Birdwatch News Archive
Posted on: 29 Aug 2015
After Birdfair, the fight goes on to protect the illegally hunted migratory songbirds of the Mediterranean fly-way.
During their twice-annual migration, birds face two natural hurdles along the Africa-Eurasia Fly-way: the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara desert. Even if they manage to cross those, many succumb to man-made dangers. In the first-ever assessment of the scope and scale of illegal killing in the Mediterranean by BirdLife International, it was found that 12-36 million birds per year, mainly songbirds, may be killed illegally by shooters and trappers.
Other serious threats to migratory birds come from power lines and wind turbines (which lead to collisions and electrocutions), and from the loss and degradation of crucial feeding and resting sites. Species such as European Turtle Dove, Black-tailed Godwit and Meadow Pipit are declining. With climate change predicted to increase desertification in the Sahel region of Africa, trans-Saharan migrants will increasingly struggle to survive.
BirdLife and its national partner organisations have developed a strategy for the African-Eurasian fly-way in order to give migratory birds a better future by 2020, and to stimulate the study and awareness of the magnitude and beauty of migratory birds. Part of this strategy is the development of a growing network of people and organisations that can share expertise and co-ordinate Mediterranean-scale initiatives to look after the birds. The Capacity Development for Flyway Conservation in the Mediterranean initiative, funded by the MAVA Foundation, is establishing a Mediterranean Fly-way Conservation Network involving over 20 NGOs.