STOP THE ILLEGAL KILLING OF MIGRATING BIRDS AND DONATE HERE!
Last year editor Gert Ottens from Birdlife Netherlands, AGAMI photographers Marc Guyt and Martijn Verdoes together with Ken Billington, founder of Focusing on Wildlife, joined the Champions of the Flyway in Eilat, Israel.
Aptly named Champions of the Flyway Sprinters we joined this extraordinary bird race for conservation.
Besides a lot of social media coverage, we raised a lot of money in the process for the cause. For our efforts we were crowned Knights of the Flyway.
We saw over 150 species on the Big Day itself and had tons of fun in our week in Israel. This was surely an event we had to attend again so we are proud to say that we are joining again the 2015 Champions of the Flyway!
This year our spiritual leader Ken Billington is staking out bird migration in Tarifa (Spain) and sadly will only be with us in spirit during the race. As we are an all Dutch Team now, we will be racing this year as the Dutch Knights!
Alongside some familiar teams from last year we are delighted that many new teams are entering as well in 2015. We want to become the Champions of the Flyway and win the trophy for the team with the most money raised so the pressure is on!
This year the Champions of the Flyway are combatting illegal trapping of migrating birds in Cyprus.
Twice a year Cyprus, the third greatest island in the Mediterranean, is a crucial stopover site for millions of migrating birds during their sea crossings. Due to these huge numbers of migrating birds, hunting and trapping has alwasy been part of the island history.
In the past, songbirds – mainly Blackcaps and similar-sized warblers – were trapped for consumption by the rather poor islanders who saw the twice-yearly influx of birds as a valuable source of protein while they scraped their meagre existence, living off the land. The impact this had on bird populations then would have been tiny and quite sustainable.
Nowadays however, bird trapping in Cyprus has little to do with tradition or history. Nor is it sustainable. It has become widespread, extensive and is driven by by profits sought by organised crime.
The reason is the demand for a local dish made from small passerines called Ambelopoulia which is considered a delicacy by certain members of the Cypriot community and, perhaps more worryingly, some misguided tourists. The dish is in such demand that would-be diners are prepared to pay in excess of €5 per bird with the associated illegal industry considered to be worth in excess of €15,000,000 per year.
The organized hunting had deep impact on numbers of birds. Many of the species caught are red list species in many countries. The support generated by the Champions of the Flyway event in 2015 will secure vital funding to aid BirdLife Cyprus in their fight against illegal killing of birds and to help them turn the tide on the needless slaughter.
Support us in our quest to stop the widespread, illegal killing of migrating birds in Southern Europe. If you want to support the cause and our team, please donate now on the link below. Every bird counts. So every penny, every euro is much appreciated!
Thanks for your support! The birds need it.
Marc, Martijn and Gert