Working for birds in Africa

Netted, glued and eaten whole - can we keep this songbird free?

Date posted: 
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Eurasian Blackcap’s face industrial-level illegal trapping in Cyprus.

Eurasian Blackcaps are illegally lured towards traps using recordings of their song © BirdLife Europe

The Eurasian Blackcap is one of seven flagship birds in our Flight for Survival campaignto raise awareness of the scope and scale of the illegal killing of migratory birds.

For many people, it’s an iconic sound of the countryside: a rich, complex musical whistlewhich culminates in a loud, high-pitched crescendo. It is so strident that you might not be able to work out where it’s coming from: the tiny Eurasian Blackcap Sylvia atricapillaa handsome woodland-dwelling warbler. Nicknamed the “mock nightingale”, its mellifluous music has inspired artists through the ages: in fact, 20th century composer Messiaen's opera Saint François d'Assise draws directly from the Eurasian Blackcap’s song.

 As it migrates through the Mediterranean en route to its European breeding grounds, hundreds of thousands of birds end up tangled in vast, near-invisible “mist-nets” or unable to take off from perches that have been secretly coated with glue. Those birds that don’t perish from the initial shock can struggle in pain for hours. Read the full story here.

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