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THE WAR These birds were also couriers during the European conflict and might properly wear service stripes as well as stars. They, like many other Homing Pigeons, were entrusted with vital messages which they carried successfully throughout artillery barrage and machine-gun fire from the front-line trenches to headquarters during history-making offensives (see text, pages 86, 87, 91, and 92).

a trumpeter at practice with a low-pitched nas (said to come in sixty or more colhorn. There is another variety, now al- ors), and numerous others. most extinct, called the Laugher, whose Fancy pigeons mate like the Homers cooing resembles a human chuckle. and, as a rule, are good parents. The

short-faced birds, however, need assistSHORT-FACED PIGEONS REQUIRE

ance to bring up their young, and unless "WET NURSES”

"wet nurses” are provided, valuable It is impossible to describe all the va- youngsters may be lost. Fanciers who rieties of fancy pigeons seen at shows. like several varieties can solve this probThere is, for example, the great class of lem by transferring the eggs from shortGerman toys, with more than twenty sub- faced to long-faced birds and vice versa, varieties, including Swallows (see Color for the short-faces, while apparently unPlate X), Frill Backs (whose feathers able to rear their own young, are able to grow the reverse of those of all other feed those with longer beaks. birds), Helmets (see Color Plate IV), If a fancier belongs to a pigeon club, and Priests. There are the Magpies (see he marks his birds with a registered seamColor Plate XII), beautiful birds with less band, which is placed on one leg when wild magpie coloring, only richer; the the baby pigeon is about five days old. Hungarians, parti-colored birds bred for Pigeons are exhibited as youngsters and centuries; the Mookees, Snabians, Shera- as old birds. Some, such as Carriers, jees, Chinese Dewlaps, Starlings, Mode- Barbs, and Orientals, do not appear at

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their best until they are from three to five mother gave two young, both silvers and
years old. Others, such as Pouters and both hens.
Fantails, coarsen with age.

One of those hens has yet to be beaten
In England pigeons are judged both in in the showroom, and last season one of
their single coops and in walking pens, her sons was a champion silver and a
and are marked on the double showing. grandson won first in his class.
In the United States only the walking pen In 1919 the process of inbreeding con-
is used. In this every bird has to display tinued, the old hen being remated to her
himself before the judges, just as a horse son, who had produced two silver hens,
or dog performs in the tanbark ring. and the better young silver hen to her

blue half-brother, who was also her uncle. THE FAMILY TREE OF A SILVER-COLORED

These matings resulted in all silvers, both

cocks and hens. Since then these birds
Up to ten years ago, American Fantail have been inbred, line bred, and out-
breeders had striven in vain for good crossed (but only on the original family
silver-colored birds. In 1916 a pair of my of blues), and to-day the silvers are
blue Fantails hatched a beautifully colored among the best in my large family of
silver sport, which, upon maturity, proved Fantails.
to be a hen. The next season the parents My success in producing this winning
were remated, but produced only ordinary strain of silvers was due to several fac-
young and no silvers. Then a mating be- tors. One was the abandonment of the
tween the young silver hen and a blue original parents and failure to use the old
cock of good type and light color gave me blue father with his silver daughter. An-
two blue youngsters, both cocks. The fol- other was that, thanks to a brother fan-
lowing year a mating of the better-colored cier, the very best blues of that time were
of these two young cocks back to his obtained for use. A third factor was that

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KING GEORGE'S PIGEON LOFT AT SANDRINGHAM, ENGLAND It is feeding time and the birds are waiting for the dining hall doors” to open. Although the Old World's love of pigeons goes back to prehistoric times, these birds were not used as couriers until the First Crusade, wlien Christian commanders found the Saracens employing them to convey information.

mere perversity caused me to reject com- reds, blacks, and checkers, but no yellows; pletely the stock scientific formula that red saddlebacks have given not only reds yellow mated to blue would give silver. and blacks, but pure whites.

The offspring produced by this experi- Last year, in an effort to improve blue ment were not only numerous after the saddles, a mating between a saddle cock second year, but of high quality and re- with a solid-blue hen gave a pure-white sulted in fine silver males which to-day, if youngster which proved good enough to bred to blues, produce more silver than

win at a Fantail club meet. blue youngsters.

The question naturally arises as to what Regressions constantly appear in the one is to do with these sports and throwbest of pigeon families. A strain of blue backs. If they are outstanding in good Fantails first utilized ten years ago has quality, they should be kept and bred, been bred ever since, with only two out- as they possess dominant natures and will, crosses, one on silver and the other on as a rule, influence their descendants for white. All of these birds were clean- years to come. If bad, even though unlegged, as Fantails are supposed to be;

usual, they should be killed, for breeding yet last season an excellent young blue

from an inferior causes birds to deteriohen with grouse-feathered feet appeared.

rate. Also, Fantails are supposed to have fine

PIGEONS FOR PIE smooth heads, with no sign of peak or crest, but a pair of birds whose ancestry Pigeons are good to eat, and if one was known for more than five generations breeds only from the best, there are cerproduced a crested Fan.

tain to be plenty for the pot. With regard to breeding for color, There are several varieties of pigeons yellow saddleback birds have produced bred mainly for the table, including Runts



VISITOR: LONDON These birds, as internationally famous as those of Saint Mark's in Venice, are now in disgrace. Their continual pecking at the mortar between the stones of the cathedral has endangered the safety of the portico of the building, and city authorities plan to destroy all except a few, which, for reasons of sentiment, will be allowed to retain their old lofts. Since Parliament has long protected these pigeons, a special act is necessary before their numbers can be legally reduced.

(the largest of all pigeons and one of the those operated by workmen as a side issue, oldest), Carneaux, Kings, Mondaines (see after regular hours, or one-man plants Color Plate VII), and Working Homers. where the owner does all of his own work.

The French were the first to rear squabs Labor and building costs are so high that for culinary purposes, but within the last the expense of additional help and hous25 years squab-breeding has spread over ing above the one-man-plant size is althe world.

most prohibitive. The young pigeon is heavier at four Not all lovers of pigeons are so situated weeks, when it is just ready to leave the that they can exhibit their birds; but while nest, than at any later period of its life. It the showroom and race course provide the is fat and soft and makes one of the finest final test of a breeder's accomplishments, delicacies served to-day, being especially one's real pleasure and lasting delight are good for convalescents and children. to be found among the birds in the loft. Squab breeders work the year round and Formal exhibitions are soon over, but are not separated in winter, as are the one's own aviary furnishes a constant disfancy and racing birds. If not crowded, play of beauty and affection, and the they produce from 10 to 14 young yearly. fancier's presence is always welcomed

The most profitable squab plants are most heartily by his feathered friends.


The National Geographic Society to Maintain a Solar Station in a Remote Part of the World to Coöperate with Smithsonian Institution Stations in

California and Chile



IDING, one day, between Salt Lake Besides charming us in the rainbow,

and Los Angeles, my newly met seat- the sunset, and the blue of the sky, sun

mate, learning that my business is rays keep the earth warm enough to live to observe the heat of the sun, said that They maintain the inimitable chemhe did not believe the sun is hot. “For," ical processes by which plants grow; dissaid he, “the higher one goes on a moun

till into the clouds all of the ocean water tain or in a balloon, the colder it gets." that comes to us as rain;* cause all the

What would you say to that? Plausi- weather; and, when we get wise enough, ble, isn't it? The secret is the same as they will furnish us a trillion horsepower that which keeps a windowpane cold. If for mechanical, electrical, and heating you sit inside the room in the sun, your purposes, if we need so much power by black coat and your shoes soon become that time. very warm, while the windowpane, through No wonder that "Uncle Joe" Cannon which the sunbeam comes, keeps its win- once said in the Appropriations Committry chill.

tee of Congress: “I don't care so much Sun rays are not heat. They are of about the stars that are so far away that another form of energy which we call if they were all abolished to-night our radiation. It is a wave motion, like radio great-grandchildren would never know waves, only enormously shorter in wave- the difference; but everything hangs on length. Most radio programs come in on the sun, Sherley, and it ought to be inwaves of 200 to 500 meters; visible sun vestigated. I think this appropriation is rays come in on waves of 0.0000004 to all right!" 0.0000006 meter, or about 500,000,000 times as short. Clear air and clear glass

A GRANT TO “INVESTIGATE THE SUN" are very transparent to sun rays, which This is just what the National Geopass through these substances almost graphic Society has given me a grant to without absorption of energy; but black undertake-to measure the radiation of shoes or clothes, and lampblack still more,

the sun.

But since I have been in this absorb sun rays, and their energy is di- work for the Smithsonian Institution for verted from its beautiful wave-play to more than 30 years, members of The promoting the irregular vibrations of the Society have a right to know what more molecules which we call heat.

is expected to be found out with the aid The upper air is so very transparent

of this generous grant. that it stays cold, for it absorbs almost The fact is, we have discovered that no solar energy of radiation, and although the sun is a variable star. Mr. H. H. a person or a blackened object absorbs Clayton, the eminent American meteoroleven more of solar radiation at high alti- ogist, who has been coöperating in the tudes than at the earth's surface, yet, work, has proved that very distinct being surrounded by the very cold air, changes of barometer, temperature, and which is carried along by the winds, his rainfall are caused by these changes of temperature is kept low for the same rea

* See "Toilers of the Sky," by McFall Kerbey, son that a fan cools the radiator of an


August, 1925.

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