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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Peregrines and the dangers of pigeon netting

I received a call along with Stuart from the LPP on Saturday in regards to a trapped juvenile peregrine in London, which at the time was thought to be trapped behind netting and not in it.

Peregrines, especially inexperienced juveniles and the fine gauge pigeon netting do not mix and where possible, on the sites that I monitor, I try to get it removed. From past observations it can be deadly to them.

In this case I was hopeful as we thought it would be a straightforward catch and release after removing the netting altogether, sadly this was not the case.

On arrival in the afternoon, the juvenile, a female, was hopelessly entwined in the netting and had obviously on occasion during the day, been hanging by one leg, it was apparent straight away that this leg had sustained damage.

Held fast with leg hooked up

As we cut her out I noticed the twine netting had completely gone round the foot, 2 talons had been ripped out completely, she must have been in agony. The circulation to the foot was cut off and there were further wounds up the leg as she no doubt tried to escape whilst hanging.

We eventually removed it all, a very big thanks to John for helping me; the twine was all over her leg and parts of her body, he had to be very careful cutting whilst I held her.

Hopelessly snagged

Snagged so tight with 2 talons already gone

I then took her down to the Wildlife Hospital, she was x rayed and it was found that there was further extensive damage to the whole of the leg, every joint, reluctantly they had to put her to sleep.

A very sad case and an end to a magnificent bird which highlights just one the hazards that they face on fledging in the City, but also brings home the issue of low guage pigeon netting on peregrine sites, it is a major major hazard and an accident waiting to happen I’m afraid.

Basically it should not be present at any breeding peregrine nest site aloft in their environment,especially loose netting, in  low light/nocturnal flying it is a massive danger, even with their eyesight.

Juveniles are most at risk as they simply don’t realise the danger it poses, sadly this bird found out the hard way.

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