Malta: Autumn bird migration begins, but so to does the illegal slaughter of protected birds

Some of this year’s first migrating birds have already been shot and killed by illegal hunters on Malta according to reports from Birdlife this week.

The killing took place in four locations around the island of Malta over the past three days. BirdLife said a member of the public reported seeing an early migrating Marsh Harrier, one of the first seen this season, being shot three times by a man at Zonqor Point in Marsascala. The man was then seen collecting the shot bird and walking off with it.


Migrating Marsh Harrier one of the first casualties shot this week

 Three days ago a flock of herons were seen, again in Marsascala, and again a member of public reported that shots were fired at the birds as they passed. Later on the same day herons were reported to have been shot near Qawra Point.

Birdlife Malta said it received a Night Heron that had evidently been hit by shotgun pellets that left a hole in its left wing. The injured heron was immediately taken to a vet, but the wound was so severe that it had to be put down.

“These incidents come just days after the Maltese government announced a four-hour roll back of the curfew on hunting during afternoons during the peak migration period in September,” Nicholas Barbara, Conservation Manager of BirdLife Malta said. “No sooner do migrating birds appear over Malta than they are shot at, proving that more controls to prevent illegal shooting of birds are required, not less.”


Malta Autumn Hunting begins, hundreds of protected birds will pay the price with their lives once again.

We at Raptor Politics consider the illegal slaughter of protected birds on Malta a total affront to everyone in the European Community. More radical action by the Maltese government together with the European Commission needs to be imposed, even if this action results in an outright hunting ban throughout the island. We would also like to see a moratorium of all UK visitors travelling to the island for their holidays. Once the Maltese economy begins to suffer, perhaps then decisive action will be taken to bring an end to this illegal wildlife carnage.


Police officer gives chase to a hunter after witnessing the man illegally shooting on a nature reserve. 


During this years spring hunting on the island of Malta, resulting from government mishandling of hunting licence applications, numbers of hunters increased on the ground from the normal 4,000 to over 8,000. Consider this, what would the result be, if each hunter only managed to shoot just one bird?

1 comment to Malta: Autumn bird migration begins, but so to does the illegal slaughter of protected birds

  • The days of Nannu trapping birds in the backyard are soon coming to an end. Malta is starting to follow the rest of the world in terms of animal rights.

    Mdina is a wonderful, old quaint city. Walking through the place is like taking a step back in time.

    I’ve written a bit about Malta here, for anyone interested: What To See In Malta