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Jack Barkel's Eye Sign


Translated into Sanish by José Gutiérrez at flag of Spain

Jack Barkel divides the eye into 5 circles:

circle of the pupil
circle of adaptation
circle of correlation from the pupil to the perimeter
circle of the iris
breeding circle, perimeter or circle of health
racing sign

The following represents my interpretation of some of Jack Barkel's ideas expressed in the video released in 2000:

    In order to deserve a place in the stock loft, the bird's eye must show the following:
  • 5 perfect circles
  • the circle of adaptation and perimeter need to be of the same color and width
  • the pupil must be reactive to the intensity of light and must be small
    Racing birds do not need all 5 circles!
    The Pupil:
  • small and reactive to changes in light intensity
  • as the pupil or the circle of correlation become larger the perimeter becomes narrower
  • looking at the sphincter muscle on the periphery of the pupil with a loupe does not allow one to judge its structure accurately and is therefore a waste of time
    The circle of adaptation:
  • clear throughout in pure stock birds
  • the racing sign is the superimposed black segment
    The circle of correlation:
  • from the pupil to the perimeter
  • the circle of adaptation and the iris are superimposed on it
  • if the visible (from the circle of adaptation to the iris) circle of correlation is too wide, the bird would be suited for the shorter distances only
    The iris:
  • breeding winners with winners with yellow eyes will result in a very thick iris
  • breeding pearl with pearl will result in a very thin iris with gaps in it - not suitable for long and tough races
    Some thoughts on breeding:
  • never pair 2 pearl eyes because speed and vitality are increased at the expense of the homing ability
  • pairing 2 yellows will create slow plodders because stamina and homing ability are increased at the expense of vitality
  • pairing yellow with pearl can result in much speed, stamina, homing ability and vitality
  • pairing a 100% pearl racing sign with a 100% yellow racing sign will result in pure racers, not suitable for stock.
  • better than breeding pure racers is breeding the dual purpose bird who can be retired to the stock loft once his racing career is over. To do this, one needs to pair birds together the sum of whose racing signs do not exceed 100%.

PostScript: Jack Barkel had been annoyed by some eye sign cynics and therefore put out a challenge in 1989

Anyone with a champion bird (2 federation wins plus breeding some winning birds) was to put his champion into a basket with 9 average birds. If Jack could pick out the champion, he'd either get it or the appraised value. Should he fail he'd have to pay the appraised value to the owner.
Jack ended up with a lot of money and a lot of champion racing pigeons but has yet to lose in that game. He laments the fact that word about his exploits got around so that the line of challengers has dried up.

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