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Mulligan Mulligan is offline
Posted 26th January 2011, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 3

red tailed hawks!


Hi everyone:

I am new to the forum and need advice. I would just like to say that it is so nice to hear that so many people care about feral pigeons. I sometimes feel like I am the only one. I live in Canada and the temperature dips down to -20 and the ground is usually covered with snow for months. I really admire how hardy and brave feral pigeons are.

Anyway, I feed a flock in a park that I live next to. The neighbours don't particularly approve but have not stopped me as I concentrate the feeding in one spot. The pigeons usually eat the seed and disappear so I guess a lot of people have not even noticed. So I thought I had finally found something that worked to help these guys through winter in a safe manner (this is challenging in my area as I live in an extremely urban area right near a huge main road). Well, a red tailed hawk has swooped in and has started attacking the pigeons. It swooped down right when I was standing there! Initially I did not know what it was as I have never seen a raptor before.

Of course I have stopped feeding after I figured out what it was. But I feel so sad for my flock as they no longer have the food I used to give them. I have come to love watching them and can even tell some of them apart. Our street is also full of pet owners who let small cats and dogs out in their back yards and I do not want to endanger them. Any advice for me? Thanks.


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GEMcC5150 GEMcC5150 is offline
Posted 26th January 2011, 06:15 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: San Ignacio BCS Mexico
Age: 66
Posts: 942
Sorry Hawks will be hawks. You might try and move location but I think your just going to move everything.
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PigeonVilla PigeonVilla is offline
Posted 26th January 2011, 06:37 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 799
Hawks will find you no matter where you go so either keep feeding and deal with it or just give up and the hawks will find the pigeons where ever it is they go after you stop feeding them .
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RodSD RodSD is offline
Posted 26th January 2011, 06:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: San Diego
Age: 42
Posts: 4,102
Feed your birds at different times to confuse the predators. Usually feral pigeons are hawk smart, but the young ones are extremely vulnerable. Right now it is winter and birds of prey(BOP) are hungry so they may be desperate to attack. Red-tail hawk eats other small animals. Birds are not their main food. Coopers hawk on the other hand likes birds as its main food. Falcon's main food may be birds as well and pigeons seem to be the main food found in their digestive organs.
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PigeonVilla PigeonVilla is offline
Posted 26th January 2011, 07:32 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by RodSD View Post
Feed your birds at different times to confuse the predators. Usually feral pigeons are hawk smart, but the young ones are extremely vulnerable. Right now it is winter and birds of prey(BOP) are hungry so they may be desperate to attack. Red-tail hawk eats other small animals. Birds are not their main food. Coopers hawk on the other hand likes birds as its main food. Falcon's main food may be birds as well and pigeons seem to be the main food found in their digestive organs.
Wild birds have their own agendas and its harder to change up where and when they will eat so dont think that applys to wild flocks in the winter plus hawks tend to follow the wild flocks more at this time of year so I dont think it really matters . Around here they just seem to rotate around feeding stations all through out the day ,where ever you find birds eating you will find birds of prey feeding on them, just my observations over the years .
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Mulligan Mulligan is offline
Posted 26th January 2011, 07:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 3
Thanks for the responses/ suggestions. I really appreciate them. I know this is part of the life cycle but to be honest the pigeons never came near the park in winter as it was not a food source to them until I started feeding them there to keep them away from the traffic (last winter when no one was feeding them, we were seeing a dead pigeon on the road ever week!).

I am going to move the feeding spot next to the park benches (closer to the road but still away from the traffic) and will vary the frequency/ timing. I think I will also scatter the seeds around a bit so that the pigeons do not feed in such a large flock. It will be more challenging there because there are more people walking around and even though its not against the law to feed them in my park, I am sure I will be yelled at if I do it too openly.

Apparently hawks and falcons have become extremely common in our city and are very urbanized. Turns out, I was blissfully unaware of their existence until now. I am still not sure what kind of bird it was I saw except that it wanted pigeons! I think I was in a bit of a state of shock when I realized that it was not the orange pigeon that is usually part of my flock that had swooped down. It was actually not much bigger than a pigeon. It was the wing span of the bird and they way it lunged at a pigeon rather than the seed that made me realize that this was a bird of prey.
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whitedogsaloon whitedogsaloon is offline
Posted 30th January 2011, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1
Wink

Feral pigeons


Hi - I live in Ottawa and have a flock that came when they saw us feeding our dogs through the patio door and thought we might feed them too! So now they come 3 times a day - not early risers still have between 15 & 20 at a time. I look on them as my 'chickens'. What I'd like to know is where they sleep on these cold winter nights.
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Mulligan Mulligan is offline
Posted 31st January 2011, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 3
The pigeons I feed sleep on the window ledges of very low buildings by the side of the road. I see them all huddled together...winter is tough on all animals.

And yes, the hawks seem to hunt any time of the day. The one in my neighbourhood seems to be around all the time. I wonder if there is more than one. I tried to shift the feeding spot but the pigeons wouldn't eat. They came flying to me this Saturday when they saw me with the feed bag. I was thinking I would hang around and 'look out' for the hawk while they feed which is something I usually do not do as I don't want the pigeons to become too tame around me. But would not came down from their perches when I scattered the feed. I guess they don't feel safe feeding in the park anymore. I don't know what to do. Its very cold and I know they are hungry. There is absolutely nowhere else that is safe from traffic that I can feed them. I just try not to think about it too much. I am so glad that some of you have found good feeding spots for your pigeons.
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Ivor Ivor is offline
Posted 31st January 2011, 10:34 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Francisco, California
Posts: 450
I also feed a big flock and the hawk is coming more often now, the solution I guess was to change to feeding time, but the birds stay there during the day, and is really hard to keep checking, my recommendation is to feed the birds and stay there with them if you see a hawk you can always make noise, after the birds eat they usually leave the place. Good luck and thank you very much for helping these little creatures.

Ivette
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50FootQueenie 50FootQueenie is offline
Posted 15th February 2013, 05:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Country: United States
Posts: 12

Nature


I know it's difficult when you feel personally attached to a wild animal; today I felt sad when I went to one of my favorite birding spots where I normally see a little Mourning Dove, and I love Mourning Doves with all my heart--there was no dove today, but there were several Mourning Dove feathers on the leaves, along with a few Raptor feathers, and while I was watching the birds I feed at this spot in a park sometimes, I noticed a young Red Tailed Hawk flying and even diving in a few times, trying (unsuccessfully I have to add) for food; part of me felt very sad--had I played a part in getting a little dove killed by putting out seed regularly in that spot? Bothered, I did some research on line this evening, and found this, which helped me put things in perspective a bit: http://www.dvrconline.org/HawkatFeeder.html
I do like (and feed) Feral pigeons, but I also like Hawks, and the bottom line is, they belong here in North American, and they have to eat too--they're not evil mean spirits trying to torture pigeons or anything of that sort, and they don't hate pigeons as some people cruelly do--they're just trying to survive, and bottom line, that's part of the cycle of life; it helps me to think of it like that; I recently started volunteering at a wild bird shelter where we help a LOT of pigeons, and as part of an orientation to do work there, I learned that only 10% of birds in my city who die annually are victims of their natural predators (pigeons don't officially have natural predators, as they're introduced, but still); most birds are killed via human carelessness, pollution of their environment, or even human meanness--when I see, for example, an X-ray of a Cormorant who died because some lazy fisherman didn't dispose of his hook properly and the bird swallowed it and was killed, for NOTHING--or when I see pigeons who die of toxic lead poisoning in the city, THAT makes me feel very angry and sad, because it's a waste--it's a needless loss of life and suffering for a bird, just because people don't think about the consequences of their actions; a pigeon killed by a Hawk is different though, because, that birds life goes for something--the way Nature works is, some things must die so that other things can live (otherwise, bird populations can get out of control as well)--and a pigeon killed by a hawk isn't dying needlessly--it's allowing a native bird of prey (birds who also have a very hard existence) to survive; it helps me a little to think of it in those terms; maybe that could help you to, I hope; peace
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longlive_pigeon longlive_pigeon is offline
Posted 15th February 2013, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Country: Zimbabwe
Posts: 137
Chase it and scream at it. When you see the hawk circling above the flock planning to dive and make attack, jump like a mad guy and wave red plastic bag at it. This is silly, but this is what I do to scare away the hawk. Hope that this will help.

* by the way, in my city there are several species of little birds that act as lookout and help pigeons watch out for approaching hawks . They scream as a signal, so pigeons will immediately be startled and fly collectively all of a sudden (whats this motion in English?). As there are so many pigeons making circle in the sky, the hawk loses its concentration of its target and fails the hunt. The warning signals of these little birds have saved lives of many pgis. Dunno if these birds only exist in tropical or do they show up in bitterly cold region?

Last edited by longlive_pigeon; 15th February 2013 at 06:48 PM.
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50FootQueenie 50FootQueenie is offline
Posted 16th February 2013, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Country: United States
Posts: 12
We have several native birds in North America who do the same to Hawks--Blue Jays, Crows and Chickadees will all squawk at any raptor they spot in an effort to alert other birds of their own species (they're also useful if you're a birder trying to spot a roosting owl during the day; honestly, birds of prey don't have it easy and they wouldn't be reduced to taking city pigeons if we humans hadn't encroached upon so much of their habitat here; I can't say about other parts of the world, but here the harassment from smaller bird's isn't to protect Rock Pigeons or anybody but their own, per se, & here Rock Pigeons (as opposed to some other types of doves/pigeons) like Starlings and House Sparrows were brought her by white people; pigeons aren't nearly as damaging to North American native birds as other introduced species because they normally only live in disturbed areas native species won't even venture into, so I really do sympathize with them), but, and maybe I'm in the minority here, I still just don't like the idea of screaming at or harassing any bird just for doing what Nature has instructed it to--Hating on Hawks for being Hawks to me seems no better than people who kick, harass or otherwise get angry at feral pigeons; if I startled a Hawk trying to run it way from the birds I feed, and that Hawk then flew into traffic or into a tree or some such, I'd honestly feel terrible; if you can't handle losing some pigeons to raptor instinct though, maybe stopping your feeding in that location for at least two weeks is the most bird-friendly solution for all concerned (you don't want your pigeons to become too dependent on one feeding spot as well); bottom line too, if you have a job, you can't be there 24/7 to scream at the Hawk--it will out wait you if it's hungry enough.
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blongboy blongboy is offline
Posted 16th February 2013, 02:17 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Country: Pigeon Land
Location: NC Charlotte
Age: 23
Posts: 1,526
not much you can do ...i would just feed them corn ..keep their energy up
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hamlet hamlet is offline
Posted 17th February 2013, 04:22 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 510
To:
50FootQueenie: I wonder how a pigeon got lead poisoning? Do you know? Do they die from it? Is it curable? Many thanks.
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