Jonathan Franzen talks about bird-hunting in the Balkans

Sign: No hunting!

Even in huntung ban areas bird hunting ist a huge problem on the Balkans.

© Joachim Mahrholdt

‘Last Song for Migrating Birds’ appears in National Geographic

Press release from 18 June 2013

Radolfzell.   In March 2012 American bestselling author Jonathan Franzen went to the Balkans on a fact-finding mission on bird-hunting for National Geographic. The alarming findings of his journey can be read in the latest issue of the magazine. Last spring, the passionate birdwatcher and conservationist spent two weeks with EuroNatur’s project leader Dr Martin Schneider-Jacoby, who died in August 2012. Together they visited all the important staging posts along the eastern Adriatic coast, from the Divjaka-Karavasta National Park in Albania to the Neretva Delta in Croatia. He spoke to hunters, watched illegal hunting practices and investigated the background to bird-hunting in the Balkans. His article ‘Last Song for Migrating Birds’ shows only too clearly how bird-hunting along the Eastern Adriatic is systematically frustrating the efforts of conservation programmes in the breeding grounds of migratory birds.

EuroNatur estimates that well over two million birds are shot along the Adriatic flyway every year. The situation in Albania is particularly dramatic, but intensive bird-hunting also meant Franzen was unable to do any bird-watching on the Neretva Delta in Croatia on his fact-finding tour. This area is actually one of the most important staging posts for migratory birds on the Eastern Adriatic. But the situation is not hopeless. Franzen demonstrates that too: education and reliable hunting patrols promise success and are absolutely indispensable. Furthermore, alternatives to bird-hunting must be created as a matter of urgency. Bird-watching tourism offers a great deal of untapped potential for the countries of the Eastern Adriatic. 


  • Jonathan Franzen is the author of the international bestsellers Freedom and The Corrections. Furthermore, he is an enthusiastic bird-watcher and campaigns for bird conservation.

Contact:  EuroNatur, Konstanzer Str. 22, 78315 Radolfzell, Tel.: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 10, Fax: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 22, E-Mail:, Press contact: Katharina Grund, Internet : 

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