Destruction of landscapes, toxins, climate change, man-made obstacles, noise – today, migratory birds are under threat from a variety of elements. If that wasn’t enough, they must also contend with the fact that migratory bird hunting in southern Europe remains widespread.
For years, the 787-metre-high pass between the towns Aubenas and Privas in the department of Ardèche, south of France was in the hands of bird hunters. In March, when the flocks of migratory birds fly northwards from Africa via Spain, the emaciated birds sail just above the saddle, saving energy, to continue their migration in a gentle descent. This is the moment of happiness for the bird hunters lurking behind foliage: they fire their guns, bullets hit unsuspecting birds and tearing large gaps in the flocks. Dozens of dead or injured birds fall to the ground. There are many protected birds among them and a total of about 130 species, mostly wood pigeons and turtledoves, but also swifts, barn swallows, skylarks, starlings, siskins, serins, wagtails and even storks and birds of prey.