ONE of the country’s top ‘pigeon fanciers’ Max Gollop, from Lyme Regis, is looking forward to the coming pigeon racing season but not to the coming two months, which could prove deadly for some of his highly-prized birds.
Peregrine falcons and sparrow hawks are at their worst for bringing down racing pigeons during March and April, as the predators fatten up for their own nesting season.
Last week Max had a first-hand reminder of a deadly peregrine attack as he looked out of his kitchen window to see one of his race winners taken out of the sky by a hungry peregrine.
He said: “I was just watching my birds circling the loft and witnessed a peregrine sweep in from the side and grab the pigeon in his huge talons. The pigeon kept trying to fly even though it was clasped firmly, it was pitiful to watch as it was taken off into the distance.”
Max has been winning top competitions for over 30 years and says he has lost more than 100 birds to the predators, some worth quite a lot of money.
Max, who has spent many years witnessing his birds being attacked, pointed out that some of his prize pigeons have white wing feathers and when the birds are flying they act as a beacon and attracts peregrines to attack.
Max, who also runs the Marine Aquarium on the Cobb, admits there is little he can do about the attacks and has to hope the problem is not too deadly this year.