News and Stories

Hawk Attacks on Lofts and Racing Pigeons (Last updated 1st September 2008)


It is hardly surprising; given the number of birds of prey that now inhabit our skies, that not only pigeon fanciers are showing increased concern. The following letter was received from a non fancier – The pigeon was reported to the owner:

Hello Linda,

To confirm my telephone call to you today, when walking on the grouse moor at Glen Prosen, Angus, we picked up a freshly killed pigeon on 18th August. We saw a peregrine falcon over the spot as we approached, and the carcass was well-eaten by the time we got there.

The reference numbers were: Blue ring: SU08 NE 1584, and yellow tag no. 5580. I am trying to contact the pigeon owner, Mr. Mair of Buckie, to report this kill.

This is another example of a racing pigeon killed by a raptor. Should you wish to discuss the incident with the Head Keeper who was out with us that day on the grouse moor, his name is .... ...., and his address is .... ....

It is reassuring to hear that the Scottish/National pigeon societies are doing all they can to lobby the government to allow regulated culls of raptors, in attempt to achieve a balance in nature between these efficient killers and their victims.

With kind regards,

Janet Waddington, ANGUS. (1st September 2008)


The pigeon’s wings have been badly torn

Charles Burnett from Newtongrange has been forced to close up his loft mid way through this season due to sparrowhawk attacks on his pigeons. In the second week in May he left his loft unattended for a few minutes and when he returned two young birds lay dead. Than evening all of his pigeons sat out too afraid to enter the loft. Two days later he found another bird missing and only feathers remained on the grass. That evening, while he was at the loft all of the birds lifted off in panic, when he went forward to investigate he disturbed a sparrowhawk that flew off leaving one pigeon severely injured and unable to fly, the pigeon’s wings have been badly torn and it is likely it will have to be put down. Of the pigeons that scattered, many are now missing and the others are reluctant to enter the loft, sitting on the roof until almost dark. His loft has been under attack almost daily for the last three weeks or more and his situation is a classic one. Fanciers in this position currently have their hands tied and can do nothing to alleviate the problem, we hope that will ultimately change and we will be given the right to trap and relocate these rogue sparrowhawks in future. With the cancellation of our trial this spring as a result of pressure from protectionists, we have lost valuable time in collecting the evidence the Minister for Environment needs to help us implement a solution, so it has to be hoped that sense will now prevail and we will go ahead with this work later this year. If we get the go-ahead to conduct a trial this autumn there will be notices circulated asking for volunteers to get in touch.

C BURNETT, NEWTONGRANGE. (2nd June 2008)


Chequer Hen killed by Hawk

You can use these photos for your portfolio if you so wish, the black hen was lucky to escape the sparrow hawk, however her chick in the nest died as her mate came off the nest. The chequer hen was not so lucky and this happened in front of my next door neighbour 7 year old daughter. I'm was devastated when I came home and saw the carnage done to my beloved pigeons by a sparrow hawk and I wonder if its worth carrying on racing pigeons.

K HYMYS, BEDFORSHIRE. (24th April 2008)


Hawk Kill

I was always a strong supporter of your fight against raptors but I thought there was no need to send in more photos. Only 2 of the birds photographed are mine the other, I came across in my ramblings in the countryside. I have let their owners know their fates.

J HARWOOD, GLASGOW. (24th April 2008)


Dead Yearling

This pigeon was hit by a hawk last year it was a Yearling Cock Bird. The bird had just been let out of the loft and it was killed right in front of a freind and myself. It was at the vilage of Burneside near Kendal, yours a pigeon fancier s wilson

S WILSON, BURNESIDE. (20th April 2008)


I was watching my young pigeons walking about in front of the loft when a sparrow hawk dived on top of one of them and covered it with its wings. I chased it off the youngster while the rest of them scattered in all directions. It grabbed another one and went over my wall into my neighbours’ garden. When I looked over the wall I could see it had the youngster pinned to the ground. I threw a stone at it as I couldn't climb over the wall it being about five and a half feet high. The sparrow hawk flew off and I went round to my neighbours to collect the youngster.

Injured Youngster

When we tried to catch the pigeon it flew into her kitchen as it was so traumatised. We eventually caught it and discovered it was badly ripped under the wing and now two days later it still can't fly to the perch. This all happened at 12:00am and by 12:30pm another neighbour came to tell me that there was a dead pigeon in her garden. This was another of my youngsters which had flown off when the sparrow hawk first attacked.

When we tried to catch the pigeon it flew into her kitchen as it was so traumatised. We eventually caught it and discovered it was badly ripped under the wing and now two days later it still can't fly to the perch. This all happened at 12:00am and by 12:30pm another neighbour came to tell me that there was a dead pigeon in her garden. This was another of my youngsters which had flown off when the sparrow hawk first attacked. {See attached photograph}

None of these youngsters had flown before in fact I was surprised that some of them could fly.

One has since been picked up two streets away and there are still some missing.

This has been the worst year yet for sparrow hawks. I have heard so many people saying they are having pigeon attacked in their gardens. Nowhere is safe! My brother who lives near Dumfries also had two killed last week.

It's time something was done about this problem!

R&M SEATON, ANNAN. (16th April 2008)


This attack happend on 29th March 2008, this is the 5th pigoen I have lost to hawks since starting back up in the sport in 2007

R RUSSELL, DALRY. (29th March 2008)


Raptor attack

Raptor attack in neighbour's front door garden. Neighbour H Adam snapped it on his mobile phone as it had crashed into their front window. The pigeon could not be rescued or saved.

M PARK, ABERDEEN. (29th February 2008)