Raptors, racing pigeons and perceptions of attacks

Kettel, E.F. ORCID: 0000-0001-8555-6195, Yarnell, R.W. ORCID: 0000-0001-6584-7374, Quinn, J.L. and Gentle, L.K. ORCID: 0000-0003-4864-5775, 2021. Raptors, racing pigeons and perceptions of attacks. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 67: 73. ISSN 1612-4642

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Raptors are often the cause of human-wildlife conflict because they may predate economically valuable species, and it is the perceived extent of predation that may augment conflict between raptors and people who keep and race pigeons. This study uses data obtained through questionnaires and an online raptor-attack reporting feature to investigate the frequency of racing pigeon losses and the perceptions of pigeon fanciers. Responses suggest that those who kept more pigeons and entered more races lost a higher proportion of pigeons. Losses were also influenced by the predatory species: sparrowhawks (Accipter nisus) were more likely to attack pigeons at lofts, whilst peregrines (Falco peregrinus) were more likely to attack pigeons during training, with patterns linked to the raptors' breeding seasons. Pigeon fanciers were almost unanimous in their perception that raptors threaten the future of the hobby. Previous studies show that only a small proportion of racing pigeons are likely to be lost to raptors, yet pigeon fanciers believe that raptors are the main cause of losses, highlighting a possible mismatch between the perceived and actual causes of loss. This misconception may be a main source of this human-raptor conflict, so educating pigeon fanciers about the true impact of raptors could help to alleviate the issue. A shift in the beginning of the pigeon racing season by one month, and careful sighting of pigeon lofts in gardens, are also recommended in order to reduce raptor attacks.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: European Journal of Wildlife Research
Creators: Kettel, E.F., Yarnell, R.W., Quinn, J.L. and Gentle, L.K.
Publisher: Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Date: 20 July 2021
Volume: 67
ISSN: 1612-4642
Rights: © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 22 Jul 2021 10:27
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2021 10:27
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/43603

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