Raptor Alliance

This threatened sport needs your support

40,000 pigeon racing enthusiasts in the UK and Ireland urgently need help in protecting the sport from potential extinction.

Soaring hawk UK populations are responsible for a large number of racing pigeon deaths each year.<br />If you spot a hawk, peregrine or other raptor in your area, or see signs of an attack from these birds of prey on a racing pigeon, please report it using this online Hawk Watch system.

Soaring hawk UK populations are responsible for a large number of racing pigeon deaths each year.If you spot a hawk, peregrine or other raptor in your area, or see signs of an attack from these birds of prey on a racing pigeon, please report it using this online Hawk Watch system.

 

During the past decade, pigeon fanciers (enthusiasts and keepers of racing pigeons) have recorded a dramatic increase in the number of their birds being killed by the growing population of hawks and falcons.

Uncontrolled predation

Pigeons belonging to fanciers in many areas of the UK suffer repeated attacks and kills from birds of prey such as peregrine falcons and sparrowhawks, often witnessing the events and their aftermath.  The problem has become so widespread and serious, that it is fast driving people away from the sport.

Pigeons fanciers are of course bird lovers and are desperate to protect the birds they care for.  The introduction of manmade nests in urban and residential areas, encouraging birds of prey to nest in these locations has endangered the lives of thousands of racing pigeons.  And currently, there is no legal protection to help them.

When birds of prey attack pigeons in flight, it isn’t just one bird that is affected – other racing pigeons in the same flock will scatter in desperate attempt to get away and in doing so, often end up damage or kill themselves while trying to escape. Racing pigeons are also known to fly hundreds of miles in the wrong direction to escape, leading to exhaustion and becoming lost.

We need legal protection

UK pigeon fanciers have formed the national Raptor Alliance to lobby for change in the protection of their racing birds.  Currently, birds owned by the 60,000 pigeon fanciers in the UK have no legal protection against increasing attacks from soaring sparrowhawk and peregrine falcon populations.

The Royal Pigeon Racing Association has an online Hawk Watch monitoring system for recording attacks on pigeons from birds of prey – a quick look at the map demonstrates how prolific and widespread the problem is.