This past June, I blogged about a pigeon fancier club that was trapping and killing native raptors to protect introduced pet birds aka roller pigeons. I thought it was interesting that the club's official statement admitted the was illegal and didn't condone it, but did feel that they were entitled to get rid of hawks for killing their valuable pigeons--much the same way farmers protect their livestock.
Well, Birder's World blog recently blogged about it and had some of the actual photos from the investigation--including a photo of the live trap with a bait pigeon and freshly trapped (live) Cooper's hawk--that hawk survived, although many did not.
I've said it before and I'll say it again--this is unreasonable. If you have a prey species as a pet and then let it loose in the wild where there are naturally occurring predators and then get upset when the pet gets eaten is unreasonable. If I let my pet rabbit Cinnamon loose along the Mississippi River near Red Wing, Minnesota where there are a bunch of bald eagles, and then she got eaten--that would be my fault. She's been raised as a pet and not to survive in the wild. Just because I have her and love to watch her run does not mean that I have the right to let her run where ever I want and expect nothing bad to happen.
Roller pigeons are not part of our natural ecosystem. And even if decades ago you could fly these birds without hawks taking them--think about the history. We didn't have that many hawks because of pesticides and wanton shooting decades ago. Times change and environments change. Native wildlife puts up with enough trying to learn to live with us. We don't need to take native predators out of the skies because someone insists on flying their non native pet and not want to deal with the consequences.
These pigeon fanciers really should consider switching to falconry, you could fly those birds and not have to worry as much about them being eaten and you still get to watch some cool flying action. Although, last time I put that in the blog, some pigeon fanciers sent me nasty emails telling me (with some creative profanity woven in), "How dare you call yourself a bird lover with an attitude like that! Blah blah blah." I love birds--I even enjoy pigeons, I just want people to take responsibility for their pets.
And if you need something cleansing after reading this, here's the reason why Cinnamon disapproves so much--I make her dress like an elf and dance with birds (it may take a minute for the video to load).