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Bird trapping and hunting in Spain

A European holiday paradise - with lime sticks, nets and shotgun volleys

Dead robin, trapped in a parany in Valencia (© Gecen)Dead robin, trapped in a parany in Valencia (© Gecen)Located on the southwest edge of Europe, Spain is an important flyway for western migrants which cross the Straits of Gibraltar en route to their winter quarters in Africa. The majority of migrants from the British Isles, the Benelux countries and France transit the bathing beaches of the Costa Blanca and Costa Brava twice a year, and almost all water birds which use the Wadden Sea as a rest area on their way to Africa cross the Iberian Peninsula.

The number of armed hunters in Spain - some 980,000, is extremely high. Over the centuries, as in other southern European countries, the hunters have almost completely exterminated their four-legged prey. It is therefore not surprising that the hunting of migrant bird species is widespread in Spain. Altogether it is permitted to hunt 36 bird species, including 8 goose and duck species, Quail and Turtle Dove, 5 different thrush species and Spotless Starling. The official annual hunting bag in Spain amounts to some 11 million birds.

Castelló: song thrush and blackcaps just killed by the poacher (© Gecen)Castelló: song thrush and blackcaps just killed by the poacher (© Gecen) Bird trapping is still permitted in some Spanish regions. In the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula finches, above all the Goldfinch, are trapped in nets and sold as cage birds. Small song birds are caught in snap traps set out along the complete Mediterranean coastline and on the Balearic islands, and on Majorca the trapping of thrushes is still permitted. Despite crystal clear EU regulations, countless thrushes are caught annually with lime sticks in so-called Paranys in the autonomous region of Catalonia in the northeast of the country.