Keepers of Free-Flying Pigeons

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I life near Jefferson City, Missouri and cross a bridge into it that crosses the Missouri at least twice daily. At minimum a couple thousand feral pigeons use the bridge as a staging area. Another almost as large a flock operates on a dairy farm very near where I work. Coopers hawks to not seem able to catch pigeons flying in the open at all. Kills appear to be mostly on juvenile pigeons down among structures and occasionally when they are caught on ground feeding. Latter does not appear frequent. Most important depredation must occur at night. Anyone been in a situation where they can see interactions with raptors?
  2. WthrLady

    WthrLady Songster

    Jul 24, 2014
    WestOak, Nebraska
    Yup. Neighbors racing pigeons. Ripped from the air all the time. Doves and sparrows too.
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Been there, done that. In my experience pigeons out in the open can fairly readily outfly Coopers and Sharp Shin hawks - Peregrine falcons are an entirely different story. Hawks are smart they have to be or they will not be successful. Flying pigeons must come home. The hawks soon learn that. Most of my losses occurred as the pigeons were banking to come in to the loft. At this point the hawks would attack from above. My back yard is surrounded by tall trees which provided a hiding/staging station for the hawks. There was one big hen Coopers who would attack from beneath the flock. As they were coming in to land she would fly about 2' above the ground, flip over and grab a bird just as they were about to land on the aviaries.

    The homers that I flew were generally hawk smart and resistant. The Birmingham rollers not so much. I have even seen hawks appear out on 'nowhere' and grab a bird as it was rolling. The hawks won. I gave up. Due to the way my property is surrounded by tall trees my backyard was little more than a killing field.
  4. It just seems that a hawk can't let a plump pigeon pass. Why not let the hawks' hankering for pigeon be his downfall?

    I suspect that a bright white colored pigeon in a small cage would be iiiiirresistible to all chicken hawks.

    Some 25-40 mono-filament fishing line nooses on the top and sides of the cage in the style of Minerva, and bingo.... you have a trap just like the State Biologist use to "restrain" hawks for banding purposes. Do not attempt to relocate hawks. They will beat you home before you can buckle your seatbelt.

    The mono-filament fishing line strung everywhere trick is ineffective and was intended to break the wings of diving hawks, thus allowing the chickens' shepherd to ask the hawk, "I bet that you won't do that again will you?
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    The bridge area gives the pigeons too much advantage on the hawks. Hawks in that situation do not have benefit of surprise. I have seen them go after songbird flocks in same areas with more success but it is far from a guarantee the hawk will prevail. Chases very interesting nonetheless. Red-tailed Hawks might be doing as well as anyone because some of those are working buildings a lot. From what I can see, pigeon flock size seems limited by either disease or the pigeons themselves (quality nest cites). I am also seeing lots of Eurasion Ring-necked Doves that are also doing very well. I have yet to see any falcons as pigeon population may not be large enough to support those.

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