- If you are in the AU Southwest Zone
and would like some matter brought up during the Board meeting for consideration,
you will need a BOARD ACTION REQUEST FORM. You can contact
the AU office:
Phone number: 405-848-5801
Fax number: 405-848-5888.
- MEXICO 2007 ~ XXI Convencion Nacional
The Mexican Federation has announced the dates and location for the
convention......it well be held in the city of Leon,
Mexico. Check the Convention page for more details. ANYONE INTERESTED
- Solar Activity Effects on Pigeons How do pigeons
Racing homing pigeons navigate incredible distances with apparent ease.
A champion racing pigeon can be released 400 miles from its home loft,
in a place it has never been before, and return within 1 day. The last
40 miles of its journey, the bird navigates by sight. But over the other
360 miles, the pigeon determines its way home by "sensing" the Earth's
magnetic fields. We are not yet sure exactly how this mechanism works,
but it does work -- extremely well. How can the Sun affect racing pigeons?
When there is especially strong activity on the Sun, such as a Coronal
Mass Ejection (CME), unusually strong surges of solar wind (charged
particles from the Sun) can create a geomagnetic storm which distorts
the Earth's normal magnetic field. The pigeons can no longer rely on
their normal guidance system and may become lost. Thus wise pigeon racers,
especially those in very northern areas, keep track of solar activity
and do not fly their birds under certain geomagnetic conditions. How
do we measure geomagnetic activity? Geomagnetic activity is measured
by what we call the 'A' Index, which ranges from 0 to 400 Nanoteslas
(nT), a measurement of the strength of a magnetic field. 0 indicates
virtually no geomagnetic disturbance, while 400 is the maximum disturbance.
Another useful number is the "K" index, which tracks changes in the
radio atmosphere and can affect pigeon navigation. The K index ranges
from zero (no disturbance) to 9 in a maximum disturbance. What levels
of geomagnetic activity are dangerous for pigeons? Any current reading
of local figures over 150 nT in the A index of geomagnetic activity,
or 4 or higher in 'K' index, is considered unsafe for training or racing
pigeons. Where can pigeon racers and fliers get solar activity data?
13 geomagnetic stations track geomagnetic activity around the Earth.
Their readings are freely available. The center of these activities
in the USA is the Space Environment Center at Boulder, Colorado. There
are other data centers in various parts of the world. Because the Earth's
geomagnetic field emanates from the poles, the affects are more dramatic
in the far north and far south. Thus pigeon racers need to rely on local
data, that is, data that accurately represents the state of the geomagnetic
field in their particular geographical location. Pigeon fanciers can
pick up either "a" index (equivalent amplitude index of local geomagnetic
activity) or "K" index (quasi-logarithmic local index of geomagnetic
activity relative to an assumed quiet-day curve for the recording site).
Because the indices are related, one can be computed from the other;
Any current reading of local figures over 150 nT in the A index of geomagnetic
activity, or 4 or higher in 'K' index, is considered unsafe for training
or racing pigeons. a-index data (Boulder & several other sites) K-indices
(Boulder) Both indices are necessarily tied to a specific geomagnetic
observatory. The above data represent collections and averages. For
other regions, you can obtain data from SIDC (click on the "Latest Space
Weather data) or directly from your nearest site. Where can I get more
information? Geomagnetic Activity and its Effect on Racing Pigeons --------------------------------------------------------------------------------