BirdLife Malta extolls bird migration 'magic' as hunters group welcomes hunting season

Hunters group welcomes opening of the hunting season on Thursday, urging its members to obey all laws and regulations, while BirdLife Malta eagerly awaits ‘the magical time’ that can be enjoyed by everyone during the bird migration season

Marsh harrier (Photo: Aron Tanti)
Marsh harrier (Photo: Aron Tanti)

As the Kaccaturi San Ubertu (KSU) group was wishing all hunters a good hunting season, BirdLife Malta was welcoming the beginning of the migration season, calling it a magical time to be enjoyed by all.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, KSU called for reciprocal respect from hunters and other members of the community and urged its members to respect all hunting laws and to report any illegalities.

It commended the work carried out by the enforcement authorities and pledged its continued cooperation and support.

The hunting season opens on Thursday, 1 September and runs until 31 January, while the season for turtle dove hunting ends on 30 September.

A hunting curfew comes into force between 15 September and 7 October, during which shooting is not allowed after 7pm.

In its statement, BirdLife Malta extolled the spectacle expected during the migration season, which picks up during September, and which will see a number of birds of prey reach our shores after the first thunderstorms of the season.

A number of other birds, such as herons, egrets, bee-eaters and smaller passerines, can already be observed around Malta.

The raptors will migrate from Sicily as the weather starts changing: marsh harriers and honey buzzards tend to fly in their hundreds, looking for a place to spend the night.

Bee-eaters and other smaller passerines make it to Malta in the beginning of September
Bee-eaters and other smaller passerines make it to Malta in the beginning of September

BirdLife Malta said that the woodlands at Buskett and the valleys under Laferla Cross within the outskirts of Siġġiewi were, as normallya happened, expected to attract flocks of these birds of prey that would tend to gather in the sky, circling and converging over the area.

“Being the largest wooded area in Malta with a very high altitude, Buskett is the right place to be at this time of year to watch birds of prey,” the statement said. “Here, daily observations are made by local birdwatchers to monitor the autumn raptor migration.”

The routes followed by migratory birds are numerous, and while some of them are simple and easily traced, others are extremely complicated.

Differences in distance travelled, in time of starting, in speed of flight, in geographical position, in the latitude of the breeding and wintering grounds and in other factors all contribute to great diversity.

Although bird migration is generally thought of as a north-and-south movement, no two species follow exactly the same path from beginning to end.

“Malta has an important role as an island on its own migration flyway and we should consider ourselves lucky that during the coming months we shall be able to witness the beauty of this phenomenon,” BirdLife Malta said.

“Birds such as black kites, ospreys, honey buzzards and marsh harriers together with some kestrels, falcons, vultures and eagles, and also bee-eaters, hoopoes and the occasional black stork and white stork, will stop over Malta while travelling large distances from northern Europe to central Africa.”

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