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Alex & Cindy Bieche
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Vacaville Ca. 95688 U.S.A. 

                                                                                                                 Date 8-27-02

Eye Sign    By Alex Bieche 

Just when I thought I would leave the subject of eye sign to rest for a while, I received a book on eye sign as a gift from Ray Noel a good client of mine. Ray Noel of Auburn,Ma along with the book wrote. ď I enjoy your articles on pigeons very much. After reading some of your beliefs on eye sign I was amazed at how close your ideas and beliefs on eye sign are to the author of this book.Ē According to Ray this book is also the only eye sign book written up in the Belgian Duvinsport.  The book itself is very simple and to the point with several excellent pictures of eyes to make the authorís explanations that much simpler. The books title is Reference to Eye sign Evolution In Racing Pigeons.  By Brian Vickers. The author of the book to my surprise dose not mention what country he is from but from some of the words he uses , I would place him in England. The English and Australians in general seem to be very much into eye sign and theories written about them. Since Ray pointed out in his letter that my beliefs on eye sign are very similar to that of the author, Brian Vickers, than let me take the time to explain the 90% of the items or traits that we agree on. To fully explain my thoughts I will also cover the extra 10% that I question because I have not found them to hold true each and every time. We both believe that the biggest downfall with eye sign enthusiasts is that they pay to much attention on eye sign only and forget the other traits that are just as important. So lets begin. To start with, forget about the so-called dust particles, star clusters or sphincter muscle. These traits might be fascinating to look at or even talk about but they are just a waste of time. I have seen good breeders have them but on the other hand I have seen just average pigeons have them as well. Mr. Vickers in his book pays attention to 5 aspects of the eye only. I will list the three that I agree with plus a extra 4th trait that I have also found to be very important in selecting breeders.  No.1 Very very important   The iris of the eye is very important. The iris is the large part of the eye that you look at and also carries the coloring of the eye. Color in general means nothing. Some breeders favor an eye color but again we are dealing with truths. And we know top breeders have been recorded in all eye colors. The iris of all top breeders will have plenty of heavy granulation, contrast or a wavy pilling effect. Without exception, this will hold true each and every time. As a example I will also include the eye picture of our ď De Gommaire cock ď  Sire and Gr. Sire of over 100 winners. His eye shows the iris and circle of correlation that I am talking about. Also very important in your breeding program is to place the correct two birds together. I can guarantee that if neither of the two parents have the type of iris we are talking about than you will breed sub-standard youngsters each and every time. Also your losses will be greatly increased. No.2   The Circle of Correlation. Very very important. This is the circle or ring around the pupil of the eye. All top breeders racing record families have this ring. Wider is not necessarily better, but the ring should be complete. I have visited top lofts of the world and in every case the family as a hole have eyes with excellent circle of correlation. Members of the same family may differ from bird to bird but thatís okay. Only when the circle or band as some may call it. Gets very thin or even worse disappears are you getting into trouble. Thin circle of correlation birds should be matted to a mate with a wider ring. To keep the family strong.  No.3  Very important  The pupil of the eye. It has been attested by top flyers around the world that pigeons having large pupils are more likely to get lost. For this reason it is very important to stay away from these birds, especially if you are into the distance races. A good example. You will never sell a Taiwan pigeon flyer a pigeon having large pupils. Even light colored eyes are in question. Their race courses over water will not allow this type of pigeon to score week after week. Also look for good eye movement and quick pupil dialation.    No.4 The 4th and last trait is very interesting. This trait or tool to look at in many cases is called the 5th ring or last ring in the eye. It can only be seen if you pull back the upper eyelid. This ring looks like a black curved  hair placed under the lid.  You will not find this 5th ring in all pigeons but as we know all pigeons are not all top breeders either. In checking, all top breeders have this last ring. In most cases the wider or thicker the hair like ring the better. I have herd from several sources that Louis Van Loon used this tool in building up his family of pigeons. The first three tools or items covers the

90 % that Brian Vickers and I agree on.  Brian on the other hand places some importance on speed and distance lines in the eye. These lines are both found in the circle of correlation. Distance lines are broken lines. In most cases if found are lines of lighter or darker color running in the same direction as the circle. The speed lines on the other hand are normally broken, lighter colored lines but run parallel to the circle. I do not agree or disagree with the author that these lines play a major part in the selection of breeders. I have personally seen speed lines in top distance birds and also distance lines in speed birds. So, my reasoning still holds true for me. If it is not true each and every time then why use it at all? Especially if it plays such a small part anyway. Giving the speed and distance lines at least some credibility we also know that because many of the top Ace pigeons of the world today are in fact a blend of speed and distance families. It would than also stand to reason that these ace pigeons could have some of  the two lines mentioned. In this case it seems the hand can wave one way or the other. This bothers me. To me this reasoning  muddies up the waters?  In my case I want the picture to be simple and clear. It is so much easier to go to a top distance family or a top  speed family and than select the top breeders from their lofts. Their race records, be it speed or distance have clearly shown they have what you are after. This way there is no guesswork involved. Do be careful. Especially if you are a new flyer. Donít assume that just because you have birds that fly faster speeds that you have a faster pigeon. Always keep in mind tail and head winds. There you have it 4 traits in the eye that work and hold true each and every time. Many will say there is more to eye sign than this. Sorry!!!! I believe not. The simpler the better and you donít even need a eye class to see what youíre looking for. The eye is one of our 6 Common Denominator Tools that we use in grading pigeons worldwide. We are not eye experts by any means. We just know what works for our clients and us. The eye is just one of 6 tools we use and possibly not the most important in selecting world class breeders. Using our grading system we are the only American selector of breeders to date that selected a  Janssen cock for one of  our German clients that later became the Sire of the No.1 Ace pigeon of All Holland 40,000 lofts. 

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