POLL: Should the killing of birds in Southern Europe be allowed to continue?

Jonathan Franzen’s 2015 film “Emptying the Skies” about the illegal trapping of songbirds along the Mediterranean coast does a thorough, sobering job of covering what is a pretty grotesque practice.

Once again our blog is sponsoring “The Dutch Knights” in the “Champions of the Flyway” event on 29th March 2016.

They will line up in Eilat Israel together with other crack birding teams with a common purpose – to raise awareness about the urgent need for action.

Raising awareness about the need for action:

Take a look at the shocking photos below 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, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Albania, Croatia, Georgia.

Malta – Massacre on Migration 2013 by Jez Toogood
Emptying the Skies serves to fight the good fight against the poachers who slaughter the birds to sell to chefs. The novelist Jonathan Franzen is a devoted amateur ornithologist whose story in The New Yorker inspired this documentary by brothers Douglas and Roger Kass.
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.
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.
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.
Cyprus – Photograph by David Guttenfelder – A whitethroat, en route to winter grounds in Africa, is caught on a lime stick.
Political row flares over ‘brutal slaughter’ of three million birds a year in Cyprus | Europe | News | The Independent

We invite you to share your opinion whether the killing of birds in Southern Europe should be allowed to continue? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page:

Should the killing of birds in Southern Europe be allowed to continue?

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Tackling the Killing

BirdLife International organizes an event each year – Champions of the Flyway – to generate funding that results in direct conservation action for birds in the Mediterranean flyway.

Millions of birders from every corner of the world participate – either by racing in person or by following events live online. As race teams tweet their sightings in real time, anyone, anywhere in the world can follow the race live on Twitter and participate virtually.

Focusing on Wildlife is sponsoring The Dutch Knights in their mission to stop the illegal killing of birds. Their fundraising page can be found on the link below.

All teams are in competition to see who will raise the most to stop the illegal killing of birds.

Please help to raise awareness by sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter.

Make a donation on the link below

Thank you for your support.






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Rosa Borisova

Some humans are disgusting…to say the least. Eating anyone with a face, heart, soul and bleeds is NOT food. Just because few are capable to coldheartedly kill other species with man-made tools, cuts their body parts to add sauces, spices, cook and serve them in a plate it doesn't mean that is food, nor that is a good food to eat. The human body have no need for animal proteins and fat. When we eat, wear and use animals products we create violence towards animals, pollution, deforeastation, wild life extinction, hunger and diseases. There's no such thing "humane" slavery, speciesism,… Read more »

Susan Saladino

Sadly I am never surprised anymore when I learn about a new way humans bring death and suffering to a non human animal. These beautiful tiny creatures slaughtered during migration is just evil.

Sue Armitage

Why why is this allowed??? Why??? Why??

Joan Harrison

The killers need to read The Minds of Birds by Alexander F. Skutch to understand the full barbarity of their actions.

Daisy Robbins

No no no no no!!!!!!! Stop killing birds you sick twisted people!!!!! They are beautiful naturally and here we come destroying it? How is that right? Leave birds to be happy and free…..AND ALIVE!!!!

Flavia Ochoa


Mona Hassan El Baradie

Stop this slaughter and glue all the killers to a branch for a day or two (no food, no water of course, just like the ordeal they put the birds through)… just so they get the feel of what they were doing.

Georgina Bell

This is sickening and has to stop.

Mike M-Larsen

Stop the killings of these tiny migratory birds poor wee souls start a petition please. Stop animal cruelty all over Spain and southern Europe

Tony Broadbent

Another 'shit head' faction of the 'human race'.

Geoffrey Walters



OMG !! This is sick and realy a huge problem and it should be stopped
immediately. I do not understand what's being funny in killing birds for human consumption? If i ever come accros a restaurant who are serving these beautiful creatures i will burn the place down.

PS i voted "yes" in the poll by accident! Sorry!!

Cedric Lutes

Voted and vote was no.
I'm strongly against these unethical barbarians who kills for enjoyment.
use a damn camera and take photograph.

Michael Potter

thank heavans for those who oppose the killing

Mary Ann Kelling

I had no idea this happened. Cruel.

José Luis Crespo

This incredible! In countries like mine -Mexico- we believe Europeans are highly civilized people but the truth is there are monsters disguised as humans. What a shame!

Ele Stevens

Thank you for the work you do to save these birds.
These ignorant, stupid people who trap and kill these birds need to stop.
Boycott the restaurants which serve these birds and if you eat them, I hope you choke.
The governments of these countries should be fined by the EU.

Ellen Hayes

Why do we humans seem to have a need to get rid of everything that is beautiful and take great ego satisfaction of turning them into delicacies for us to eat. With as many of these birds disappearing as they are , it won't be too long before we no longer hear their sweeg voices and the impact of that on nature may not be a price we are willing to pay.

Vanessa Brickman

This is pointless mass murder what on earth are these people thinking?? It is a disgrace and utterly deplorable. There are far more dangerous people on this planet which cause more damage and mayhem than any of these species they are so keen to annihilate could ever do. Utterly shameful.

Valdy Alf

application de la loi du talion a tous ces debiles qui detruisent la vie!

Runa Mitra Dasgupta

Itz a CRIME.

Isabelle Barruhet
Isabelle Barruhet

Une vraie saloperie cette chasse ! ceux qui la pratiquent devraient se mettre à la place des chassés (les oiseaux) juste pour voire ce que cela leur ferait : se sentir piégé, être paniqué et savoir qu'ils ne vont pas pouvoir s'en sortir. Que la seule issue sera la mort !
Crever à petit feu çà leur ferait quoi ? Et surtout le savoir et s'en rendre compte.
Contre, absolument contre. Et ne me dites surtout pas que c'est une tradition. Cette tradition-là ne vaux rien.

Lisa Towns Myers

The individuals doing the killing, and the ones who believe it is okay to allow it to continue are barbarians! Only a heartless, evil deviant could be okay with this!

Marilyn Ashman

This is only one of the reasons that make me wish for a Meteor to hit this Planet!! . Humans are the Cancer of this Earth!! . And leave it to G-DAMN cooks, that call themselves Chefs!!! . Most of those Bastards will annihilate anything that tends to be Exotic, only to drip a little sauce around it on the plate as if its their signature in art form!!! Can't imagine why diners pay to eat artwork!!. What a Selfish and Inhumane Lowclass society!!!

Nina Stavlund

We should now be at a point where polls like this should not be necessary because it was not a problem for the simple reason that humans have proven themselves as smart as we claim to be.

Jb Telstad

How absurd! Such a lovely, small life…to be sacrificed for a single human mouthful?? Do they truly have nothing else to eat?? I hope a plague of insects infects them all (since they'll have no birds to eat them)

Zelda Penzel

I was very proud and honored to be able to give the Zelda Penzel Giving Voice to the Voiceless Award, to "Emptying the Skies" and the renowned author, Jonathan Franzen, at the 2014 Hamptons International Film Festival. This is an important film that raises awareness about an issue that most of us do not even know exists: the mass killing of millions of birds, to be eaten as a delicacy, as they migrate each season from Europe to warmer climates in Africa. This excellent documentary is about the personal sacrifice of dedicated activists working to put an end to a… Read more »

Zelda Penzel

This is hardly "a sport"!!! Let's call it what it is: selfish, ego-driven perverse sadism-killing a beautiful creature for the dinner plate. Now why does that sound familiar? Think :dogmeat trade in Asia! cows, pigs, chickens, lambs, fish around the globe. It's all about "the uncontrollable appetite", the greed and gluttony of members or our own species!

Mary Alice Moonflower Pollard

I cannot believe the type of mind who voted to allow this to continue. What the hell is wrong with people ?! The decline of song birds is normally blamed on cats – well here is the reality, the human animal is much more dangerous than any cat could ever be !

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

how could anyone with a heart pumping in their chest condone this disgusting display of human stupid!!!!

Linda French

Horrible – world wake up to this slaughter of Birds. The world is looking at what you are doing in the Mediterrian. Why can you not stop this? EU should get involved in some way to make this illegal..with heavy fines. Until this is done the killing/slaughter of OUR birds will continue. These birds belong to all of us, using this corridor to other destinations…

Tara Wikramanayake

This is a cruel sport. Please ban it immediately. Blessings on those who are doing their best to save the birds from traps.

Diane Pizza

No no no no no no no no no!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yvonne Olausson