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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Pigeon fanciers' fears after up to 1,000 birds go missing

Pigeon fanciers across Cumbria are waiting for scores of birds which failed to return from a race which started in the Lancashire town of Garstang.

Les Blacklock photo
Les Blacklock

Several pigeon racing clubs across the area took part in the event, with around 2,500 birds released.

But many – possibly up to 1,000 birds, according to one estimate – had still not returned yesterday.

Les Blacklock, one of Cumbria’s most respected fanciers and a long-serving Workington Victoria FC member, who has been honoured for his work within the sport, said he believed peregrine falcons may have disrupted the return flight of many of the birds.

He said: “There have been a lot of losses over the last few weeks and I reckon peregrine falcons are behind 90 per cent of the problems.

“I’ve got six birds missing out of 16.”

Fellow pigeon fancier John Walsh said he was still waiting for 10 of his 40 birds which have still failed to make the 57-mile return journey to the Workington loft.

He said: “I’ve had three-quarters of my birds back but other people have only had half. There could be a thousand birds not back yet. It was a beautiful day on Sunday but there was fog and mist in some areas. Everything was okay up to Millom but birds tend to fly round the mist.

“One of my birds was reported to be in Skipton.”

Pigeon racing clubs right along the west coast – including in Flimby, Aspatria, Clifton, Harrington and Maryport – had birds in the race.

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