On the 23rd October 2013 more than 50 eagles were seen by birdwatchers arriving over the Maltese Islands. A rare event, which should have been enjoyed because of the rarity and beauty of these birds, turned into a massacre and in three days at least 15 eagles, including both Short-toed and Booted Eagles were targeted. This figure does not include those seen flying with injuries or the numerous reported but unverified incidents witnessed by members of public around Malta and Gozo.
The presence of BirdLife Malta and the police in the field did not deter hunters in Dingli, Buskett, Girgenti, Siġġiewi, Buskett and Zebbuġ from targeting these birds. However BirdLife Malta volunteers managed to film the incidents, which led to a public outcry both in the Maltese Islands and abroad. After BirdLife Malta passed a number of anonymous reports to the police, several individuals were apprehended with stuffed protected birds, including eagles most likely killed during this migration.
The beauty of these eagles and the need to remember this terrible day from October 2013 was what led us to choose a Short-toed Eagle to be represented in this year’s Raptor Camp 2014 t-shirt. It is a testament to the beauty of these birds but also a reminder that we need to continue to work hard to ensure their survival.
We’re now accepting applications for Raptor Camp 2014
With the participation of both local and international volunteers, the camp helps to deter, detect and report illegal hunting activity, as well as collecting useful data on bird migration. If this sounds like something you would like to get involved in, check out the webpage for more information, and how to apply: www.birdlifemalta.org or email [email protected] for an application form.