Mar 312014

So now the “Big Day” has finally arrived and our team – “The Sprinters” – is competing in a 24 hour marathon for the coveted title “Champions of the Flyway”.

The event is taking place today in Eilat, Israel and there are a total of 14 teams in the race – from England (5), USA (3), Holland (1) , Belgium (1), Israel (1), Palestine (1), Sweden (1) and Georgia (1).

White Storks in migration close to Eilat, Israel

Yellow Wagtail in migration close to Eilat, Israel

Pied Bushchat in migration close to Eilat, Israel

While the racing might be light-hearted, the goal is to raise funds, so that the illegal killing of birds in Southern and Eastern Europe can be tackled. Many birding and wildlife enthusiasts have responded to the appeal and £20,000 has already been donated to BirdLife International.

Take a look at the shocking photos at the bottom of this mail to convince yourself about the need for urgent action. Hunting and trapping of migrating birds is still being extensively practiced in many European countries. e.g. France, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Malta, Albania, Croatia, Georgia.

For more information please click on the link below, leave us a message of support and help migrating birds WIN the “Race for Conservation”.

Don’t delay: Do it today!

Thanks in advance for your support

Ken Billington (+ Marc Guyt + Martijn Verdoes + Gert Ottens)

Petition: Stop the illegal killing of birds in Southern Europe

Photograph by David Guttenfelder – An inviting perch turns out to be a deadly trap for two warblers. With feet and wings stuck to “lime sticks,” the songbirds cannot escape. Poachers placed these decoy shrubs along a highway near the Mediterranean.

Illegal shooting and trapping of birds ( with lime sticks and netting) is a persistent problem in Cyprus. The number of birds trapped each year has increased since 2007, and has remained very high for the last seven years. The main victims of the lime sticks are Warblers, Thrushes; but also Cuckoos, Owls, Shrikes, Bee-eaters and other protected birds are also caught. 750,000 birds are shot illegally each year in Cyprus. The Blackcap bird is specifically targeted illegally and is sold on as a delicacy known in Cyprus as Ambelopoulia.

Cyprus – Photograph by David Guttenfelder – A whitethroat, en route to winter grounds in Africa, is caught on a lime stick.

Italy – Photograph by David Guttenfelder – A metal snap trap operates like a mousetrap, with berries as the bait. Catching birds this way is illegal, but poachers still use the traps in the northern woods. This European robin, fatally pinned by its neck and foot, was discovered by rangers on patrol.

Spain: Song Thrush and Starling corpses salvaged from a Valencian paranys, along with limestick paraphernalia. Photo: Committee Against Bird Slaughter (see video below)

Ken Billington

Ken Billington

Ken, a scientist by training held various management positions in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries during his professional career, enabling him to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Americas, North Africa, Asia and Japan. Ken has always been a keen photographer and bought his first telephoto lens 10 years ago. This was the beginning of his interest in bird photography. Since then he has also become an active supporter of birding and wildlife conservation.

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