The issue

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.

The park

Despite clear legislation, the French state did not intervene. Therefore, the French bird protection organisation FRAPNA (Fédération Rhône-Alpes de la Nature) asked Fondation Franz Weber for help. Since at that time a farmer wanted to sell his land on the Col de l’Escrinet, FFW tried to buy it in June 1999 from the state cooperative SAFER, which is always an intermediary for agricultural land in France. But SAFER sold the strategically important land to the bird hunters. FFW then pulled all legal, political and media levers to put an end to the illegal bird massacre.

From death trap to quiet zone: 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 lurk 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 admired and counted.

Our goals

  • Protected area for the migratory birds passing over the Col de l’Escrinet region on their journey
  • Observe and count all bird species appearing 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

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0 bird species and more
HAVE BEEN COUNTED BY ORNITHOLOGISTS ON THE COL DE L’ESCRINET IN TOTAL
0 FFW
BEGAN ITS RESCUE CAMPAIGN FOR MIGRATORY BIRDS ON THE COL DE L’ESCRINET
0 bird lovers and more
GATHER DAILY TO ADMIRE BIRD MIGRATIONS