We lived for a time in the heart of the Cambrian mountains of Wales and this consequently meant our racing pigeons
had to endure repeated attacks from Peregrines, Goshawks and the occasional Sparrowhawk. An interesting insight into our own experiences of
suffering constant raptor attacks throughout the year, was that initially in our first year, all our gay pieds, reds and any with white
flights had been lost to the birds of prey. Then we lost the chequers to then be followed by the blues, which left our darks and blacks
remaining and so we put a notice in the BHW magazine, asking if fanciers would donate darks and black chicks to us. The responce was
overwhelming and we thought we had solved our massive losses, but no, the raptors then started taking the darks and blacks.
Dr Andrew Dixon published an excellent and detailed report on raptor deterrents relating to our UK problem and this can be downloaded
by using the 3 bars menu above.
This was our most dangerous raptor and caused us to lose many pigeons; there were not many days when the
Peregrine was not hunting for food in our locality. One interesting point was we never witnessed a
chase by the Peregrine against our very dark chequers or all blacks when these colours were out exercising
with reds, pieds, blues or chequers. In most cases the Peregrine would miss catching his intended prey,
especially with birds that had been bred there and also had age and experience on their side. However,
the downside is that even when the Peregrine missed our pigeons, he managed to scare them into a frenzy of diving
into the forest for cover and they would often seriously damage themselves when hitting the branches.
We were unable to find any defense against this hawk. We tried all the many so-called popular deterrents and found none to work
in the long term. Another danger with the Sparrowhawk, is he is not afraid to enter the loft because he hides near trees, or tall
hedges awaiting his chance to strike. The only remedy to eleviate some of the losses is to make sure your lofts are not located near these natural hiding places.
This raptor will normally be hiding in dense forest trees and will come out and up to your pigeons when they are tree-hopping
out at exercise. Unfortunately we had very tall oak trees near our lofts and many times it was a simple drop out of the tree onto any
pigeon walking on the loft roof.
RED KITE & BUZZARD
Both these carrion birds are no threat to racing pigeons and your birds will rarely give them a second glance.
The Kite is easily identified by it's forked tail and both species will sedately fly in wide circles and be quite high up on rising thermals.