Letter: No cause to destroy the peregrine

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Sir: The case put forward by pigeon fanciers for the destruction of the peregrine is indeed a poor one ('Pigeon fanciers ruffled by peregrine attacks', 14 July). In 1959 I was asked by the Nature Conservancy to take part in a peregrine survey in the West Country, as racing pigeon enthusiasts were seeking powers to destroy them in order to protect their birds. The results showed that the peregrine population was at an all-time low, the result of the use of certain pesticides.

Living in north Cornwall, I am able to confirm the comments of the RSPB's Roger Lovegrove that in bad weather many birds become disorientated and hang about the cliffs for weeks on end. It is these birds that are most likely to fall victim to a falcon. Peregrines are opportunists and always pick the weakest birds to attack, not the strongest.

If hawks are also to be blamed for the decline in songbirds when cats are estimated to kill 90 million a year, ought not something be done about this first?

Yours sincerely,


South Petherwin, South Cornwall