Five recovered birds freed in Malta

This 4 June 2020 video says about itself:

Three birds of prey and two turtle-doves rehabilitated and released back into the wild

On the 15th May 2020, BirdLife Malta was able to release five rehabilitated birds back into the wild. They had all suffered gunshot injuries during their spring migration back to their breeding grounds further north in Europe.

The birds released were a Common Kestrel which was illegally shot in Girgenti and picked up on 29th March, an illegally shot Lesser Kestrel found on 5th April at Mtarfa, an illegally shot Marsh Harrier retrieved on 16th April from Salina, and two illegally shot Turtle doves picked up on 20th and 21st April from Binġemma and Armier, Mellieħa.

All of these protected birds were retrieved by BirdLife Malta after initially being found by members of the public. The birds were then examined by the government veterinarian, who confirmed the cause of their injuries and recommended rehabilitation as the next best step for their recovery. The birds spent between three and seven weeks in rehabilitation, but the work is worth it as it results in birds such as these ones having a second opportunity of reaching their breeding grounds.

All of the birds were fitted with a BirdLife Malta ring beforehand, in order to track their movements if they’re seen or found again. Ringing can help guide conservation work as we can learn important details, such as where they may migrate through, settle to breed, where they may overwinter, longevity of the species, and so on.

15th May was also Endangered Species Day, and to mark this occasion, the two Turtle doves were released at Għadira Nature Reserve whilst streamed live on Facebook! Turtle doves are classified as ‘Vulnerable’ according to the IUCN, so every bird counts when it comes to ensuring that this species does not reach ‘Endangered’ status.

All of the birds of prey were released on Comino, which is a designated bird sanctuary and provides them with an ideal place to get accustomed back in the wild, before restarting their migration.

BirdLife Malta would like to thank the people who contacted us after finding these birds. The work that we do would not be possible if it was not for the support from members of the public.

Footage by BirdLife Malta, editing by Nathaniel Attard.

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