'I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out 'til sundown, for going out, I found was really going in.' John Muir

I've seen the top of Everest (from a long way off), smelled the breath of a whale (from way too close) and lived on a boat in Greece (for a few years), but I continue to experience some of my most precious moments right outside my backdoor.

If comments are proving difficult to do, please email me; sleepysparrow@yahoo.co.uk

Monday, 13 April 2015

Springtime Slaughter

Just as I'm rejoicing at the first swallow and the arrival of my chiff-chaff and while I'm waiting for all the other birds to come back home and fill the woods with their song, I read this news on the BBC web page -

'Hunters win Malta bird referendum on shooting ban.
Malta has narrowly rejected proposals to ban controversial spring hunting, during which migrating birds are shot before they can breed.

There were jubilant scenes in the counting hall as the pro-hunt activists celebrated victory, which was achieved by only 2,200 votes.
The BBC's Mario Cacciottolo in a tweet says that hunters' association head Joe Perici Calascione is "ecstatic" about the outcome of the vote and has described hunting as an integral part of Maltese tradition.

Malta is the only EU country that allows recreational spring hunting.'

This particular 'tradition' allows for the shooting of turtle doves and quail, though who knows what other birds will be shot in the name of tradition?  Malta has a pretty bad track record and groups like Birdlife International and the RSPB have been working on the island for years to try and prevent the needless slaughter of many birds, including birds of prey and song birds on their way North.

I have heard turtle doves in Italy and their soft purring song is mesmerizing and calming, like a meditative chant.  They are dainty birds and a delight to listen to on a warm summer's evening.  They do exist in this country but mainly in the South and they are on the RED list, meaning they are globally threatened.
Now that hunters in Malta can legally shoot them in the spring time before they have had chance to breed, we are even less likely to hear them here.

It's a sad, sad day for man'kind'.

If you go to www.rspb.org.uk and look up turtle dove, you can hear a recording of their special song.

Thankfully this little sparrow is safe from Macho Maltese hunters.

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