I let my 35 darkness youngsters out at 10.30 today. I went back into the house and put the kettle on. I then went back outside, only to see my youngsters flying all over the place. Remember this was less than 2 minutes since I let them out. I picked two of my youngsters out of my hedge and put them back into the loft, I looked up and saw my youngsters flying in an obvious panic. I heard a flapping noise coming from behind my garden shed only five yards from where I was standing a hen sparrowhawk was pinning a youngster down and trying to eat it alive, the first thing that came to my hand was one of my steel toe-capped working boots, I threw the boot and hit the target; but the ******* managed to get away. Fortunataly the youngster was unharmed and I was able to pick her up and put her back in the loft. I walked to the back door and heard the kettle boiling.
The point I am trying to make is that this all happened in less than 3 minutes. In my area (West Coast of Scotland) birds of prey are as common as blackbirds.
An awful lot of good pigeon men in this area have gave in to the hawks and took up another hobby.
If things keep going the way they are going in this area pigeon racing will be a thing of the past.
I know that other parts of the U.K. are affected just as bad as us, Wales and Cornwall spring to mind.
I have to leave my house at 5.30 in the morning to reduce the chance of being hit by the perigrine, and now I cant even let my birds fly around my house. Due to the bad weather I have only had 5 tosses so far, and I have lost 4 good birds.
I cant imagine ever being without my pigeons; but it is getting harder every year. ??)