Strange Stuff: For 40 years, the LA Times has tried to be a deeply respectable newspaper ("Who do you have to decapitate to make the front page around here?) despite the abundance of lurid news in LA. Occasionally, though, it does take notice of some of the weird stuff that goes on in SoCal:
Federal agents went undercover, conducting nighttime surveillance, setting up remote cameras and digging through trash cans, searching for possible criminal activity among
Roller pigeons, you ask?
Roller pigeons are bred for a genetic quirk that strikes in mid-flight, causing a brief seizure that sends the birds spiraling uncontrollably toward the ground. Thousands of hobbyists compete to see who can best make their birds roll in unison.
Here's a Youtube video of these genetically defective pigeons in action.
But for a hawk or falcon, a plummeting roller pigeon is fast food. Fed up by raptors spoiling their sport, some of the leading competitors in the roller pigeon field began illegally killing the predators, according to a federal indictment released Thursday.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents arrested seven men from
The agents blame the clubs that the men belong to for killing 1,000 to 2,000 hawks and falcons in
"When you take out a predatory bird, you're taking out the upper end of the food chain," said Special Agent Lisa Nichols of the Fish and Wildlife Service. "It blows the balance of everything."
Birmingham Roller Pigeons, as they are officially called, are originally from
Navarro allegedly told an undercover Fish and Wildlife Service agent that he likes to "pummel" the hawks that he catches with a stick.
"You'll see, it gets the frustration out," Navarro said, according to a Fish and Wildlife agent's affidavit.
Navarro could not be reached for comment. On the Inner City Roller Club website, Navarro wrote that attacks by falcons and hawks have reached "epidemic proportions in the
"The emotional stress of seeing birds taken daily is just too much for some fanciers," he said.
Well, I threw lemons at the raptor that swooped down and just about got my son's rabbit last year, so I can see how Mr. Navarro feels, but better his mutant pigeons than our rabbit. And killing 1000-2000 hawks per year in
Skulking around the home of defendant Keith London in
Watching from Newcomer's Chevy Tahoe parked across the street, the agents watched as
Do you get the feeling that these guys would be pit bull fanciers if they didn't have their retarded pigeons? So, perhaps it's all for the best in the great tapestry of life.