Monday, January 21, 2008

Rollers back in the News


Roller Pigeon fanciers are back in the news with a disturbing but illuminating video on CNN revealing the nature of those busted in a recent sting operation. I still receive an occasional cryptic email regarding past blog entries about this particular subject (posts linked below). Some of these fanciers would have you believe accipiters, like the Cooper's Hawk, are responsible for major declines in native songbird populations, which apparently provides enough justification for them to take the law into their own hands. However, the real justification behind their despicable criminal behavior is that they feel they have a right to kill federally protected hawks because their non-native pet pigeons are caught as prey items when released in training or competition flocks.

Back in July, I responded to one fancier's piffle:

"From fossils collected in California, New Mexico and Florida, Cooper's Hawks have existed in North America since at least the late Pleistocene (half a million years ago). Birds that constitute traditional prey items for these and other raptors somehow managed to flourish for tens of thousands of years in their presence, including the Passenger Pigeon."

Bill Schmoker commented:

"If pigeon fanciers supplement this natural feedback system with their easy targets, they really can't blame the hawks for doing what they do. It would be like me training Labrador Retrievers to swim in the Farallon Islands and getting angry at the Great White Sharks for eating them instead of their normal seal diet, and demanding that the government grant me an exception to wildlife protection laws so I could kill them in order to protect my unnatural, un-vital activity."

Links:

Birds of Prey and Rollers

Winged Thugs

CNN Video: Pigeon breeders target hawks

Birder's World Magazine: An outrage against hawks and falcons

Cooper's Hawk image © 2008 Mike McDowell

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