BSPB started collaboration with racing pigeon clubs to mitigate the conflict with birds of prey

Jul 06, 2022
Over the past few months BSPB established collaboration with racing pigeon clubs in Bulgaria. The aim is to test different methods to mitigate the conflict between the pigeon keepers and the birds of prey. BSPB distributed 30 color sprays to members of 4 racing pigeon clubs in the area of Sofia and Pernik. In the coming weeks 30 more sprays will be distributed among members of at least 2 more clubs in the area of Pirdop and Varna. The pigeon keepers shared information and experience from using the sprays and other methods to prevent attack on their pigeon by birds of prey. The preliminary information hints that the pigeon marked with color sprays are attacked less frequently than the unsprayed pigeons. 

BSPB provided also 15 GPS rings for racing pigeons. These rings collect detailed GPS data which reveal the track of the flying pigeons during the races. We aim to establish the tracks most frequently used by the pigeons during the races and overlay with our data on birds of prey distribution in order to identify areas where the risk of predation on the pigeons is higher. In the coming years we plan to build wild pigeon lofts in the hotspots of attacks on racing pigeons in order to mitigate the conflict with the pigeon keepers.

In addition, BSPB developed an anonymous online questionnaire for pigeon keepers. The questionnaire is promoted among members of the clubs. It aims to gather information on the problems the pigeon keepers face, their attitude towards birds of prey, time of day and periods of the year when the attacks on their pigeons occur more frequently and possible mitigation measures. This data will be analysed and the most efficient mitigation measures and lessons learnt will be widely disseminated among the pigeon keepers. 

The main threats for the raptors are illegal killing and poisoning. The various mitigation measures aim to reduce the cases of these illegal activities. All raptors species in Bulgaria are protected by law, therefore killing or capturing raptors is strictly forbidden. Raptors are part of the natural heritage of Bulgaria!

Photos: BSPB