Brian Batchelor Raptor attacks   1 comment

The Gentleman Flier Brian Batchelor of Elstead.
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Brian Batchelor and his good mate Keith Mott in 2008 after a very successful racing weekend for Brian.

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Just a little background information on Brian Batchelor of Elstead, Surrey, England. Brian is married to Jean and has 3 grown up children and a swag of grandchildren. He has been in the U.K. about 10 years and in Elstead where he and his wife own and manage the Elstead post office for about 8 years. This is a rural Post Office and Newsagents business. Brian is formerly from New Zealand and many kiwi fanciers know him and no doubt ‘he is becoming famous’ in the U.K.)). Brian suggests that maybe it would be fairer to say ‘up and coming’ and we wish you luck Brian. Elstead is about 30 miles or 50 kms airline southwest of central London, basically a 45 minute drive. Portsmouth on the South English Coast is about 50 kms airline southwest of Elstead, just to put you in the picture if you’re a kiwi reader.
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He’s a very good and knowledgeable pigeon fancier whose business only has 2 non working days a year, that is, the post office (which is on the ground floor of his premises) news agents section and shop is open every day bar 2 a year!! His residence is above this and the small 12 foot by 8 foot race loft containing 32 old birds at the moment is in the backyard. His location is in the Surrey Hills and is mainly an area of woodland with some unique Nature reserves.
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The result he is most proud of was clocking two pigeons VINO and SOLO in the top 100 in the 2010 Grand National Tarbes when the British convoy of 2833 pigeons were liberated in conjunction with the International Race. When a pigeon is placed in the top 100 it qualifies towards a merit award. A merit award is earned when a pigeons is placed 3 times in the top 100 in a National race. Very few ever make it this far, the late Eric Cannon had 5 such pigeons and 1 more that almost made it being 103rd on its last attempt. As far as he is aware no one else has achieved this many merit awards and this is one of the reasons why he and many others value his strain of pigeons so highly.
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I spoke to Brian this morning by phone and he tells me that his 4 pairs of stock birds are also currently in the race loft as the 6 foot by 4 foot breeders loft doesn’t have water heaters and in that loft the drinkers would ice over this time of year.
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Brian is always up for a good ‘chin wag’ about the pigeons and I guess I’ve known him for about 20 years. He’s the type of loyal friend that you’d want ‘in the trenches’ or any other kind of everyday life’s difficulties. We bought a few good Jansens together in the mid 90’s when imports weren’t banned into this country and shared them and did very well with them. The ‘Hardluck hen’ and the ‘Stamvater hen’ were ‘Supers’. I still have an out of area trophy that his bird won about the time he left for England in 2002 still in with my collection. “Brian, does your post office do pay on arrival postage”? i.e. you’d be paying)). Knowing Brian he wouldn’t be too worried about the trophy and we’d both forgotten about it and along with all the others they’re gathering dust!
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You may have read in other articles that Brian will start breeding seriously in February and racing in April. One thing about Brian that I always appreciate is that he isn’t scared to tell you what he thinks when it comes to the pigeons. His advice about pigeon numbers is something a number of us need to hear and often. So if any of you want a free bird, sing out!
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Brian also told me about a pair of goshawks that live nearby in the woods that were coming regularly to his small backyard for a feed on his birds. Brian has manged to knock this one on the head to a degree by placing nylon bird netting in the gap in the hedge they were coming through. The hawks no longer have the element of surprise and so far the pigeons have been able to escape when they do attack. He also put his young birds in with the race team hens and the hens teach the youngsters to be hawk wise and this also helps.
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Apparently the goshawks are the biggest and the peregrine does the most damage to the birds during racing or training. Terrible problem over there, we really only have it to a smaller degree in much of our country. I don’t think I’ve ever lost a pigeon to the local harrier hawks but I don’t mind the local magpies as they chase the hawks away. But to be honest, it is quite likely that I wouldn’t know if I’d lost a bird to a harrier, a New Zealand native falcon or the much more rarer peregrine falcons, assuming the later are up this far.
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Brian Batchelor brian.batchelor@mypostoffice.co.uk
12/21/11
to me
Hi Ferg,
Your mention of the ferret attack on my birds in Redoubt Road, while devastating at the time it was totally preventable and my own fault for leaving an opening that allowed them to get into the loft. This is nothing compared to the raptor attacks we suffer here and which we can do nothing about.
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Goshawk.

Northern Goshawk.

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I lose about 10 percent of my birds every year to Goshawks, Sparrow hawks and Peregrine falcons. All my surviving Old Birds have been attacked at one time or another, some have been hit more than once and returned with injuries. One 5 year old cock is very wary going out for a fly. He is the last to go out and seems to watch the others flying around before flying off and he is usually the first back in the loft. Twice he has been badly hit, the first time as a 2 year old from a 30 mile toss he was found 5 days later 7 miles from home with a small injury on his neck but he was completely flown out and must have flown who knows where in panic. The second time he homed late with half his tail missing and a broken foot that was badly infected.
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Sparrowhawk

I had another one that was reported on a Deep Sea trawler up in the north sea off Denmark with obvious peregrine injuries, he went missing from Tarbes in the south of France and the distance to the north sea would be over 1000 miles. I had a stray in this year from a well known London fancier he had tossed 40 pigeons that day from the coast about 30 miles to me and when I phoned that night he told me a
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Peregrine falcon.

Peregrine falcon diving courtesy- wpclipart.com

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Peregrine had hit them as soon as he released them scattering the birds to the four winds, he only had 6 home that night from the 40. My Old Cannon cock the foundation sire of my loft was taken by a Goshawk, these are the battle tanks of hawks and will pluck a pigeon off the lawn or loft roof and carry it away so fast you can hardly see it. The Old Cannon cock is the only pigeon I have ever had survive such an attack, how he escaped and got back to the loft I will never know but it shows something of his guts and I believe why he has bred me so many good pigeons. See the photos.
Cheers
Brian
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Old Cannon Cock in better nick than below.

Brian Batchelor’s  Canon Cock 2008 , you can hardly recognise him from this perfect Keith Mott photo.

Brian Batchelor hawked pigeon 2008 (The Canon Cock), you can hardly recognise him from the perfect Keith Mott photo above this!!.


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Posted January 9, 2012 by ferguselley in U.k. news items

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One response to “Brian Batchelor Raptor attacks

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  1. Good article, use the gun to fix the problem

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