Cathedral falcons threaten racing pigeons

Mon 13 Nov 2017
By Premier Journalist

A group has claimed that racing pigeons have been killed by peregrine falcons encouraged to nest on cathedrals.

The Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) has warned that an increasing amount of pigeons are dying because cathedrals are providing breeding boxes and platforms for the falcons.

Churches and cathedrals including Norwich, Salisbury and Derby Cathedrals have installed the boxes to help the number of peregrine falcons to recover and there are now an estimated 1,500 pairs across the country.

The RPRA said racing pigeons suffer from a public image problem because people associate them with feral pigeons which are classed as vermin.

The Association said racing pigeons are far from the same, being bred for their speed, stamina and homing instinct and offer being slimmer than their wild equivalents.

It said the problem is getting worse every year with the breeding boxes meaning peregrine falcons are breeding more successfully and the cathedrals' locations are often on pigeon racing routes.

Peregrines falcons have protected legal status.

A spokesman for Salisbury Cathedral said they felt sorry for the pigeons but the peregrines would be there anyway.

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