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Jaye's Avatar
Jaye Jaye is offline
Posted 21st March 2008, 08:52 AM
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DISASTER - hawk attacks


Hi all.

Well, my initiation to this chatboard started out so positively, w/ a post under "found pigeons" eliciting some wonderful advice from a whole bunch of good folks.

While the raising of my saved baby goes well...unfortunately, I have realized that my wild pals who live around my building are under great danger.

Long story short...for 10 years there have been pigeons setting up house in the lightwell of my rowhouse and the one adjacent. It has been a great place...many generations of babies have fledged and many families of pigeons have lived there....and come and gone over time.

Maddeningly...after 10 years...some raptor has finally figured this out. Yesterday, I found the mangled corpse of one of "the twins" (see my other thread), who are adolescents...in the bottom of the lightwell.

Sadness overcomes me...at the loss of such a great bird, and at now seeing the remaining twin all by herself for the first time in her life. Their parents are gone....disappeared one month apart from each other.

W/ advice from NYC Rescue, it seemed that my lightwell had a resident rat which killed some nestlings. Thus, I had set up some anti-rat devices, and figured that the problem was solved. For 2+ weeks....everything was peaceful and quiet.

In fact, this rat turned out to be a very bold hawk...because rats don't attack full-growns...and because, yesterday afternoon...I saw it in the lightwell....it spooked and flew off when it saw me thru the window.

So, basicallly....3 hawk killings in a period of 3 weeks, in the lightwell...4 in a period of 6 weeks in the vicinity of my building....plus the dissapearance of 2 resident veterans in the period of 3 months.

Question:

What do I do now ? This is the first hawk (we live near a park) in this time to figure out that my lightwell can be it's lunchbox. So, the birds which I thought had a safe, peaceful haven are now in danger of it's unquestionable return. Also, ...this puts a crimp in my soft release plans for the baby (although my intent was to release her in front of the building, to another sub-flock, and not in the lightwell).


2 alternatives:

1) hawk deterrents ~ any such thing ? The hawks here hate the ravens here, the ravens lord it over them. But wouldn't a plastic raven scare the pigies away ? What about reflectors ? Or partial netting over the lightwell ? Plastic owls (same thing) ? A 'scarecrow' ?


2) Is it just time to shoo them away and close up the lightwell to all birds w/ netting ? Am I admitting that, for the sake of the 6 adults who still reside here...it is better off to let them find a new roosting spot ?
This would sadden me greatly, as they have been a part of my life for 10 years now...but maybe I am being selfish in trying to concoct some solution which will ultimately fail and cost more lives in the process; just so I can maintain what has been a blessed situation up until the past few months.

I would like to act fast to aviod any further deaths....but maybe that's not realistic.


Help, please.


Last edited by Jaye; 21st March 2008 at 09:38 AM..
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Skyeking's Avatar
Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 21st March 2008, 09:15 AM
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1) hawk deterrents ~ any such thing ? The hawks here hate the ravens here, the ravens lord it over them. But wouldn't a plastic raven scare the pigies away ? What about reflectors ? Or partial netting over the lightwell ?
You will get a lot of advice on this. Personally I don't think there is much you can do as far as keeping the hawks away altogether, once they find pigeons in the area they come back to visit, as it is their favorite meal. Crows and ravens do have a tendancy to interrupt hawks by sounding their calls and letting other birds know they are near.They also will try to chase them away and can be a real nuisance to them. If pigeons aren't a source of food for the ravens/crows, you can keep them in the area by feeding them their favorite foods.

2) Is it just time to shoo them away and close up the lightwell to all birds w/ netting ? Am I admitting that, for the sake of the 6 adults who still reside here...it is better off to let them find a new rossting spot ?

If you only have a few ferals perhaps they can be moved. You can also feed them real early in the morning and change their schedule when they are most vulnerable to hawk attacks, or slowly change the location of where they feed.



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Charis Charis is offline
Posted 21st March 2008, 09:44 AM
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I agree with Treesa...there isn't much you can do. It doesn't matter where we are located, birds of prey affect all the pigeons we love.
Just so you know, rats will attack adult pigeons. I know because I've had it happen.
I'm really sorry.
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Jaye's Avatar
Jaye Jaye is offline
Posted 21st March 2008, 10:20 AM
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Hi and thanks.

I guess...what I am saying here...is...I am not just going to do nothing.

Nothing has resulted in 3 kills in 3 weeks, all right here in the lightwell. One thing if a predator is taking nestlings....as that can be alleviated simply by removing eggs.

But now it's taking grownups....and I cannot really weigh that the joy having these guys around brings me... is worth the danger of having them so vulnerable.

My thinking is: doing nothing can be of no help to these guys. The hawk has figured out a nice meal site and has no qualms visiting it. I am certainly not around 24/7 so I cannot be vigilant.

So, while Trees' idea seems interesting...alter their schedules a bit to get them out of the 'well earlier in the morning (the kills have come in the early AM)...I cannot do that on a regular basis

So, if I can't deter it with some sort of prop or device...

... I can disallow the remaining pigeons from residing here any longer.

If the former has had some success, then I would love suggestions. If not, then at least with the latter....I am not leaving these guys in such an obviously dangerous location.

(I realize who's to say that another roost location here in the city is any safer ? But...could it be much less secure ? )

If deterrents don't work...then shouldn't I at least evict these guys for their own good ?

Is this thinking reasonable ? Or am I panicking ?

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pigeonpoo pigeonpoo is offline
Posted 21st March 2008, 10:52 AM
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You could try hanging up some CDs. The light reflecting off them may stop an attack. If you can get a recording of an eagle owl, play that. How about an old fashioned scarecrow? I don't know if any of these will stop the hawk but they should act as a deterrent. You will need to move them around to stop the hawk getting used to them.
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Lovebirds Lovebirds is offline
Posted 21st March 2008, 01:27 PM
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Jaye, sorry to hear about the hawk problems.
Pigeon fanciers face them all the time, and to put it bluntly, there's really nothing that you can do that will stop this hawk or hawks from attacking the birds. Especially now that they've found "the spot".............
We (pigeon fanciers) have looked for a solution for years and years, and there are none. Hawks are going to do what hawks do and that's eat pigeons. You could try moving the birds, but sooner or later, the hawks will find them where ever they go. The only consolation you will have is you won't see it.
You can hang CD's, put up fake owls, or whatever. All it will do is deter them for a short time until they realize that what they are seeing isn't going to hurt them and then they'll just ignore it.
I'm sorry to sound so dismal, but that's the reality of nature and when pigeons gather in a certain spot, it's just a matter of time before mother nature catches up to them.
About the only thing I can think of is to start removing any eggs and don't let the pigeon population grow any more. That only adds to the problem and gives ol' Mr. Hawk youngsters for an even easier meal.
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maryjane maryjane is offline
Posted 21st March 2008, 05:19 PM
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Try to get as many crows and ravens to hang around as possible. It's pretty easy to "train" a flock of crows to come down and eat; the ones in my neighborhood even see me at the corner store and come down to me since I feed them at my house. Others have tried the CDs, as well as recently I've heard of paper bags. Maybe even plastic bags? That would be kind of tacky, I know. I have also heard of someone using silver tinsel, the kind that you put on Christmas trees. But again, these are all short-term options. I suppose you could rotate the "scare-off" methods to keep them away. I think the best deterrent by far are the crows and ravens, as long as they don't bother the pigeons themselves. I'm sorry you have to deal with this, it is such a big problem for so many pigeon people. Of course the hawks have their right to live and eat, which makes it even more of a dilemma. I hope you are able to work things out somehow.
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LokotaLoft
Posted 21st March 2008, 07:31 PM
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I have to put my two cents worth in here as I am loathing the coopers hawks around here as of late and theres nothing that can be done about it .. you can try anything you want but the only thing that will stop them from coming is when they run out of their food source ( your pigeon buddys)...so much for that theory of migration when all will be well there will always be some out there lurking somewhere just waiting to take your joy and happiness away ... crows an ravens will only do so much to a bird that flys between the trees and ambushes at will .. its just soooo sad that one has a right to live over another in the eyes of wildlife conservation and how rude is that when all your money goes into your pets ,hobbies and feathered friends just to watch it fly off in the claws of some evil hungry beast as a happy meal
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Jaye Jaye is offline
Posted 21st March 2008, 08:15 PM
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Thanks, so far, to everyone for their input.

I have to say...i never figured any predator would be ballsy enough to descend down a 4-storey lightwell which is only 9 x 14.

I have been reading about hawks now (figures)...and learned that the redtails (most prevalent around here) are space predators...they do not descend into urban alleys, lightwells, courst, the like. That is all we have ever had here...and I have lived here since '89.

This hawk, if it is a coopers or certainly something similar...is merciless. Some folks might find that kinda impressive...but for me, it is very heartbreaking...as you have said, L.L.

I have gone ahead and hung some CD's...as well as flags (I am a soccer referee....hahaha...we have a lotta flags). I have also ordered a few things.....I know this will be a temporary fix, but...well...just "but"...

A lotta Ravens around here...and they love hardboiled eggs (a neighbor of mine a block away treats them to these). Those are friggin' smart buggers, those corvids ! whether I can coax them to my direct vicinity...we will see...I may give it a try (and my neighbors will LOVE me even more).

If the 6 adults don't return due to my 'remodeling' of their lightwell...well, perhaps this is all for the best. I will miss the surviing twin, though...that pair was very special to me...they survived a lot of travails.

As for the victimized one...well...I just picked up a feather of his from the lightwell ground, and have placed it on my wall. He was a very special guy...he fledged, and managed to thrive as a wild bird for a few months. I will remember seeing them up there in the sky, all together, just gliding so gracefully and being out and about w/ his friends...and that is what it meant to be a free, wild pigeon...

(I am also crying as I write this....)

By all means, any more input, opinion, or suggestions appreciated.
pigeon kid pigeon kid is offline
Posted 21st March 2008, 08:28 PM
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i am very sorry to hear this. i hope the CDs will help.
maby you can build a little box for them so only they can fit in and the hawk cant get in.
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Charis Charis is offline
Posted 21st March 2008, 09:28 PM
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I'm so sorry too. I know how much you are hurting.
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If all the beasts were
gone, men would die
from great loneliness of
spirit, for whatever
happens to the beasts
also happens to the man.
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Another Life, Gone To The Birds!

DO NO HARM

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Tim Rossiter Tim Rossiter is offline
Posted 23rd March 2008, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 14

Living the new hawk threat


Jaye, I have a pair Red Tails, some Coopers and worst of all a pair of falcons all year round. I can look around my loft any time of day and see some hawk in the area. My flock has been decimated and I have them on permanent lockdown. I just got done building a large aviary. CDs, mirrors, plastic owls, whistles and an one insane jumping and SCREAMING human are all things that used to work but not now. I think that urban sprawl has created an extreme competition among predators that they throw caution to the wind. I have even seen Red Tails harvesting road kill. Itís a shame we have to pay the price for overdevelopment. Itís ironic that the newest development which is about a mile from my loft uses a bird theme for the streets names.
Anyway here is some good news. I am going to train my new birds to trap as fast as possible and discourage them from roosting on the loft, shed and house. This is how the Red tails and Coopers made their kills. I have also, after much effort, attracted crows. I put a chicken egg on a 8 foot pole everyday. The squirrels which the hawks in my area have little taste for and I have an abundance of, leave the eggs alone. It took a few weeks but finally paid off. When they werenít coming to eat it I left it out for about 3 to 4 days (it was pretty cold). The eggs pay off. The crows, sometimes even a single one chase the hawks away. I have a lot of hope these things give my birds a fighting chance. Also donít give up the other deterrents Iím sure they help but nothing is more powerful then hunger.
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philodice philodice is offline
Posted 23rd March 2008, 08:22 AM
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I think crows are your best bet. I relax and smile every time I hear a crow caw. This is a raven friendly area, due to the neighbors are also pro-crow. They raise tiny fancy breed dogs and can't abide the idea of a raptor attack.
Predator activity is off the charts in my area as well. We have lost most of our wild quail and rabbits. The dove population is dwindling, but it doesn't seem the raptors have oriented on pigeons yet here. Very few pigeons in the area, but their population is safely roosted in an apartment complex and seems to be thriving.
Jaye's Avatar
Jaye Jaye is offline
Posted 23rd March 2008, 10:47 AM
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Thanks, folks.

As I have said, there is an abundance of Ravens in the direct vicinity...they are on surrounding buildings all the time. I just have to try to get 'em closer to mine.

I like the egg on the pole idea...they really dig hardboiled eggs, and recognize them...so I am going to try to put some more time into that.

Does anyone know of a good owl-call CD ? Or corvid-call CD ?

Also, per Trees' earlier entry....I have been going back in my mind and figuring when the approximate times of the kills must have been. They were morning...later than 7 AM, but earlier than 9-10 AM.

The time I saw the hawk actually in the lightwell (the afternoon after he killed one of the twins) it was just before sunset, 6:45....I think he had come back for the corpse, which I had given burial to by then.

the adults tend to return here between 7-7:30 PM.

So....I am up at 6:45 in the kitchen, making breakfast and then making the pigeons skidaddle by 7:15 AM (sunrise is at about 6:55) and putting some crazy stuff out on the roof and lightwell between then and almost-sunset. i.e. I am trying to keep them from making their midday-visits.

Kinda like you said, Tim. Maybe if I just give 'em a place to bed-down and then send 'em off until the next sunset, this could be a good thing to do ?

The CD chain and flags and fake model Ravens seem to cause no alarm to the pigeons at all....but I am hoping they do to the hawk (at least for a time). Also am working on a great stuffed effigy-scarecrow of myself (although the effigy is better-looking than I am).

One thing I didn't mention is that, there are a whole lotta wild pigeons in my n'hood. While I am a block off of a park...I am also a block away from a major neighborhood retail street...lotsa eateries, cafes, and such. It is not as if my lightwell is the only one which is a roost for pigeons. In my block alone, there are at least 3 flocks which sleep somewhere around here...I have never figured out exactly where (i.e. the front of building pigeons are not the same group as my lightwell friends, and halfway down the block there is another group entirely).I would estimate within a 3-block radius, there must be at least 7 or 8 pigeon "gangs" (hey, it's a city ) More groups the further the radius becomes. Just a beautiful thing to see when they join up on their joyful, gliding flights here and there.

I dunno if this is good or bad...just thought I'd mention it.


Last edited by Jaye; 23rd March 2008 at 10:49 AM..
 

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