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Live pigeon covered in ‘oil or liquid’ reported

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A SIGHTING yesterday of a live racing pigeon thought to be covered in pesticides has been reported to police as the investigation into bird of prey deaths continues.

La Societe land management and conservation officer Jamie Hooper at Grantez Mill, Castel. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28690818)

A £16,500 reward is available for a successful conviction in the case of poisoned raptors.

A buzzard and four peregrine falcons killed by illegal pesticides have been found since April 2019, with evidence of pigeon baiting.

Yesterday an experienced anonymous birdwatcher reported a live racing pigeon covered in oil or liquid at Grantez Mill, Castel, which could barely fly.

‘We have officially reported this sighting to the police. Whenever we receive information we pass it on, but usually they say we need more concrete evidence,’ La Societe land management and conservation officer Jamie Hooper said.

‘A wildlife watcher made the report. They know what’s what, and saw the pigeon just as they arrived. They said the bird was covered in what looked like oil or liquid.

‘Of course it could be a false alarm, but given the recent events that seems unlikely.’

There is no doubt it was a racing pigeon.

‘They have almost burgundy, red checker plumage in a rusty brown colour, which you don’t see on wild birds.

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‘My wife and I have kept pigeons in the past for weddings and funerals. Occasionally you would lose one to peregrines, to weather, exhaustion or dehydration. But that is a risk you must take, not take it into your own hands.’

Local pigeon fanciers have remained tight-lipped throughout the investigation.

‘You would think if it wasn’t pigeon fanciers, that the club would publicly condemn this illegal behaviour,’ said Mr Hooper.

It is believed the pigeon was poisoned deliberately as bait to kill more birds of prey, but the body has not been recovered.

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‘I suspect the liquid was pesticides. These pesticides are deadly to people and pets. Many people walk their dogs here on the green lane circuit to Fauxquets Valley.’

More birds may have been poisoned but their bodies have not been recovered, posing a serious threat to humans and living creatures alike.

‘When we retrieve poisoned peregrines, we are told to wear gloves, double bag the birds, keep them in lidded containers and be very careful.’

The public are asked to watch out for illegal raptor persecution, to document anything suspicious and officially report it.

‘We are grateful this is remaining in the public eye, and ask if people would keep an eye out.’

Emily Hubert

By Emily Hubert
News reporter

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