Spring Watch 2014 – Black Winged Stilt Shot

April 11, 2014 7:39 pm
Thursday 10th April
A call to BirdLife office this afternoon reports a bird found on a roof by a family in Qormi.  The family tried to give the bird some water and kindly brought the bird to the office.  The bird in question was a Black-winged stilt.  It was instantly apparent to our staff that the bird had received an injury to its left wing. Two members of the BirdLife team took the stilt to the vets to assess the extent of the injury. 
The vet confirmed what we had suspected – the stilt had been shot in the wing.    The open fracture was so severe that there was no possibility that the injury would heal, and the bird would never be able to fly again.  Unfortunately, in this instance, there was no choice but to euthanise the bird.
The video below shows footage of the stilt with the vet:

This is the 3rd incident involving the illegal shooting of a Black-winged stilt in Malta in the last month.  This is especially damaging to the populations here in Malta, as the Black-winged stilt only started breeding at Għadira Nature Reserve in the past few years. In 2013, three pairs successfully bred at Għadira, and with 7 chicks successfully fledging; a fantastic result for these newly breeding birds in Malta.  However yesterdays incident is worrying, as this individual was a potential breeder, and the loss of this bird could affect the number that breed here this year. 

The body of the stilt will be passed on the Natural History Museum in Mdina.   


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.