Millions of migratory birds are killed

More than 100 million birds are killed legally each year throughout Europe

captured night heron

© R. Kappenstein


Press release of October 25, 2007


Radolfzell. It is getting quiet outside. The last migratory birds start their journey to the South to spend the winter in Southern Europe and Africa. "We wonder how many of them will come back", says Claus-Peter Hutter, president of the European Nature Heritage Fund (EuroNatur). Their journey is getting more and more dangerous. Some of the biggest risks for the migratory birds are to get shot or trapped. According to EuroNatur, the situation is still critical even on Malta, where the European Commission called upon the Maltese government again last week to prohibit the spring hunt on migratory birds on the whole island. But even this would not be the solution for the entire problem, as the fowling on Malta is only the tip of the iceberg. The official number of killed birds proves its startling impact: more than 100 million birds are shot or trapped legally throughout Europe each year, according to a study published in a German journal about bird protection ("Berichte zum Vogelschutz"). "An intolerable situation", says Claus-Peter Hutter.

The study only counts the official number of killed birds within the EU. Unreported cases like illegally killed birds or birds which were injured and not found afterwards are not included. Latter can be up to 20% of the official number of killed birds.

Besides that, the fowling causes indirect damage. When birds are scared and flee quickly, they loose a lot of energy and do not have enough power any more for their long journey to the South. Their breeding success lessens considerably when they are additionally weakened by not having enough opportunities to rest and feed.

Hundreds of thousands of migratory birds are killed in countries in South Eastern Europe, a number which largely is not included in the study, either. The Balkans, for example, are an important area for fowling, but are not taken into account. EuroNatur fights for bird protection exactly in those focal areas. "The Balkans are one of our main topics", says Claus-Peter Hutter. "To protect the species effectively in the long term, we have to protect the birds on their journey." Latest numbers about the Eastern Adriatic Sea prove how important it is to increase the control of fowling. EuroNatur fights for a ban of hunting for the Lake Scutari of which the Montenegrin part is protected as a national park. With measurable success. In 2007, the number of wintering birds increased by more than 100,000 and thus was three times higher than in the previous year.


For further information please contact:

European Nature Heritage Fund (EuroNatur)

Konstanzer Str. 22

78315 Radolfzell

Phone  07732 – 92 72 0

Fax   07732 – 92 72 22

e-Mail  info(at)




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