Now in winter many would be relieved thinking that our migratory birds have safely made it to their wintering grounds and are spending their days resting and gathering strength for the coming spring.
Around 120 bird species come to our island as ‘winter visitors’ to take advantage of the mild Mediterranean winter. Many are well-known to us, such as the Robin, the Bluethroat, the Greater Flamingo, and the Song Thrush. What is lesser known however, is that winter is a time that bird trapping still continues, in addition to the ‘main’ trapping seasons -spring and autumn- when thousands of migrating songbirds pass through our island.
In winter, trappers target a particular winter visitor, the Song Thrush. Although song thrushes are a game species, the main killing method that trappers use, i.e. mist nets, remains illegal as it is non-selective, meaning that many species are affected, and large-scale, meaning a large number of birds are affected.
In addition to our work to monitor trapping which has been ongoing since 2002, we have also been consistently working on advocacy and awareness-raising. With this in mind, we have created a free mobile app to allow members of the public to report incidents of illegal bird trapping and hunting. Once a citizen reports an incident through the app and we receive this information, we report it to the competent authorities, safeguarding the anonymity of those who shared the information. Incidents can also be reported to the competent authorities directly, by calling 1414 for areas in the Republic of Cyprus or 1443 for areas within the SBAs.
The app is available for both Android and iOS devices. Two further components of the app allow you to learn more about some of the species affected by bird trapping as well as the large number of threats migratory birds face.