Bird hunting in the Balkans endangers the lives of our migratory birds

Ospreys rely on safe resting places along the Eastern Adriatic.

© Jürgen Schneider

May 10th is World Migratory Bird Day


Press Release 9th May 2016

Radolfzell.  “Millions of song birds, raptors and water birds are killed every year in the Balkans.” Commemorating World Migratory Bird Day, Gabriel Schwaderer speaks out. “For the European bird populations this represents a dangerous blood-letting,” says the Director of EuroNatur, the internationally active nature conservation organisation, in his salute to World Migratory Bird Day on May 10th. This year the Day of Action is being run under the motto “...and when the skies fall silent? Stop the illegal killing, taking and trading of migratory birds!”)

Migratory birds of many species that breed and are protected with great effort in Germany rely for their journey on the resting places along the Eastern Adriatic. Among them are Sedge warblers, Common Snipes, Ospreys and Garganeys. Yet despite initial successes in nature protection measures, the migratory birds still have to run the gauntlet on their journey along the Adriatic Flyway.
While the exact extent of the bird killing is not clear it can be assumed, on the basis of the data we have, that well over two million migratory birds are killed every year on the Adriatic coast. Above all the shooting down of water birds goes on virtually unchecked in all the countries along the Adriatic coast. The only exception is Slovenia. 

In practically all the important wetlands on the East Adriatic coast hunting carries on outside the general hunting seasons and nearly everywhere hunting methods are used which go against the national hunting regulations. Among the victims are also species which are officially protected by the EU bird protection directives (at least in the member states and the candidate states of the European Union) or by international agreements.

“If we wish to keep our bird world in Germany in all its diversity, we will have to work for an improved protection of these fascinating creatures – even in the seemingly far-off Balkans. The existing hunting bans must be strictly observed and reliably checked on.” Gabriel Schwaderer insists.
When bird hunting stops the bird population in the valuable resting and breeding places on the East Adriatic very quickly recovers. This has been proved by data from one of the main hotspots of bird hunting: the Hutovo Blato Nature Park in the Bosnian part of the Neretva-Delta. 
Since the start of the regular hunting controls in 2013 poaching there has dropped significantly.
26 thousand birds were recorded in January 2016 as part of the international winter waterbird count. That was more than ten times the number compared to before the controls. 

Background information:

  • The Adriatic Flyway: In their migration the water birds of Central, North and East Europe largely follow the so-called Adriatic Flyway, which runs right across the Balkans, the Adriatic and Southern Italy and over to North Africa.
  • More on the topic of bird hunting in the Balkans


Enquiries to: EuroNatur, Konstanzer Str. 22, 78315 Radolfzell, Tel.: 07732 - 92 72 10, Fax: 07732 - 92 72 22, E-Mail: info(at), contact: Dr. Stefan Ferger, press officer: Katharina Grund

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