Destruction of landscapes, toxins, climate change, man-made obstacles, noise – migratory birds are under threat from a variety of factors. Additionally, hunting of migratory birds is unfortunately still widespread in southern Europe.
For years, the 787-metre-high pass between the towns of Aubenas and Privas in the department of Ardèche, south of France was in the hands of bird hunters. In March, when the migratory birds fly north from Africa and Spain, the emaciated birds fly just above the saddle of the hill, saving energy, to continue their migration in a gentle descent. This is when lurking bird hunters strike: 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. Of the about 130 different species, there are many protected birds, mostly wood pigeons and turtledoves, but also swifts, barn swallows, skylarks, starlings, siskins, serins, wagtails and even storks and birds of prey.
Hunting migratory birds was legal on the Col de l' Escrinet for a long time and was literally practised with fervour.
From death trap to resting zone: the Col de l'Escrinet.
Today, migratory birds over the Col de l'Escrinet are no longer shot, but admired and counted.
Where hunters used to lurk to shoot every flying creature, peace has finally returned.
Despite clear legislation, the French state did not intervene. So, the French bird protection organisation FRAPNA (Fédération Rhône-Alpes de la Nature) asked Fondation Franz Weber (FFW) for help. While a farmer wanted to sell his land on the Col de l’Escrinet, in June 1999 FFW tried to buy it from the state company SAFER, which acts as an intermediary for agricultural land in France. However, SAFER decided to sell the strategically important land to the bird hunters.
To put an end to the illegal bird massacres, Fondation Franz Weber used all legal, political and media means. In 2001, Fondation Franz Weber acquired a small plot of land in the middle of the pass, the Tourrasse Hill. As a result, peace finally returned to the place where hunters used to kill every flying creature. Poachers had to give way to ornithologists, nature lovers and environmentalists. Today, the migratory birds over the Col de l’Escrinet are no longer shot, but observed, counted and admired.
Keep the Col de l’Escrinet protected so birds can migrate safely
Observe and count all bird species in the area and protect them against hunting and shooting
Contribute to the research of Europe’s numerous migratory bird species
Protect the landscape from destruction
Facts and Figures
* * *
0bird species and more
HAVE BEEN COUNTED BY ORNITHOLOGISTS ON THE COL DE L’ESCRINET IN TOTAL
BEGAN ITS RESCUE CAMPAIGN FOR MIGRATORY BIRDS ON THE COL DE L’ESCRINET