Birds in Malta on video

This video says about itself:

Different birds at BirdLife Malta’s nature reserves

5 September 2017

Here is some footage taken over the past days at BirdLife Malta’s Salina and Għadira Nature Reserves.

It shows different birds such as a Kingfisher, a Black-necked Grebe, a Greenshank, a Dunlin, a Spanish Sparrow, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Common Sandpiper and a large flock of Little Egrets but also two scarce species – the Caspian Tern (Ċirlewwa Prima) and the Temminck’s Stint (Tertuxa Griża).

Footage by Aron Tanti and Sean Bonello. Editing by Nathaniel Attard.


Birds in Malta, video

This video from Malta says about itself:


22 August 2017

This video was prepared for the Birdfair 2017 held at Rutland Water Nature Reserve [in England]. It reflects the several aspects of the work carried out by BirdLife Malta. (Footage by BirdLife Malta, editing by Veerle van Werde)

Blue rock thrush, swift news from Malta

This video says about itself:

First ever Blue Rock Thrush rehabilitated by BirdLife Malta

27 July 2017

The Blue Rock Thrush, as its Latin name suggests (Monticola solitarius), is a solitary species that settles around mountains. Monticola derives from ‘montis’, meaning [of] mountain and ‘colere’, which means to dwell in Latin.

The Blue Rock Thrush (Merill in Maltese) is the national bird of Malta and was featured on the Malta Ornithological Society (MOS) logo for more than 30 years. The Blue Rock Thrush also featured on coins and postage stamps in 1971.

This species has a very melodic song and it can usually be seen on the cliffs around Malta. It feeds mostly on insects and snails, but also consumes reptiles and fruit. The incubation period lasts for 15 days and then the juvenile birds are fed for another 15 days. Then they fledge the nest, while their parents still feed them for a few more days.

This Blue Rock Thrush was found in Mellieħa on the 5th of July 2017 by a member of the public when it was still very young. It was passed on to BirdLife Malta, and spent two weeks under our intensive care. This is the first time that BirdLife Malta has received this species of bird for rehabilitation and this juvenile Blue Rock Thrush was successfully released at our Għadira Nature Reserve on the 20th of July.

The bird was fitted with a unique ring, which will allow us to learn more about its journey.

We would like to thank members of the public who called BirdLife Malta after finding this juvenile Blue Rock Thrush. It is with your support that this bird and others are now fit and flying free.

Footage by BirdLife Malta, editing by Veerle van Werde.

Decades ago, I saw a blue rock thrush in Malta. Later, I saw them again in Morocco and Spain.

This video says about itself:

Swifts released in Mellieħa

18 July 2017

People used to believe that swifts didn’t have any feet. Their family Latin name Apus is derived from the Ancient Greek α (a), meaning ‘without’ and πούς (pus) meaning ‘foot’. Their legs are short and they are used mainly for grabbing on to vertical surfaces like cliffs and walls, since this is where they nest. However, they spend the majority of their lives on the wing, sometimes not landing for ten months and will not land unless it is to nest.

These two swifts, a Common Swift and a Pallid Swift, were found on the ground by members of the public and handed over to BirdLife Malta when they were still juveniles. Then they spent almost three weeks under our care, where their diet and weight was monitored constantly. After that they were both fit enough to fly again and continue their long journey towards central Africa.

Footage by BirdLife Malta, editing by Weerle van Werde.

Birdlife and bird crime in Malta

This BirdLife in Malta video says about itself:

10 April 2017

After the waterfowl migration, we are now at the peak of the spring migration for herons and egrets. Raptor migration is also picking up.

Spring migration occurs between mid-March and the end of May when birds leave their wintering grounds in Africa to travel back to Europe to breed. It is in the birds’ instinct that as soon as this beautiful time of year arrives they start to build up fat and change plumage to enable them to start their long migratory trip.

During this mammoth migration, birds face many obstacles including the arduous journey over the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, making the Maltese Islands a crucial stop-over point on the migration route for these birds to seek refuge and rest before continuing further north.

Here is some footage of different heron species which were observed at our Għadira Nature Reserve in the past days. A number of Grey Herons spent the night at the reserve where a Squacco Heron was also spotted together with a Little Egret.

Footage by Aron Tanti, editing by Nathaniel Attard.

This BirdLife in Malta video says about itself:

7 April 2017

As the spring migration continues, here is some footage of different bird species which were observed during the past days in different parts of the Maltese Islands.

Spring is the most beautiful season of the year and at this time of year many families enjoy the Maltese countryside and also visit BirdLife Malta‘s nature reserves to have a close encounter with nature. This is just a glimpse of what one can find right now in different parts of Malta and Gozo.

Footage by Antaia Christou, Simon Hoggett and Aron Tanti. Editing by Nathaniel Attard.

This BirdLife in Malta video says about itself:

The latest casualty of the 2017 spring hunting season is another protected bird of prey – a shot male Lesser Kestrel which was retrieved by the Gozo Police yesterday (4th April 2017). The Lesser Kestrel was suffering from injuries to the right wing and the left leg and had to be euthanised.

This BirdLife in Malta video says about itself:

3 April 2017

From birds of prey such as Marsh Harriers and a Common Kestrel to other smaller birds such as a Common Swift, a Barn Swallow and Hoopoes, the first week of the 2017 spring hunting season has already taken its toll on several protected species. Nothing was spared, as the total of known illegally shot birds since the start of the season on Saturday 25th March has now reached eight. Four of these protected birds succumbed to their injuries after they were shot down. More than half of these illegally shot birds were retrieved just over the last weekend alone from different parts of Malta and Gozo.

This Marsh Harrier was the first casualty of the season. It was retrieved from a field in Selmun on the second day of the hunting season. The vet confirmed it was shot and suffering from injuries to its right wing.

The fact that all of these shot birds were retrieved from different localities across Malta and Gozo clearly indicates that illegalities are widespread across the country during the current open spring hunting season. One needs to keep in mind that these retrieved injured birds represent only a fraction of the illegal hunting which is actually happening in the countryside.

This is why BirdLife Malta reiterated its call on the Government and on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to close the hunting season with immediate effect as it had done in the past.

(Footage by Nicholas Barbara, editing by Nathaniel Attard)

This BirdLife in Malta video says about itself:

28 March 2017

Here is some footage of three Purple Herons (Russett Aħmar) in flight at Delimara. This footage was shot by volunteers from our Conservation team this morning.

The Purple Heron is a slender, snaky-necked heron of reedbeds and dense marshes. It is somewhat smaller than the Grey Heron, from which it can be distinguished by its darker reddish-brown plumage, and, in adults, darker grey back. It has a narrower yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults. It is often hard to see as it prefers to hide in the reeds, unlike the Grey Heron.

The long neck of the Purple Heron looks particularly snake-like, with more of an S-shape in flight. The call is a loud croaking “krek”.

This bird is regularly seen during migration; some singles, some in flocks and some in mixed flocks with other herons, mainly Grey Herons. (Footage by Antaia Christou, editing by Nathaniel Attard)

This BirdLife in Malta video says about itself:

On Sunday 26th March 2017 a flock of around 15 Black-winged Stilts spent a day at Is-Salina Nature Reserve.

Here is some footage of the salt pans full of life, as the beautiful birds attracted lots of people to the area as they mingled with other species which were feeding and resting on site at the time. It was the third time in a week that Black-winged Stilts were noticed at the Salina salt pans during the 2017 spring migration. (Footage and editing by Nathaniel Attard)

European bird news

This video from Malta says about itself:

4 April 2009

This video shows that birds can be enjoyed in the wild state in the Maltese Islands. Creating habitat, like Birdlife Malta did at the reserves at Simar and Ghadira helps birds to find refuge during their migration and breeding seasons.

From BirdLife:

24 Mar 2017

The Bird Bulletin

By Gui-Xi Young

Welcome to the first edition of ‘The Bird Bulletin’ – our new weekly news brief. Every Friday morning, we’ll bring you bite-sized updates from all across Europe & Central Asia – now you can kick start every weekend with ‘what a little bird told me’!

SPRING IS IN THE AIR – Have you heard? Spring has officially sprung according to BirdLife Malta. Keen birdwatchers have observed teams of spring migrating ducks over the MaltaGozo channel: Ferruginous ducks, Garganeys, Pintails, Shovelers, Eurasian Teams [sic: Teals] and Wigeons.

INTRODUCING Ferula mikraskythiana, the latest cellular sensation to take the botanical world stage by storm! Yes, that’s right – biologists from SOR-BirdLife have discovered a whole new species of flowering plant in Romania. Read more…

Atlantic Puffin at the crossroads: alarm bells rang out when the iconic seabird was red-listed as being ‘vulnerable’ to global extinction in 2015. This week, marine experts gathered for an international workshop organised by Fuglavernd/BirdLife Iceland to address this dramatic decline. Read the RSPB’s report on Reykjavik here.

As William Shakespeare wrote “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. Thousands of swans – the Danish national bird – have been killed by collisions with power lines in recent weeks. The area where this is happening has been dubbed ‘the field of death’ by the media. Our Danish partner DOF has posted heart-breaking visual evidence online; amid public outcry, the energy company involved has now engaged in a constructive dialogue with DOF in order to prevent further casualties.

Our ‘office’ bird is back! There are very few birds around our Brussels office so we are particularly fond of the little Black Redstart that frequents the hotel roof across from us. It is a migrant (to the west Mediterranean) and Wim Van Den Bossche, our Flyway Conservation officer, last recorded it here last autumn on 26th of October 2016. What a journey for such a little fellow! Listen to its high pitched song here.

Mute swans’ rare visit to Malta

This video from Malta says about itself:

Mute Swans in Gozo

4 January 2017

Since the beginning of the New Year hundreds of people have visited Marsalforn Valley to see the 12 Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) which have been resting and feeding in the artificial reservoir since Monday.

The four adult and eight juvenile Mute Swans (Ċinji in Maltese) probably landed in Gozo because of the cold weather in Europe seeking warmer surroundings. Earlier today some of them flew off, only to return to the area an hour later.

The Mute Swan is native to much of Europe and Asia, and (as a rare winter visitor) the far north of Africa. The name ‘mute’ derives from it being less vocal than other swan species. Measuring 125 to 170 centimetres in length, this large swan is wholly white in plumage with an orange bill bordered with black. It is recognisable by its pronounced knob atop the bill. Mute Swans nest on large mounds that they build with waterside vegetation in shallow water on islands in the middle or at the very edge of a lake. They are monogamous and often reuse the same nest each year, restoring or rebuilding it as needed.

Although the Mute Swan‘s status is ‘very rare’, some of these birds are recorded in the Maltese Islands from time to time in winter (mostly December and January), especially when it is a really cold winter in Europe. Some records are of small flocks.

The birds are being constantly monitored by the Gozo Police and by members of the Administrative Law Enforcement Unit (ALE).

People are urged not to get too close to the birds to take pictures and close-ups, and not to disturb the swans in any other way, especially by throwing pebbles and stones into the water to attract their attention.

This video from Malta says about itself:

7 January 2017

Here is the latest footage taken by BirdLife Malta of the 12 Mute Swans currently in Gozo. The swans – 4 adults and 8 juveniles – have been resting and feeding at Marsalforn Valley since the first day of 2017 and have attracted hundreds of people to the area to take pictures of this rare sight.

Throughout the week BirdLife Malta urged the general public not to feed the Mute Swans and not to throw bread to the birds as this would do them more harm than good, causing them irreparable damage in the long run even though it may seem harmless. Most bread is essentially junk food for these birds, with white bread being the worst as it can cause them a range of problems, including a debilitating disease rendering them unable to fly.

After discussions with the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU), later in the week, BirdLife Malta began giving the appropriate food to the birds in the reservoir – a fodder mix of legumes and cereals (ġwież).

From BirdLife:

Mute Swans make the Maltese headlines

By Jessica Irwin, 1 Feb 2017

Jessica Irwin (BirdLife Malta) fills us in on the latest ‘celebrity’ sensation to grip Malta – a flock of Mute Swans that have sought refuge from the recent cold snap in the shelter of Marsalforn Valley.

As the first dawn of 2017 broke across the Maltese Islands, who could have guessed that a flock of unexpected visitors were already on their way? The next day, they were spotted in Gozo’s Marsalforn Valley, unleashing a frenzy of excitement amongst locals. As news quickly spread, it suddenly seemed like everyone in Malta wanted to catch a glimpse of these rare guests – a small flock of majestic Mute Swans!

Although common across most of Europe, these waterbirds are a rare sight in these parts. But with the recent cold snap across much of the continent, it is likely that this group of four adults and eight juveniles sought the refuge of warmer surroundings. With their slender white necks, striking orange bills and graceful presence, it’s easy to see how these elegant creatures have captured the imaginations of so many, from fairy-tales to Tchaikovsky and now the people of Malta. Within days, the swans had become local celebrities, with thousands visiting the valley to see them – they even dominated the national news for the first week of the New Year.

Of course, amidst the hype, many visitors were keen to feed the birds and BirdLife Malta made calls, urging the public to watch from a safe distance and avoid feeding them white bread (which can cause irreparable harm). After a few days, the overwhelming attention began to take its toll on several of the juveniles that appeared weak from a combination of stress and lack of adequate food. Mute Swans have enormous appetites and have been noted to eat up to eight pounds of aquatic plants per day, so a proper feeding protocol was necessary to give the swans the fuel they needed to continue on their migration.

With the help of the Wild Birds Regulation Unit, we began feeding the birds a combination of legumes and cereals to help them regain their strength. At this point, BirdLife Malta also reached out to the Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FKNK) and to the Kaċċaturi San Ubertu (KSU) in the hopes of collaborating on the feeding effort and finding common ground for the benefit of wildlife and nature.After much deliberation, it was agreed that, in the best interests of the birds and their wellbeing, a collaborative effort was important. Since then, we have all worked together to ensure regular feeding and the FKNK has even helped secure a sponsor for most of the food.

While BirdLife Malta may not always see eye to eye with hunting groups, our recent joint efforts shows that collaboration is possible. The Mute Swans have cast a magical spell over Malta, uniting two opposing forces and many thousands of people together behind nature. We hope they leave this magic behind when they continue on their journey.

LGBTQ conversion quackery ban in Malta

This video says about itself:

15 April 2014

Malta’s gay community celebrates new law recognising same-sex partnerships as marriages

Malta’s Labour Prime Minister Joseph Muscat joined around 1,000 people celebrating a new law on the Mediterranean island which recognises same-sex marriage on a legal par with marriage and gives gay couples the right to adopt.

The opposition Nationalist party abstained from the vote and said it had reservations about gay adoptions claiming 80 percent of the population were against the law.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Gay conversion therapy‘ becomes illegal in Malta

Today, 18:12

Malta has introduced a ban on therapies that aim to ‘cure’ homosexuals from their orientation. The law was passed unanimously by parliament.

Therapists who go wrong may get a prison sentence or fine. The same applies to medical professionals who prescribe such therapies.

So far in Europe, therapies ‘curing’ LGBTQ people had not been punishable anywhere. Only in some states in the United States, it is forbidden by law to treat minors because of their sexual orientation.


Gay advocacy group COC in the Netherlands has asked Minister [of Health] Schippers two years ago to have such a ban. The minister said she did not need new rules, because these treatments in the Netherlands are considered to be inadequate therapies. Against that, the Inspectorate for Healthcare can act.

Anchored North: ‘Cult-like’ Evangelical Christian group condemned after video claiming gay people can change through prayer. ‘Any form of ‘therapy’ that attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity is unethical and wrong’: here.