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Bob Fleming Answers 25 Questions About Eye Sign


Question No 1.

What are the four main things to take into consideration before looking into a pigeons eye?

The light conditions at the time of your examination.

The outward looking appearance or condition of the subject.

The kind of equipment (eye-glass) being used for the purpose.

The age of the subject.

I don't feel the need to explain these simple and obvious things in detail at this point as they are basically self explanatory however, if you do have any questions, regardless of how silly you may feel about asking them or, about not understanding any part of the above, please ask me at this point and I shall give you the full and truthful answers as promised. I cannot read minds so please, take this opportunity to ask. This is your chance to get the REAL facts and the truth first hand.

Question No 2.

How old must a pigeon be before you can start looking into its eye?

With practice, an eye-sign exponent can look at the eye in birds as young as 5 day's old. This is because the eye is created during incubation and, all the features which will be most obvious later on in the birdís life are there right from the word go. They only developed more and become more obvious with age. The kind of eye the bird is born with will be the same type of eye it dies with. They never change from what they were originally. I.E. Racing eyes do not developed into breeding eyes.

Some people have difficulty seeing the eye features in young babies but, there is one way to observe these eyes which makes the various features more easy to see and that is to, let the light enter the eye from the side so that it glances across the whole image you are looking at. This will enhance the features which can be found in there as the birds get older.

The need for this information in birds so young is to enable the selected young bird to receive all the extra attention it can get to ensure that it's upbringing was the best available as a single nester. These birds should be the ones you would enter in those high $ paying out of town Classic races????

Question No 3.

What is the very first and foremost thing you will learn by looking into a pigeonís eye?

The answer to this question is. The general health AND MEDICAL HISTORY OF THE BIRD.

The very first thing to look at in the eye is the pupil. This is the large Black area right in the center of the eye. It is the key to all that you will ever need to know about the birdís present health and general medical history. The pupil should be as black as can be without any variation to the color what so ever. The blacker the better. Any variation to this color should be immediately investigated.

There is a condition which occurs in pigeons called Sclerosis. This appears as a milky like substance found within the black pupil. It gives the eye an opaque or misty looking appearance.
When this condition is found, you can stop looking further at the eye because the remaining eye features will be ruined as a consequence. There are several things which can bring about this condition the main one being OLD AGE but.  Malnutrition can also be the cause of the same effect as can outright abuse and or neglect. Pigeons are not the only things that suffer from this complaint and it is very common in old canines (dogs) and cats and even some humans develop it during old age.

The vision is very much impaired by its presence so freedom to fly is out of the question and there is no cure or reversal for the condition.

While on the subject of Pupils. I shall now dispel another fallacy which is being touted around incorrectly, and that is the belief that oval pupils denote the long distance pigeon. THIS IS INCORRECT. It is true that certain individual families do exist that have oval pupils which "in that particular family" do depict this ability but, GENERALLY speaking (and I as a teacher MUST talk in general terms) this is not the case. There are just as many Champion long distance winners out there with round pupils as there are with oval ones.

If this feature is a part of the overall makeup of the eye's of your family of birds, then by all means observe it, note it and multiply the birds with them but, if not, do not be in the least bit concerned because, it is by no means a "pre requisite" of the long distance pigeon.

The last thing you should do is to suggest that a friend should also regard the same feature if found in his birds as denoting that ability also, you will more often than not be wrong.

Study your own birds to the full, and in a short while you will be the only person who will know what each and every feature, good and bad, means and denotes in them. If you learn to do this correctly. No one, regardless of who, should be able to tell you anything about your birds that you didn't already know.

Question No 4.

How many rings can be found in a pigeons eye and can you name them.

I have seen eye's with 11 even 12 rings in them but the real question is. Is this number of rings question really important?  The answer is very simple, NO.  It isn't a matter of quantity but, quality that really matters.

There are 7 basic rings in the eye which the pigeon man should concentrate on and these make up the basis of the entire subject.


There are people who try from time to time to change these names which were originally given by the discoverers of the subject, but I prefer to use the traditional names which I also feel helps to eliminate any confusion caused by changing the long established and traditional names. The value and significance of each will be discussed at a later time.

Questions No 5 and 6.

How many circles are there in the Single tube eye and what makes it so outstanding compared to other eyes.

The Single tube eye was first discovered back in the sixties by me and has in its short existence proved to be a major break away from the tried and true eye's of the old Masters.

At first these eyes I'm sure were discarded by many because of the washed out looking appearance of them.

But in my travels looking at birds which had performed far above the norm, I began to realize that this kind of eye was to be found in some truly remarkable birds.

To this day they are still among the most sought after of all eyes and for very obvious reasons. Reliability. They deliver the goods, especially in the harder or tougher smash races.

The one thing that distinguishes them from the rest is the absence of the underlying clear jell like tube in the base of the Iris.

The single tube eye does not display this underlying tube but instead, shows only the top tube which is the blood filled tube that carries blood to the eye which in turn warms and activates the eye.

If you look closely at the inner dual circle area of the iris, you can often see, by looking between the gaps of the loosely arranged pattern of the two tubes, each tube quite clearly displayed one on top of the other with the top tube being the only one in which blood is carried to the eye. Why this is so and what the second tube is filled with is unknown. But, when the underlying tube is missing from the eye, then that is a Single Tube eye.

Like all things in this subject, they are easy to recognize with practice.  

Question No 7.

Speed lines, if not the faster birds then what do they signify.

Speed lines were first described by a friend of mine who worked for the British Homing World. His job was to travel around England and Europe photographing the eyes and birds of distinction. He was at one time regarded by many as the best in his field and I still use many of his photographs in my seminars. He concluded that the faster birds could be recognized by these lines which radiate out from the center of the eye like spokes in a wheel.  Unfortunately he was wrong.  His findings were published in the press and eventually became accepted as being true and accurate through comparisons made with the winningest birds around at the time.

So why was he wrong?

Most experienced pigeon flyers will agree that not all birds can handle the higher velocities reached in many races throughout a season. These are commonly called, Blow Homes.
Often these entail speeds of 100+ MPH. Although we do not know for sure why this is it has been suggested that they are ill equipped for the task in some way or, that they are just plain scarred by the experience. The simple truth is that, we don't know for sure why this is but, this doesn't explain why there are certain birds which do show a REPETITIVE ability to do just that.

It was in such birds as these that the speed lines were first discovered and, misinterpreted as signifying the faster birds. They are NOT faster birds but, are the ones with the ability to handle the higher velocities and any claims to the contrary as FALSE.

The final conclusion is that speed lines can be used as an indicator of the bird with an ability to handle the higher velocities reached in blow homes but. DON'T BET THE FARM ON IT. It is not all that accurate of a sign.

Question No 8.

At weaning time, the pigeon man has nothing he can use to determine the true capabilities of his newly raised team except the race basket.  The average healthy pigeon looks exactly like the rest and gives little indication that it just might be the elusive Champion we all dream about one day owning.

These birds are born almost annually on a regular basis. They are unbeatable and win out of turn under almost any conditions and management systems. Over the years I have made it a point to pay special attention to these birds in an attempt to find out exactly what it is that makes them so different with athletic abilities far and above those of the normal racing pigeon. I have never did discover why they are what they are however, I have discovered that they do share certain eye features. The following is the result of my studies of them over the last 40 years or so.

I know of at least 17 of these eye features but of these only five will regularly be found in the eyes of true Champions and most of these can be clearly seen at the very young age of one month old.

This is just another way in which the eye-sign man can find himself with a slight advantage over his fellow competitors. In the order of outright value and importance, I shall list them accordingly.

No 1 Clusters.
No 2 Drifting pigment in the pupil.
No 3 Smudges and or wires in the eye.
No 4 Combine eye style racing composition.
No 5 A flat enameled looking Iris.

Though there are many more signs that depict racing ability, these are the most reliable and by far the most significant pointers to any pending Champion.  Taking them in that order, I shall tell you more about each one in turn.

The Cluster. I believe I have said enough about these eyes in the past and that they need no further explanation at this point in time. The same applies to the next on the list which is the same eye as the Cluster but in a different stage of development.

No 3 Smudges and wire is another thing all together. This is best seen on the Van Breeman site in the eye picture of the bird called KEISER. If you look closely at this eye, you can see that there are dark lines appearing beneath the iris which runs from the inside of the eye near the pupil, out toward the outer edge like spokes in a wheel. These are called smudges and wires.  Some times they can be found in large numbers in the eye and on other occasions there are only one or two lines visible. Keisers eye contains several thin lines and these are spread around the eye in various locations. The locations where they are found have no bearing on the birdís value.  These lines also come in another form which is more like a wider dark area beneath the iris and looks more like a dark patch or blob located under the iris and is covered by the pigment of the eye together with the capillaries which form the colored part of the iris.

No 4. This is another of my own discoveries and is called the Combine eye. Its existence was first divulged on this site less than two years ago and since then, I have had literally hundreds of them reported to me from around the world. Where the pigment on the eye-sign ring can be seen to end or stop cleanly and abruptly, and NOT fade away gradually as in the normal eye, this bird will usually be a combine winner for you. There are 19 of them amongst the eyes on the Van Breeman site, can you find them?

No 5. The iris of the flying Champion is usually a flat looking iris which looks as if it is made up of many coats of paint as it were. You could even be excused for describing it as being flat and unimpressive. Not quite washed out looking but not far from it. SEE KEISER AGAIN.

This is the eye of the that fools most eye-sign men and often turns out to be another discovery of mine I called the Single Tube eye, which though it has been described before, shall be discussed in detail at a later time when I am able to post pictures of some with my new scanner which is supposed to be especially made for this purpose?????

I will also explain why this eye is listed as being No 5 in order of value as a flyer, despite its reputation as being a smash race winner.

The somewhat brief explanations of the eyes were not originally intended but, I felt I could not in all fairness just post the answers without some kind of explanation of each. I am sorry for the long windedness of them.

I trust you enjoy them and gain some more insight into this subject.

Question No 9.

Why don't Champions produce champions equal to or better than themselves?

Hardly an eye-sign question but that any eye-sign man should know the answer to. Why? Because we will never know the reason if you don't know the question.  And the only answers so far to this problem have come from the study of the eyes of Champions.

I don't intend to go over all the reasons again why this problem exists but, these FREAKS of nature are quite famous for failing miserably when put to stock.

Two Champions mated together DO NOT PRODUCE OTHER CHAMPIONS.

The reasons have been discussed in the past postings so enough said at this time.

The point is that by studying the eyes of these birds when ever you get the chance, will teach you the signs that are common in them and this is where the key to their reproduction may well lie in the future.

Question No 10 and 11.


There are three ways to determine a Dominant Violet Eye.

These are 1. Recognition by examination. (in other words, by looking at it and recognizing it accordingly)

No 2. By discovering the phenomenal breeding record of the suspect. It is not unusual to hear about them producing 20 and 30 individual winners.

No 3. By examining the multitude of other colored eyes produced from the suspect.

Question No 12 and 13.

How many different kinds of Green eyes are there?

The green eye comes to us in two basic types. The DOMINANT and the RECESSIVE.

But to save time space and confusion, I shall also include the answer to question No 13 at the same time by saying that they also come in the RACING, BREEDING and DUAL PURPOSE categories as do the afore mentioned VIOLETS.

Question No 16, 17 and 18.

 How many different kinds of Clusters are there?

The thing that distinguishes one kind of Cluster from another is the "PIGMENT" which forms it. If you look closely at this pigment in any eye, you will see that it resembles tiny bead like particles. These beads come in three different sizes and make up the basic color of the eye.  Example, Pearl (from the grey beads) or yellow from the yellow beads. This pigment is found throughout the whole eye commencing at the pupil and covering the eye-sign circle then extending as a "BASE" covering of the sphincter shaped Cilliary muscle, from the edge of the pupil to the outer edge of the eye.

The entire iris is built on this base which in coloured eye's, is covered with this same pigment which is also responsible for the formation of almost all the other features we see in the eye's. If you look closely you will also notice that the pigmented beads are positioned on the base in a deliberate order of three individual layers, one atop of the other. This order being, the smallest of the beads are at the bottom of the laters, followed by the next or middle sized beads, and finally the larger of them being on the top or, the outer surface of the coloured areas.

To the lay person this information may seem boring and insignificant however, rest assured, as your knowledge of the subject grows, you will soon realize that it is of paramount importance to know these things and especially when selecting a mate for the bird in question?????????????

Therefore, to answer the original question which was?  How many different kinds of Clusters are there?

Let's look at a breakdown of the possibilities.

NO 1 Being. The Cluster which is comprised of all and only LARGE beads, which resemble small grains of sand or salt in the pupil.

No 2 Comprised of all small beads. (Appearing like fine powder and even a misty effect in the pupil)

No 3 Comprised of only the middle sized beads. (Talcum powder size beads) but still quite visible.

No 4 The Cluster which is comprised of beads of all three sizes.

No 5 Finally, the one made up of only two sizes of beads of which there are 3 possibilities?

The percentages of each in the makeup do not seem to be of any importance.

So the answer to the original question is. There are basically 7 different kinds of Clusters depending on their makeup.

Finally on this same question. Which is the most prepotent Cluster as a breeder or flyer?

The simple truth is that they are all as prepotent as each other. There is no such thing as a dominant Cluster or a positive or negative Cluster or even a male and female Cluster.

But not all Clusters succeed as promised, and these are the ones, which have been mated INCORRECTLY. There is a right and wrong way to do this, which has been covered before and can be found in the archives on this subject. 

Question No 22.

Does light enter the eye through the iris proper.

Who cares?   ha ha ha

But in all truth. NO IT DOESN'T. It isn't known if the cilliary body (that's the brown base you see in the bull eye which is completely without pigment covering it) is responsible for the constant changing size of the aperture of the pupil, or the retina at the back of the eye. However, which ever it is, it most certainly isn't the pigment in the iris that causes the changes.

Perhaps the light sensitive cells that do cause it are to be found on the surface of cilliary body itself, it certainly looks that way when you watch it under a scope as light is played onto it? I DON'T KNOW AND WILL NOT GUESS OR SPECULATE but, neither does anyone else in the scientific community.

Fortunately, it isn't of much importance to the eye-sign exponent so don't be overly concerned.

There is one thing for sure though. If you could scrape away the pigment from within an eye, you would find as I did and have many times, that as soon as the pigment is removed, the eye then changes to being nothing more than a plain old every day BULL EYE???

And that's the "only" difference between them and the ordinary pigmented eye or colored eye. The presence of pigment.

Please, don't let anyone try to tell you that the bull eye is faulty or that the birds with them cannot see properly. They can see just as well as any other eye.  Either in the dark or the brightest day.

I have had them come in the dark throughout the night many times, and won blow homes and hard races with bull eyed birds, not to mention that one of the best stock birds I ever owned also had a bull eye.

I have reached a point now that pictures are a must from here on out so.

When the new kind of scanner arrives this week, hopefully I will be able to post some interesting pictures which demonstrate all the things I have talked about perfectly, and also the pictures of the eye of a double 500 mile L/A Combine winner owned by Lawrence Bauber of the Disneyland Lofts, which shows very clearly the TWO LAYERS of blood veins and capillaries that make up the iris proper.

Unfortunately this picture also blows away Bill Richardsonís theory of the eye heart cooling thing which it wasn't intended to do but, O Well??? The truth will prevail.

Those at the seminar saw these pictures for the first time but, now you will all see them as promised together with the single tube eyes.

Question No 23.

I am throwing this answer in because it is so quick and easy that and any real eye-sign man would have known it in a heart beat.

What do the Greens and Violets have in common?

There are in fact two answers to this question both of which are correct.

The first of these is that they both share a common ancestor.

The second being that, you cannot breed one without the use of the other.

In other words. It's like the words of the old Sinatra song. Love and Marriage. You can't have one without the......other. And if you think you can, youíre only fooling yourself.

The third thing they have in common is that they are both at the "TOP" of the ladder when it comes to breeding better pigeons.


Question No 24.

Name three families that were recognizable by their eye colors.

Sions. Janssens. Bricoux. Jan Ardens. Hanssenes. Gurnays. Jurions. Beckearts. Devrendts. Puttries.

Answer to No 25.

What is the significance of the Circle of Adaptation and what does its presence denote?

This eye feature is probably the second most controversial feature to be found in the entire subject.  Many people actually mistake this circle for being the circle of eye-sign, and I have met several well known pigeon people who are convinced that Bishop was talking about this circle when he discussed the circle of eye-sign??? Of course when asked, these same people admitted that they had never read Bishop and that ends that?????

So just to dispel any more thoughts in this direction, let's look at what the circle of adaptation really is. I have discussed earlier how the Iris is formed on a base which, when seen to be void of pigment is nothing more than the same brown or black base seen in the bull eye. This base is in fact the cilliary muscle itself and, if you take the trouble to look at the photos featured on the Bill Richardsonís who calls himself the (book) site. You can see quite clearly in the side view of the eye how and what this base really is. It is simply the thinnest part of the cilliary muscle which expands and contracts around the cornea or (lens) of the eye, forming the outer edge of the pupil.

As was once described on this site, this part of the muscle acts like a flange around the Cornea. On occasions, this flange can be seen to crinkle up as it is required to dilate and take on the appearance like a bottle cap effect surrounding the pupil.

Again I say with authority. There is no evidence to support and claims that a bird with eyes that dilate down to a pin point are superior in ANY WAY to the birds that only dilate normally. Some would have you believe that the birds with the pin point pupils have superior vision to those that don't. THIS IS FALSE INFORMATION and is based on the incorrect understanding that eye-sign has something to do with vision.

EYE-SIGN HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH VISION. With the exception of the brief period when the eye takes on it's colored appearance from young to adult, A pigeon with poor vision is a very rare thing and any claims to the contrary are stupid. Always consider the source of such ridiculous claims.

On other occasions, this same thin wrinkled inner section of the muscle can actually break off at say the 10 O-clock position, through to the 2 0 clock position, and hang down across the pupil appearing like a curtain hanging there. I have seen it break free at one point only and tear around as far as half way around the pupil then, hang into the pupil looking like a dark colored worm or whatever in the pupil.

The circle becomes more obvious as the bird ages and is best seen in the bull eye. So what does it's presence denote when found in the eye. In a simple word.....N O T H I N G.

There is and never has been any evidence to suggest that only birds with this circle displayed are capable of anything that birds without it are not capable of.  This includes breeding ability Racing ability or either in the same bird.

I have seen many thousands of birds with this feature, many of which were excellent birds BUT. I have also seen JUST AS MANY good birds WITHOUT IT. It is not, nor ever was an EXCLUSIVE feature to good birds only as has been stated on here by some one who has difficulty knowing what day it is.

The circle of Adaptation only ever gets a mention by those who know better because in some birds it's there but, its presence means NOTHING. The same applies to the bottle cap effect that it SOMETIMES takes on and, the splitting into sections of it in older birds, or the breaking off of it etc like I have just described.

The birdís vision is NOT impaired when this breaking off and or splitting into segments occur.

What ever this inner portion of the cilliary muscle does is MEANINGLESS. And you can take that to the bank.


This is the final answer to the 25 EYE-SIGN questions I posted and I wish to point out that that despite my invitation to ALL (AND ESPECIALLY ONE) professed eye-sign men to jump in and answer any of them. NO ONE RESPONDED. Now you can decide for your selves as to why but, I think I know??? And the beat goes on.   


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