Monday, December 11, 2006

I Saw The Strangest Thing On The Way To Work This Morning................



There I was battling the horizontal rain and general misery of the Scottish winter and pretty much resigning myself to getting very wet when I saw something that I still have difficulty believing. On a patch of grass on Woodlands Road, just next to the Methodist Church, I saw out of the corner of my eye what I thought was a rather large looking pigeon. I stopped and stared for a bit and noticed it was absolutely motionless. On closer inspection It looked for all the world like some sort of bird of prey. The light was certainly poor, so I moved towards it to make 100% sure. As I got within about six feet of it, whatever it was launched into the air. What took me completely by surprise though was the pigeon that had obviously been trapped under this big beasties talons, scrambling skywards in a desperate attempt to escape. All that was left was a pile of pigeon feathers and me standing looking astonished, glancing towards passing pedestrians as if to say "Fuck!, Did you see that?"

Did I save a pigeons life?..............More likely I denied some hungry bird of prey a bit of breakfast, though I would imagine the pigeon wouldn't have got very far after the mauling it seemed to have taken. What astonished me was seeing such a thing in an urban area, though this particular spot looks to be a rather fertile hunting area, full of fat, lazy pigeons feasting on leftover bread left on the grass by well meaning locals.

Does anyone know their birds of prey? Can they hazard a guess at what it was and why it was hunting in the city? Is this normal?

It was bigger than a pigeon obviously, but not huge. It was a brown/black colour as far as I could make out.

Anyone?

10 comments:

Sandra said...

Did they not introduce hawks to control the pigeon numbers in London? Or did I dream that?
Nope, just googled it and I was right. See here.

ill man said...

Yeah, but I can't see Glasgow Shitty Council shelling out £125 grand for a bird of prey. To be honest, the river Kelvin is nearby and so is Kelvingrove park, so I can see where it's come from. Just not something you see every day...........

matt lobster said...

Did it eminate a sense of evil?

ill man said...

Menace more than evil.

alan said...

peregrine falcons nest in glasgow (most famously on one of the big cranes at clydeside, or thereabouts) but also on some of the tall buildings in the city centre. the pigeon is the main prey species of peregrines, which is possibly a clue. other birds of prey that might be around - sparrowhawks or kestrels for example - would probably be too small to take a bird the size of a pigeon, although a female sparrowhawk might at a pinch i suppose.

Anonymous said...

That may explain the eviscerated pigeon carcass I found on the banks of the Clyde the other day then.

ill man said...

Cheers Alan. My knowledge of wildlife is a bit poor i'm afraid. My knowledge of birds is even worse....

SzélsőFa said...

Well, the description is a bit imperfect as to define the bird of prey, but yes, even urban or semi-urban environments can supply these somewhat bigger birds with enough food. It is not unnatural or unlikely to encounter a bird of prey in a big city, esp. if there are water banks and lots of parks around. Fat pigeons are also of significant importance ;-)

ill man said...

Very fat pigeons..........=D

The Editor said...

Judging by the numbers of buzzards stationed at intervals by the side of the M90 they don't seem bothered by traffic much. Our pet pigeon certainly has a watchful eye on the sky when a buzzard is overhead.