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I have been thinking of ways to deal with hawks that attack roller pigeons. I read an article from 2004 from the UK that said they were planning to use a spray and "something to make the meat taste bad" to deter raptor attacks on racing pigeons. I have emailed the Royal Pigeon Racing Club and am waiting information.

Aversion therapy relies on the perceived connection between an target item and an unpleasant experience. The Garcia Effect is a well documented phenomena that is based on Taste/smell and nausea. If a person becomes sick from eating a food item they will tend to form an aversion to that food item and avoid it in the future. If we can put something in the bath of our rollers pigeons that will induce temporary nausea in the predator the Garcia effect may become our ally. I believe it may be more effective with roller pigeons due to the fixed location of the birds. The bird of prey would come sample a few pigeons then move on to other locations. I do not believe it would work with racing pigeons due to the lack of a locality. The raptor would simply kill and abandon the carcass and move on to another bird that is not treated. The taste would have to be very strong. Birds have only 600-900 taste receptors on their tongues where mammals have tens of thousands. They can taste bitter. I wonder what would be aversive to carnivorous birds but not to seed eating birds?
 

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I have been thinking of ways to deal with hawks that attack roller pigeons. I read an article from 2004 from the UK that said they were planning to use a spray and "something to make the meat taste bad" to deter raptor attacks on racing pigeons. I have emailed the Royal Pigeon Racing Club and am waiting information.

Aversion therapy relies on the perceived connection between an target item and an unpleasant experience. The Garcia Effect is a well documented phenomena that is based on Taste/smell and nausea. If a person becomes sick from eating a food item they will tend to form an aversion to that food item and avoid it in the future. If we can put something in the bath of our rollers pigeons that will induce temporary nausea in the predator the Garcia effect may become our ally. I believe it may be more effective with roller pigeons due to the fixed location of the birds. The bird of prey would come sample a few pigeons then move on to other locations. I do not believe it would work with racing pigeons due to the lack of a locality. The raptor would simply kill and abandon the carcass and move on to another bird that is not treated. The taste would have to be very strong. Birds have only 600-900 taste receptors on their tongues where mammals have tens of thousands. They can taste bitter. I wonder what would be aversive to carnivorous birds but not to seed eating birds?
You'd also have to be certain that your chemical agent was safe for preening (or if you wanted the meat to taste bad) ingestion. Not sure a bad taste would keep a hungry enough bird away though. Hunger can drive animals and people to eat almost anything.
 

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I have seen red tail hawks, on numerous occasions, retch up garter snakes that have musked, while being eaten.
It never did the snake any good and the red tails continued to catch snakes; but it's possible they would be less likely to go after snakes, in the future, then other game.
A food averson could put pigeons lower on the list of edible foods for a hawk or falcon, but even bad tasting food is better than starving.
I think it may cut the number of attacks on pigeons by older experienced birds of prey, but young starving hawks would not be likely to be deterrred.
 

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I have seen red tail hawks, on numerous occasions, retch up garter snakes that have musked, while being eaten.
It never did the snake any good and the red tails continued to catch snakes; but it's possible they would be less likely to go after snakes, in the future, then other game.
A food averson could put pigeons lower on the list of edible foods for a hawk or falcon, but even bad tasting food is better than starving.
I think it may cut the number of attacks on pigeons by older experienced birds of prey, but young starving hawks would not be likely to be deterrred.

Have you ever been musked by a snake? BLECH. I would retch too. lol.

But can you put something like that on the pigeons without hurting them is what I'm asking? Would something gentle enough for the pigeons be bad enough for the hawk to hate it? I know taste-deterrent works with other species to a point (till hunger overcomes it)--but my main concern here is whether one can find an agent that truly fits the bill (safely.)
 

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I've been musked by garter snakes and a few other species, many times.
I used to catch, keep and breed hundreds of garter snakes.
The smell is very hard to wash off.
My favorite garter snake, who was also the biggest I have ever seen, had 78 babies one year.
I always fed the babies real well on minnows and red worms, until they were white checkered, from their scales stretching apart and let them go.
Snake musk may be of use on pigeons.
It can't be too toxic or I wouldn't be around still
 

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There must be somthing to it. My dad made me hate onions as a kid, and to this day I don't even allow them in my house let alone cook with.
Dave
 

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I've been musked by garter snakes and a few other species, many times.
I used to catch, keep and breed hundreds of garter snakes.
The smell is very hard to wash off.
My favorite garter snake, who was also the biggest I have ever seen, had 78 babies one year.
I always fed the babies real well on minnows and red worms, until they were white checkered, from their scales stretching apart and let them go.
Snake musk may be of use on pigeons.
It can't be too toxic or I wouldn't be around still
I wish I could have kept some garter snakes. Dad hates them though, so it was safer to just let them be on their way. I spent a lot of summers stopping little boys from hurting them and then moving them into our yard. For years they had a wintering spot right in our front yard. :)

But you never licked it off your skin lol. Pigeons need to preen. The first few birds who this was tried on would have to be watched closely for feather condition--since the taste aversion might also keep them away from preening themselves.
 
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