Derby's peregrines treat the cathedral like a steep cliff
A pigeon keeper from Derby has claimed his birds are being eaten by peregrine falcons from Derby Cathedral.
Wayne Hatton, who keeps high-flying Tippler racing pigeons at his home on Stockbrook Street, says the peregrines have feasted on seven of his birds over the past two years.
He feels Derby Museum is wrong to have installed a peregrine nesting platform at the cathedral in 2006.
But the RSPB says his pigeons are more likely to have crashed than been eaten.
Hatton told BBC Radio Derby: "It's unnatural for peregrines to be in a box on Derby Cathedral. They should be on a mountain or cliffs.
"The public might like them and think they're nice to see but they've killed 50 different types of birds."
But Guy Shorrock, senior investigations officer for the RSPB, says Hatton has got his facts wrong.
He said: "The comments on peregrines impacting on other birds are a bit of an urban myth.
"Peregrines are rare birds that sit at the top of the food chain. You don't have to worry about the population of other birds at all.
"For every 10 racing pigeons which are lost, nearly nine of them have nothing to do with birds of prey.
"It's actually things like straying and collisions which are the biggest problem."
Nick Moyes, from the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project, said he had some sympathy for Hatton's plight.
He added: "I don't follow the logic of the argument that says a ledge high up on a tall stone building isn't the peregrine's natural habitat.
"I have to ask how natural is a pigeon loft?
"Peregrines were being reported on Derby Cathedral tower well over 100 years ago.
"They see it simply as any other cliff or mountain ledge and have probably been using it on and off as a look-out post for hunting ever since it was built 450 years ago."
Peregrines hunting at night