Birds at Maltese nature reserve

This 12 March 2020 video from Malta says about itself:

Birds at Għadira Nature Reserve

From White Wagtails and Chiffchaffs to Stonechats, from a Water Rail to a Moorhen, here is a video edit with footage of different bird species observed during the past weeks at our Għadira Nature Reserve.

Għadira is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 4pm. We are also open during the week on Mondays and Thursdays from 2pm to 6pm. Entry to the reserve is free of charge but donations are welcome!

Footage and editing by Aron Tanti. Original music by Francesco Tanti.

White storks rest on church in Malta

This video says about itself:

Some of the White Storks which visited Malta in March 2020 roosted for several nights around Mosta and Birkirkara. The storks spent more than a week on Malta.

Notably, four of them settled for several nights on the steeple of St. Theresa’s Church in Birkirkara. Members of the public took photos and footage of these majestic birds in this urban setting.

White Storks (Ċikonja Bajda in Maltese) are large birds, tall, with a 155-200 cm wingspan. They are completely white except for the black wing flight feathers, and their red bill and legs, which are black on juveniles. They walk slowly and steadily on the ground. Like all storks, the White Stork flies with its neck outstretched. For us in Malta, the White Stork is a rare migrant, both in spring and autumn. It is more common in autumn than in spring.

Footage and editing by Nathaniel Attard.

Sick Polish black-headed gull recovered in Malta

This 21 February 2020 video says about itself:

Earlier in February 2020 we got called by a fisherman who rescued this Black-headed Gull off St Thomas Bay in Malta. To our surprise, the gull bore colour rings denoting its origin from Poland.

A quick look at its history from our EURING partners revealed to us that this bird was originally ringed as a one-year-old near Warsaw in Poland on 24th November 2018. It was also spotted last year at Salina Nature Reserve on 10th February 2019, and had also been wintering back at Salina this year along with the thousands of gulls that find refuge here in winter.

After some time under our care, this Black-headed Gull returned healthy and has once again been released at Salina. We hope it returns safely to Poland to raise the next generation of Black-headed Gulls that will visit Salina once again in winter!

Watch this video documenting the gull’s release back into the wild at Salina on 21st February. Salina Park Manager Manuel Mallia also speaks about BirdLife Malta’s own colour-ringing project, specifically for Mediterranean Gulls.

Footage by Samuel Henderson. Editing by Nathaniel Attard.

Rehabilitated kestrels released on Comino, Malta

This 24 January 2020 video says about itself:

Another two Common Kestrels (Spanjulett) were recently released back into the wild following a period of rehabilitation.

Both kestrels were recovered in November and December 2019 during the ongoing autumn hunting season, and confirmed by the Government veterinarian to have been illegally shot. One suffered injuries to the left foot and wing, whilst the other suffered damage to the head.

These birds were released on Wednesday 22nd January 2020 on Comino, a protected bird sanctuary where no hunting is permitted, and where they are able to acclimatise before carrying on their migration journey.

Footage by Steph Leow. Editing by Jose Luque Montero.

Maltese kestrels freed after recovery

This 17 January 2019 video says about itself:

Three rehabilitated Common Kestrels released on Comino

Another three Common Kestrels were released back into the wild by BirdLife Malta following a period of rehabilitation.

Two of the Common Kestrels (Spanjulett) were illegal hunting casualties found by members of the public during the 2019 autumn hunting season, both during November. One of the shot kestrels was from Nadur in Gozo, and was delivered to our nature reserve at Għadira, whilst the other shot kestrel was picked up by ALE police from Santa Luċija.

The third female kestrel was found underweight and tired in Żejtun also in November 2019. Following some weeks in our care, the government vet gave her approval for all three birds to be released.

These birds were released on Friday, 10th January 2020 on Comino, a protected bird sanctuary where no hunting is permitted, and they are able to acclimatise before carrying on their migration journey.

Footage and editing by Jose Luque Montero.

Maltese falcons, poaching victims, recovered and freed

This 19 December 2019 video from Malta says about itself:

Five rehabilitated Common Kestrels and a Merlin released back into the wild

In the past days, we released another six rehabilitated birds back into the wild.

All six falcons – five Common Kestrels and a Merlin – were illegal hunting casualties recovered earlier during this year’s autumn hunting season. Following some weeks under our care, the government vet gave her go-ahead for the birds to be released.

All the Common Kestrels (Spanjulett in Maltese) were picked up by members of the public over a period of less than three weeks. The first one was found on 12th October in Girgenti and it was confirmed shot, with several internal pellets and a fractured left wing. The second Common Kestrel was found in Għaxaq on 15th October with a fracture to its left wing. Five days later, on October 20th, another shot Common Kestrel was found by a member of the public at Għar Lapsi. It was suffering from a broken wing and even had a break to its bill. The following day, the 21st of October, another Common Kestrel with a broken left wing was picked up by the public at Chadwick Lakes. And on 29th October yet another Common Kestrel was found at Fomm ir-Riħ. This bird was found weak and underweight and was also confirmed shot after being taken to the vet.

The Merlin (Maltese name: Seqer ta’ Denbu) was the only one of the released birds which was recovered by police. It was found on Gozo on 19th October. Following a visit to the government veterinarian, it was confirmed shot, with a fracture to one of its wings.

All these birds were released on Monday 16th December on Comino, a protected bird sanctuary. The reason why we release such birds on the island of Comino, where no hunting is permitted, is for them to be given the opportunity to acclimatize before moving on to continue with their migration journey. All birds were ringed before release.

Common Kestrels are common and regular migrants which can be seen all year round. In autumn they are mostly seen between September and November. The ones released on Comino earlier this week will either continue their migration, or they may overwinter in Malta instead, before migrating up north once again to their breeding grounds.

On the other hand Merlins are very scarce visitors to Malta, with only a handful being seen every year, so the successful rehabilitation and release of this species is particularly special. As for the movements of this bird after release, they do not overwinter in Malta, so it may try to continue on with its migration. However, given the mild winter conditions and plentiful prey (i.e. small birds), this bird may decide to overwinter in Malta as well before its spring migration north.

Footage by Svitlana Shevchuk, editing by Jose Luque Montero.