Below is an excerpt from an odd little article in The Scotsman about the great sport of pigeon racing being in danger as membership levels are dropping to an all time low. Perhaps membership is low because people are finding falconry way more exciting than pigeons?
PIGEON racing will die out in Scotland within 20 years if the number of birds of prey continues to soar at recent record levels, experts warned yesterday.
The number of sparrowhawks and peregrine falcons, which feed on pigeons, have hit unprecedented levels, and an estimated 120,000 racing birds are being killed in Scotland every year.
"It is also devastating for our children and grandchildren when they see sparrowhawks attacking and eating our pigeons in the garden. It is a family sport and they become attached to the pigeons as pets, so to see them being eaten alive is just horrendous.
"What has been happening is sparrowhawks are attacking our pigeons in the garden and the peregrines are terrorising them while they are flying during races, which is forcing them to go to the ground where they are being eaten by other predators, such as foxes.
"We are not saying we want rid of every single raptor, but Scotland now has more than 50 per cent of Britain's peregrine population and we want the law to be changed so that we can trap and kill the ones which attack our pigeons."
Gill Reilly, a pigeon fancier from Edinburgh, says the sport is facing a bleak future. "I used to have 40 pigeons but now I have only 15 left," he said. "There are hundreds of pigeons getting lost at every race now. Last week, 60 fanciers liberated 180 birds, but only 11 returned, which used to be just unheard of. I have lost some real beauties and now I just feel like leaving the sport."