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A helping hand for Yelkouan Shearwaters and baby sparrows

Birdlife urges the public to call its dedicated number should they spot a Shearwater in difficulty

Staff Reporter
9 July 2016, 12:30pm
Yelkouan fledgling Photo by Ben Metzger
Yelkouan fledgling Photo by Ben Metzger
This is the time of year when the first Yelkouan Shearwaters (Garnija) start leaving their burrows in the cliffs and start learning how to fend for themselves out at sea. Unfortunately, bright lights confuse them, and many of them end up stranded on land. Shearwaters are not great on land (they are not even able to properly stand on their feet) and they need a bit of help. So if you see one sitting down somewhere, you can call BirdLife Malta and its members will rush to rescue it. 

Yelkouan Shearwaters are the star of BirdLife Malta’s LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija project, which aims at securing the Maltese Islands for the species. More about the species and the project can be found at

Right now it is also fledgling season for baby sparrows (Għasfur tal-Bejt). At the moment these birds are learning to fly, and they often fall to the ground in the process. Don’t worry! The parents are still taking care of the fledgling, and this is part of their natural development process. It’s a bit of an awkward phase, but they don’t need intervention. If you find a fledgling and you think it might be in danger, just place it in a higher spot, like a ledge or the branch of a tree. The best thing you can do for them is to leave them in their parents’ care.

BirdLife Malta can be reached on 2134764 5/6 during office hours, and 7925 5697 during weekends and evenings.

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