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REAL champions cannot believe it

It was in my younger years when I had to comb the girls out of my raven black hair

that I was in America.

The reason of this visit was pigeons of course and people asked me to grade them.

I told them I could not distinguish the good ones from the bad ones, the only thing that I could was to tell if pigeons were pretty or not.

They were highly surprised.

A champion in Europe who could not say which birds were good and which were bad?

I had disappointed them.

For them it was no problem, they could see it from the eyes.



And one by one they showed me the ' eye lenses'   that they had brought with them and which they used to study the eyes of the birds.

Birds were passed from one fancier to another and they all carefully studied the eyes. After that they gave their opinion. They told each other:

If it was a good racer or not.

If it was a good breeder.

If it was fit for long distance, for dark weather and so on.

I could not believe what I heard and THEY could not believe that I had not brought 'eye lenses' with me.

When I said I even did not have them I saw some of those guys shake their heads.

One of them said 'you simply cannot do without these eye lenses. You cannot believe what you can read in the eyes of a pigeon.'

Though I was in the minority, it was one against all, I decided not to take it any longer and asked the man how many breeders he had.

He did not get the point because he said '35 pairs'.

If you are so sure of yourself when grading birds by the eye why do you keep so many I asked? Just 5 pairs of super breeders would make you one of the best fanciers in the world. Some of the company grinned.



And if you see the pigeon magazines over there it is even worse. 

You can read ads such as the following:

' Offered for sale: 12 pure Stichelbauts. All birds with fantastic eye sign' .


'For the best eye sign birds you have ever seen, there is only one place where to buy birds.'

(Or something like that, since my English is not what it used to be).

And I asked myself how for heaven's sake is this possible?

Americans are such smart people. We owe them so much, they gave the world Internet, gps and so on.

Or are only pigeon fanciers there so na've?'



But as for grading birds by the eyes not only Americans are day dreamers.

There was this mail that I got from a Middle Man from Taiwan.

He wanted me to mate a son of My Ace Four with a granddaughter of Ace Four.

He would pay good money but he had one condition.

The son should have red eyes, the granddaughter should have yellow eyes.

You cannot believe how difficult it was for me to give him a decent answer.

And what do you think about that other Taiwanese?  

He had ordered 10 babies. When they were 5 weeks old he wanted to pay but first he needed to know the colour of their eyes.

I told him I could only tell when they were at least 4 months old.

His reaction was that he had patience!

I did not know if I should feel sorry for him or become angry but he never got the birds. Wait and keep the birds till I knew the colour of the eyes?

Come on!


Such photos you cannot make in Holland or Belgium. What the heck is he looking for one may wonder.


Due to my activities I have contacts with the best ' pigeon vets'  and also scientists who are interested in the pigeon sport.

When I bring up the eyes of pigeons and especially their colour, they unanimously say (that means without even one exception):THAT MEANS NOTHING AT ALL !!

Why do many foreigners think they can see quality in the eyes I sometimes wonder.

- Can you see in the eyes of a dog if he is a good watchdog?

- Can you see in the eyes of a horse if he is a good race horse?

- Can you see in the eyes of a canary if it is a good singer?

- And can you see in the eyes of a human if he is a good boxer, a good biker, tennis or soccer player?

Would pigeons be an exception?

Come on.



What matters for pigeons is:

- Soft feathers.

- Strong bones that make a strong body.

- The capacity to breathe twice as normal (think about birds that fly).

- Orienteering.

- Natural health.

- The ability to give their good qualities to their descendants.

- Stamina.

Can these things be seen in the eyes of a pigeon?

Once again: Come on!



Of course I also look at the eyes whenever I handle a pigeon but don' ' t ask me what I am looking for.

I just would not know what to answer.

But there are some things that I like and other things that I do NOT like.

I do not like a big pupil.

I do not like eyes that seem to look backward.

I do not like eyes that are not shiny, shiny eyes reflect a good health.

It is very hard to describe how but sometimes I think that I can read a kind of smartness in the eyes.

But do not talk about the colour or eye sign, I find it all LOL and I am not the only one who thinks so. Scientifically it is based on nothing either.