Birdlife Malta launches ‘History of Ornithology in Malta’

December 15, 2015 8:30 am

Birdlife Malta today launched a new book called ‘History of Ornithology in Malta’ authored by long time ornithologists Mr Joe Sultana and Mr John J Borg. ‘History of Ornithology in Malta’ is the first book of its kind to give a comprehensive account of the evolvement of bird study and ornithological literature in Malta.

The Maltese Islands’ ornithological history is very rich and varied. The book traces all written references to bird observation and study in the Islands, from a comment by a 16th century French monk to the latest ground-breaking ornithological research EU LIFE+ projects carried out by BirdLife Malta.

Judge Emeritus Giovanni Bonello presented a review of the book during the book launch at the Museum of Archaeology. He highlighted the great amount of research that this publication entails.

Authors Joe Sultana and John J. Borg have been examining documents and manuscripts from various museums and libraries in Europe for the past 25 years. This has allowed to tell brief biographies of ornithologists who contributed to the Maltese ornithology in the past and enhance the book by several anecdotes, correspondences and diaries of these protagonists. Amongst them are Antonio Schembri, the father of Maltese ornithology, Charles A. Wright, a British pioneer of Maltese ornithology, Giuseppe Despott, the museum’s curator and many others.

In almost 400 pages the book also highlights birds in Maltese Culture with the bird imagery and symbolism found from the earliest Neolithic times down to the Christian era; from an obsession of killing and trapping birds down to a changing attitude in recent years with an increase of appreciation of birds in their natural environment. The book progresses throughout a period of 300 years from the earliest contributions of the 18th century until the new era in Maltese Ornithology ushered in the 1960s by the foundation of the Malta Ornithological Society, now BirdLife Malta.

The new book is illustrated and designed by Mr Victor Falzon and its foreword is given by Prof Mark Anthony Falzon.


‘History of Ornithology in Malta’ will be available in all the leading bookshops.