We could write volumes about clouds, their types, their names and their purpose. There are 15 different types of clouds that we know of. Much of what we could write would be of no interest or benefit to pigeon fanciers. For example, we could write about a type of cloud called a contrail. This is the short form for a condensation trail. It is caused by condensed vapour that is produced by jet aircraft. It is of no interest to pigeon fanciers as it does not affect the performance of racing pigeons. What is important to pigeon fanciers is cloud level. This is what we will concern ourselves with. All clouds are composed of drops of water or ice crystals.
There are three cloud levels that are important to pigeon fanciers. They are:
1. "High Level Clouds" which are called according to type, Cirrus, Cirrocumulus or Cirrostratus.
2. "Mid Level Clouds" which are called Altocumulus or Altostratus.
3. "Low Level Clouds" which are called Cumulus, Stratocumulus and Stratus.
High level clouds are usually around or above 6000 meters. Because of the cold temperatures at this height, these clouds are usually light and white or ice coloured. When there are patches of blue sky visible amoung these clouds, conditions for pigeon racing can be ideal. These clouds usually move from west to east across the sky and can be an indicator that warmer weather is moving in.
Mid level clouds are similar to the high level clouds except for the altitude. These clouds are between 2500 and 6000 meters and may be accompanied by light rain. These conditions are normally very good for pigeon racing. These clouds may also indicate weather changes as they build up ahead of an approaching storm.
Low level clouds are usually below 2500 meters. They can be light or heavy. Normally the heavier they are the darker they appear. They can be accompanied by light or heavy rain, thunder and lightning and strong winds. When these clouds are heavy they can block out the sun and moon and prevent the navigational elements from coming through. These elements are required by the species for navigational purposes, without them they become lost flying aimlessly until they get tired and fall by the wayside. These conditions are one of the causes of smash races. The "Stratus" cloud is the lowest cloud one will find. Anywhere there is an accumulation of moisture or a body of water, fog can develope. This fog is in fact cloud at ground level. When it lifts it becomes a "Stratus cloud". Unless it quickly disperses and exposes blue sky it will be disasterous for pigeon racing. Please See Inversion. Note.
Farmers and fishermen have a good understanding of the readings they can obtain from the clouds. It is on these readings many base their daily activities. Pigeon fanciers and race liberators should learn to read the clouds because pigeons in their care have got to rely on the decisions they make.
Copyright 1998. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole, in part, in any form or medium, without the express written permission of Steven van Breemen and Hubert Land, is strictly forbidden.