‘Worst ever racing day’ - Over 9,000 racing pigeons disappear mid-race

Around 10,000 racing pigeons disappeared in Cambridgeshire after leaving Peterborough on Saturday, June 19.

Around 10,000 racing pigeons disappeared in Cambridgeshire after leaving Peterborough on Saturday, June 19. - Credit: PA

Pigeon keepers have been left baffled after around 10,000 birds vanished into thin air above Cambridgeshire during a weekend race.  

The birds, many based in the North East of England, left Peterborough on Saturday, June 19 and never arrived at the finish line.  

One pigeon fancier described the ordeal as “the very worst ever racing days in our history” after thousands of birds were reported missing.  

Richard Sayers of Sayers Bros & Son from Skinningrove in the East Cleveland Federation said: “Out there is tens of thousands of racing pigeons.” 

4,465 pigeons belonging to members of the Barnsley Federation of Racing Pigeons are released at Wick

“I have never heard of anything like this," said the Royal Pigeon Racing Association. - Credit: PA

“[They] are tired and lost, the static atmospheric conditions are more than likely to blame and resulted in the majority not finding their way home. 


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“There’s a chance someone reading this will have one land in their garden or work place if you do then please don’t ignore it.” 

Mr Sayers, who has lost around 40 per cent of his birds in the puzzling event, has given guidance online to anyone who may find one of the pigeons.  

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“Put down a bowl of water and some seed or rice to help it on its way, you’ll know it’s a race bird as it will have rings around its feet,” he said. 

“If you’re unsure what to do, then message or call me and I’ll advise. 

“If you can contain it, I’ll gladly call round to try and get them back to the rightful owners. 

“We needed our little birds help in the major conflicts and they saved 1000s of lives, now we can do our little bit to help them.” 

Ian Evans, of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, told The Sun newspaper: “We became aware quite quickly that something very unusual was happening. 

A racing pigeon arrives at a coop complex in Wombwell, South Yorkshire, as pigeon racing beats snook

One pigeon fancier described the ordeal as “the very worst ever racing days in our history". - Credit: PA

“I have never heard of anything like this. 

“On the face of it the weather conditions were good. But in the event, thousands of birds simply didn’t return. 

“Something happened that disrupted their navigational abilities. We believe it may have had something to do with solar wind activity.” 

Mr Evans added: “It wasn’t just in this country either, we’ve had reports of heavy losses in Portugal and in Belgium as well.” 

“We are obviously hoping that the majority of these birds find their way home given time.” 

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