Spring Hunting Starts With A Thousand Bangs

April 12, 2014 5:20 pm
12th April 2014
The spring hunting season officially opened today.  As the teams reached their watch points they were greeted with the sound of gunfire.  A chilling start for some of our new volunteers.
Night Heron with injury to leg (far right)

This year’s spring hunting season in Malta is open from the 12th – 30th April.  The BirdLife Spring Watch team has been active from the 9th, so this was the morning we were all dreading.  The legal hunting has begun, however only two species are huntable: the Turtle Dove and the Quail.  The one thing none of us want to witness is the illegal hunting of any protected bird species.  And even just after the first session this morning, we are already seeing protected bird species with gunshot injuries. 

Three Night Herons were seen flying over Ghadira Bay early this morning, one with a dangling leg, an injury from a gun shot. 
Marsh Harrier with damage to wing feathers

In the Wardija area, a Marsh Harrier was spotted circling high above with an injury to the left wing, another injury from a gun shot.  

Meanwhile, over in Gozo the gunfire was having a bigger impact. A Cuckoo was illegally shot and killed. The Cuckoo is a rare breeder in Malta, with the last chick being recorded in 2009, however this may not be the case if these birds were not targeted. 

Our teams also heard instances of modified shotguns and electronic lures being used, both of which are illegal activities.  

Let’s see what else tomorrow brings…


BirdLife Malta has been campaigning against illegal and unsustainable bird hunting on the Maltese islands for more than 50 years. If it was not for all of our work, we would not have reached the point we are at now, with the vast majority of people on Malta wanting to see spring hunting ended. Now is the time to turn that dream in to reality.
There are several ways you can help us:
  • You can help our campaign at a political level: click here to write to your MEP and ask them to support this urgent call for action to stop spring hunting in Malta.
  • Join BirdLife Malta to support our work for birds and nature in the Maltese Islands. As a member you will receive our regular members’ magazine, Bird’s Eye View, and email updates about our work. Your membership fee will help to make sure we can continue fight for birds and nature.
  • Make a donation towards our Stop Spring Hunting Campaign at http://igg.me/at/stopspringhunting  You can also help spread the word about our campaign – share this page and our video about spring hunting through Facebook and Twitter – please ask your friends and family to share and donate to our campaign if they can .#stopspringhunting
By working together we can end spring hunting on Malta forever.
The League Against Cruel Sports have been supporting Spring Watch and Raptor Camp for a number of years.  Security for this camp has been paid for by Stiftung Pro Artenvielfalt,  ensuring the safety of our volunteers.