Pigeon Racing Threatened By Predator From The Skies
8:30am 1st July 2012
A disabled pigeon racing enthusiast from Weymouth says the sport is being ruined by deadly predators.
Cerebral palsy sufferer Chris Williams has been racing pigeons for the last ten years.
But for the last two years many of his pigeons have been attacked and killed by other birds of prey.
"Over the last two years I have lost count of the number of my pigeons I have lost to birds of prey," he says. "I've had to witness first hand the brutal killings and injuries inflicted on my birds, which leave me feeling both upset and angry.
"When a female sparrowhawk attacked some of my birds, leaving them shell shocked and unable to fly I was left with no option but to kill them. I was heart broken."
The sparrowhawk also attacked Chris as he went to help his birds.
He says that this predation problem is ruining his sport - which only became accessible to wheelchair users relatively recently, thanks to the introduction of systems which clock the return of the pigeons to their lofts electronically.
"This advance to the sport undoubtedly afforded me greater independence - it means that I can now really participate in and enjoy the sport - and compete against my dad properly, as I no longer require his assistance.
"The emotional and financial impact these hawk attacks are having is so frustrating. There's currently nothing we can do to protect their own birds from them."
Chris keeps 30 racing pigeons and explains that there are about 70 pigeon fanciers with lofts in his local area all experiencing the same problem. He fears the escalating issue could mean the death of not just his birds, but eventually, the sport of pigeon racing.