BirdLife Malta have released a video of three illegally shot birds that were found over the first weekend of spring. They are part of six birds in total that have been shot since March this year – even though the hunting season is closed.
“These are the first three known illegally shot protected birds received by BirdLife Malta over the first weekend of spring: a Marsh Harrier (Bagħdan Aħmar), a Common Kestrel (Spanjulett) and a Scopoli’s Shearwater (Ċiefa) which were all found by members of the public. Hunting at the moment is not permitted, but unfortunately, even a closed hunting season is already resulting in illegalities… let alone when it will be opened!” the group said in a statement.
The birds had all been found by members of the public before Birdlife were called in
“The first bird to be found on Saturday was the Common Kestrel which was recovered in Birgu,” they said of the birds. “It looked clear that the male Kestrel had sustained a gunshot injury to its left wing. Also on Saturday, a member of the public recovered the Marsh Harrier from the area known as In-Nuffara in Gozo. The female harrier had a broken right wing. In less than 24 hours another report came in from Marsaskala where a member of the public had found the injured Scopoli’s Shearwater swimming amongst the boats in the water. In this case it was clear that the bird was shot out at sea but despite its grievous injury – a completely blasted right wing – managed to swim into the bay from where it was rescued.”
The birds were taken to the government vet, who on Monday confirmed that all three had been illegally shot
“Whilst these are the first three shot birds to be recovered this spring, we had previously received another three protected birds which also ended up being targeted by illegal hunting during the closed season. In fact, another Common Kestrel was recovered from Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq on the 6th of March while two Black-headed Gulls were recovered from Salina two days before. All three were found dead and the vet confirmed that they had been shot,” they continued.
The three illegally shot birds come just days after the Ornis Committee recommended the opening of the spring hunting season for quail from the 10th of April until the 30th, the decision on which is expected soon.