BirdLife Malta Spring Watch 2011

As regular readers will know I am 100% behind the fight to get the illegal hunting and trapping of migrant birds stopped on the islands of Malta and Cyprus.

Why am I so passionate about this issue?

Because literally millions of birds – some of them already listed as Endangered – are being wiped out illegally every year. Hunting and trapping continues despite EU laws and condemnation by both domestic and international conservation organisations. The intense pressure is having an effect though: the hunters are on the run in Malta and their arguments for allowing spring hunting sound increasingly isolated and desperate; and the scale of trapping in Cyprus for an illegal ‘snack’ called ambelopoulia (which consists mostly of Blackcaps caught on limesticks) is now being recognised around the world and it can only be a matter of time (if we keep the pressure up) that the EU Parliament finally comes down hard on Cyprus for allowing this slaughter to go on.

In the meantime often all that stands between a tired migrant bird and a bullying thug with a gun are the participants of the ‘Camps’ set up by BirdLife Malta, BirdLife Cyprus, and the Committee against Bird Slaughter.


BirdLife Malta will be running a spring Camp this April and are looking for volunteers – and the details are below: saving birds this way is challenging but incredibly satisfying, so please consider getting in touch with BirdLife Malta and spending a week making a HUGE difference to the survival of Europe’s birds.

Malta Spring Watch 2011

BirdLife Malta – Spring Watch
10th to 24th April 2011

Europe’s birds will soon be returning from their wintering grounds. Many will fly over Malta, facing a real threat of persecution from illegal hunting and trapping.

To counter these illegalities BirdLife Malta will be this year again running its annual conservation camp ‘Spring Watch’ between the 10th and 24th April. The camp will monitor bird migration, maintain a strong presence in the countryside to deter the illegal killing and trapping of wild birds, and report illegalities to the police.

The European Court of Justice in 2009 ruled that Malta breached the Birds Directive by opening a spring hunting season from 2004 to 2007. However the Maltese government, succumbing to pressure from the hunting lobby, opened a six day hunting season in 2010 and adopted legislation making longer future seasons with larger bag counts possible.

The Commission last October renewed legal action against Malta over spring hunting, to which Malta’s Prime Minister reacted by stating that Malta is ‘prepared to go all the way’ for an open spring hunting season – even if this means the country must pay fines.

BirdLife Malta intends to monitor and document the extent and impact of spring hunting through Spring Watch – an important part of the campaign against this unsustainable and illegal practice.

Find out how you can help – please visit:


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About the author

Passionate about animal welfare and conservation, veggie and dairy-free, I live in the Wiltshire (UK) countryside. I co-founded Birders Against Wildlife Crime and Birds Korea. Trustee of the League against Cruel Sports On Twitter @charliemoores

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