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The pigeon's breeding is why the hawk and pigeon exist. The pigeon keeps the numbers up by breeding many birds a year. The hawk controls the numbers by taking one or two a day or some other food source.

I have learned to fly late in the evening about thirty minutes before dark after mister cooper has hopefully fed. I use bottle rockets, an air horn, and an air rifle, The air rifle is pumped only enough to sting not kill.

I release old birds first and watch them, not because they fly faster but because their eyes are better. If mister cooper is around they spot him before I can. If the old birds are relaxed them my young birds can fly. If the old birds spot or trap quickly without being called in then the cooper is around, the rifle, airhorn and bottle rockets come into play. I also use them if while out in the yard but not flying my birds but I see mister cooper.

I have a pair of coopers nesting in a neighbor's yard 200 yards away. Before I started this plan I lost seven birds total. Since my plan only one old bird has gotten hurt. I have also notice the hawks avoid me. As I walk into the yard I sometimes see the hawks fly away. I used to observe them but lately they will not let me near them. My guess is they do not like me that much, but if it keeps them away from the birds I'm happy.

I never leave the birds while they are flying if I can.

I also keep my flying time to 30 minutes or less.
 

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Hawks do not do it in the air like eagles. I watch two do it on a branch earlier this year before I found their nest. Beautiful birds and, like my birds, beautiful to watch fly. I just wish they had different eating habits.

The Hawks are good training for homing pigeons in that they learn this one danger to watch for. This is why I release my old birds first, they already know and make great lookouts. My young birds are not strong on the wing yet and the Hawk's nest being so close make them easy food. But as they get stronger they wil learn.

Because, like little John, I do not like prisoners.
 

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Look guys, I know we want fast and smart birds, but wake up. Pigeons, regardless of breed, color are in Hawks food chain. So Hawks exist to remove the weak, old and sick of any flock it come across. Pigeons instinctively know this, but because man keeps the pigeon confined in one location and hawks are predators of opportunity, our lofts are food sources with one way in and one way out, We also breed at certain times a year with many young weak birds at one time for hawks to feed on. So man makes it easy for hawks at certain times of the year to feed on pigeons.

So, my point is nature gives us brains and opposable thumbs to use. Today when my neighborhood hawks came by to check on my birds as I was flying them, they got blasted with an air horn and my son’s paintball gun, (the gun fires lots and fast). Never hit the hawks but they freaked having balls fly at them. My young birds also trapped fasted than ever today. Yes, I locked down my loft for a week or two after the hawks killed three birds in one day. But my birds are meant to fly. So I did some reading, searched out my hawks and used what god gave me to protect my birds as best I can. This is what I came up with.

1. Bottle rockets to scare off when circling.
2 Air rifle to sting hawk sitting in tree, (pump only enough to hit cardboard but not punch through it).
3. Hold air horn when my birds are flying to startle hawk if on attack.
4. Son’s paint ball gun because it fires lots of balls in the air around hawks and scares them away.
5. Because I have, reached out and touched the hawks, my being out with the birds now deters the hawks from attacking.

I will not kill my hawks like the dummies in Cal, because I like them and do not break the law, (jail just isn’t worth it). But, while pigeons are in the hawk’s food chain, I remind the hawk he is in my food chain.

Yes, I am going to lose a bird here and there, but I'm not going to make it an easy meal.
 

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My latest weapon is an auto fire plastic BB gun because I can spray at the hawks while they are flying overhead. Doesn't hurt them but it unnerves the hawks to have something attacking them while flying. I now got this nesting pair of hawks avoiding me. They even fly away from me when I am up the street at my neighbor's house.

So far I haven't lost a bird since I went on the attack and never leave my birds alone, (knock on wood). In some small way I'm a little sad. I did love watching the Hawks when my birds were locked up but now they will not let me near them.
 

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Today was a laugh. I let the birds out after work around 6:45pm. I went around the front of the house but caught sight of the hawk flying into my neighbor's yard behind my house. I sighted in on him from around the corner of my house so he didn't see me and fired just as he took off and came in for an attack. Full auto paint balls coming at him made him flare out to hit the brakes which also made him an open target. Poor thing got hit twice I think and I bet he didn't stop until he hit the next county. I could not have made that shot if I tried. I wasn't even expecting to hit him, just scare him like usual. Anyway I got one hawk with a little color in my neighborhood. I also had to clean my neighbor's back side of his house because the rest of the paint balls hit his house. Lucky I didn't hit a window.
 

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On the feed issue, I feed them for ten minutes then remove any left over food. Because of that my birds trap fast to eat. Except one hen who loves to fly, she will only trap at dark. That one I just can't figure, she knows when all the other birds trap including her mate and knows the food will not be there, but she flys and flys. She does eat well in the during morning feeding.
 
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