all are taking my posting wrong. I did not state it was my method or formula. I just made an observation of what occurred with MY pigeons.

I also referenced that there are several sites that refer to scientific studies related to ascertaining if pigeons other than whites or grizzles, that have white rumps, seem to fair better with predators. The studies suggest that they do. That is a fact. It is not MY fact. It is a hypothesis stated by those that did the studies.

I can look up the links for you if you desire. I believe the studies were done by a University, but I do not remember which.

In the reference to MY pigeons, I did not make any claims nor assumptions. I simply stated what is what. I started with blah and blah, and ended up with blah and blah. I con not state the causes for all of my birds that never came home. I have had them come home with thier electronic bands removed (meaning they went into someone elses loft and the band was "stolen"), and I have had one come home with buckshot from a shotgun in it. I had a neighbor call me and tell me that he saw one of my birds actually fly right into the side of a moving vehicle, and I recovered the dead pigeon where my neighbor said it was.

I make no assumptions and no claims concerning color of racers and the effects on predators. Others have made the claims. Not me. A simple Google search will provide you with those claims by others.

Sometimes people type before they read and comprehend what they read.

I do believe that the evidence shows that birds of prey will target the weak and the young first and formost. If none are there at that feeding time, then they will target whatever is easy to "lock on to", such as one bird in a group of birds, that stands out colorwise or otherwise. So yes, a black bird in a flock of white birds would fit that bill.

It is undisputed knowledge amongst veteran flyers, that whites more often than non whites, are targeted by predators. One could suppose that it is because there are fewer whites overall, in the pigeon polulations of most of us, and of the ferals. Which makes them the "oddball" in the flock and possibly more likely to be targeted, just because they are easier for a bird of prey to "lock on" and follow amid many other pigeons.
 

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could well have something to do with the breeding too though, if most of one colour came from one line etc. It would make sense that in a given area some of the less common coloured birds are quite closely related and have inherited their racing ability along with their colour
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I did a quick Google search and here is one link that addresses my point. There are others. I will copy and past here, the pertinent parts of the link, so that you do not have to actually go to the link.

"When aerial menace zooms in from behind, the feral pigeon does what a dove's got to do - it shows the white feather and stands a better chance of getting clean away, US scientists say.
Albert Palleroni of Harvard University and three colleagues report in Nature today that they set out to solve the puzzle of the white patch often found on the rump of the feral pigeon Columbia livia.

In seven years the researchers recorded 1,485 attacks by five adult peregrine falcons on flocks of feral pigeons flying around Davis, California. They also observed 309 attacks by juveniles. They made a note of the plumage of the luckless target.

And they found that whether the peregrines were at the peak of their powers, or still on a learning curve, the result was the same. Only one dead pigeon in 50 had a set of white feathers on its rump.

The scientists reasoned that the white patch might be an evolutionary adaptation that helped its inheritor to live longer and procreate more. Falcons swoop with fearsome speed: the fastest have been clocked at 157 metres a second - around 320mph.

So they tested the idea by capturing 756 white-rumped and blue-grey pigeons and swapping their plumage coloration. They then released the birds again, and monitored the kill rate of three particular peregrines.

Those birds who could no longer show the white feather fell victim to peregrine strike as often as the blue-coloured pigeons, while the newly whitened showed a much increased ability to survive.

No pigeon can out fly a falcon. They escape by aerobatics. The white patch somehow distracts the peregrine.

The peregrine falcon almost disappeared from large areas of its range 40 years ago, but has slowly been making a comeback. As more falcons begin to cull the pigeons in modern cities, the US scientists argue, an increasing proportion of their prey will start to show the white feather.

Some fanciers also reported very good results through painting the underside of the wing and the side of the body normally covered by the wing with red ink. This red flashing is thought to confuse the predator with the result that he pursues other prey in preference. The mechanism with which this is accomplished appears to be similar to the study reported in "Nature".

Early results regarding the playing of Uhu sounds are in: Uhu sounds are just as useless as
the reflective ball and the flashing light."

The link:
http://www.albertaclassic.net/hawks/hawks.php
 
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