News and Stories

Scottish Racing Pigeon/Sparrowhawk Predation Research Trial 2009 (Scottish Government Press Release)

THE FOLLOWING IS THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT PRESS RELEASE ON THE SPARROWHAWK RESEARCH – READERS WILL NOTE THAT SHU’s PRESS RELEASE COMPLETELY CONTRADICTS THE VIEW EXPRESSED HERE – THE TRIAL DEMONSTRATED THAT DETERRENTS DO NOT WORK AND THAT TRAPPING AND TRANSLOCATION OF PROBLEM SPARROWHAWKS IS A HUMANE AND VIABLE MANAGEMENT SOLUTION FOR FANCIERS.

Scottish Government

News release

25/01/10

Test results to protect pigeons published

A trial investigating methods to reduce the predation of sparrowhawks on racing pigeons has proved inconclusive.

As part of the trial, sparrowhawks, which are known to disturb and kill pigeons at their lofts, were trapped and relocated away from lofts across central and southern Scotland. Other lofts in the same areas used scaring techniques or used no methods aimed at deterring predators. Observations of attacks, kills and pigeons that did not return from training flights were submitted by loft owners.

All trapping was carried out under licence, for research purposes, and all sparrowhawks were handled by expert raptor-handlers, to reduce the risk in handling wild birds. Many of the releases were attended by the SSPCA and none of the sparrowhawks, trapped as part of this trial, showed signs of distress on release. The trial did not however produce any conclusive data on whether this is an effective solution for reducing predation on racing pigeons.

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