FERAL PIGEONS AS PREY FOR HAWKS

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Every day I cross the bridge over the Missouri River as going to work in Jefferson City. Much of the year those crossings are in daylight so I can see the pigeons that live on the bridge flying about. The number of pigeons there is in the hundreds if not pushing 1,000. As I get closer to where I actually work, which is a research farm, I pass a couple feedlots that also support a couple hundred pigeons each. I seldom see hawks going after the flocks was they reel around the main structures like silos and the bridge but I do see them more occasionally go after pigeons that are on the ground foraging. I do see the hawks hunt successfully around the structures but they seem to be catching songbirds more.

    Today in one trip I saw one Coopers Hawk going after birds on bridge and three Coopers Hawks going after birds on research farm at same time although they were not working together on same flocks. Things got so dicey that an American Kestrel was flying with pigeons, killdeer and water birds in what I am guessing was an attempt to avoid the Coopers Hawk that appeared to catch all the smaller birds in a surprise. It was amazing to see so many types of birds wheeling about such a small number of hawks. The number of birds at the farm in total where easily in the thousands. The pigeons seem to be caught less than what you would predict based upon their relative abundance alone. Those that are caught that I see are captured either in buildings or very close to there nest sites. Pigeons it seems have upper hand with Coopers Hawks once they are out in open and able to get up speed. Exception for pigeons maybe with the bigger individuals that I think are meat birds of some sort. They fly much slower and do not participate in the group maneuvers the other pigeons and even songbirds do.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  2. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used to race pigeons... hawks can and do catch and eat them. Falcons will take a pigeon on the wing. But the larger hawks are of course not as agile. But the pigeons fly in a flock and the hawk will come from above, with the sun at its back, from behind, and drop right into the flock... so they too can catch the pigeons... sometimes the pigeons will seem to actually go up to meet the hawk and I think that is a way they can keep the hawk in sight and at a disadvantage... the hawk has the advantage when it has the altitude... when they are at equal heights, I think the pigeons are better able to keep the hawks off.... It can be a real duel... it used to be very exciting to watch although very aggravating when your flock would come back missing a bird or two...
     
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  3. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had chickens now for over six years and knock on wood, hawks have not been a problem near as much as when my father and I had the pigeons.
     
  4. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

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    I would love to see that.
    Thanks for sharing.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    It is a seasonal thing. Next year I will do everything I can to have a camera ready. I can not find similar on the internet video searches even though such events are pretty common. Always packing a video camera is the limitation and keeping on and keeping it charged. Gets really fun we seeing this stuff while on a motorcycle. You can see much more while on a motorcycle than while in a car.
     

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