Bird shooting in Cyprus
With 42,000 licensed hunters, Cyprus has one of the highest hunting densities in the EU. On average, 4.5 huntsmen per square kilometre stalk here, (1.1 in Germany and 2.9 in Italy). 34 bird species have an open hunting season, including quail and turtle dove, the black francolin and 7 songbird species: blackbird, redwing, mistle thrush, fieldfare and song thrush as well as starling and skylark. Officially, 3.7 million birds a year are shot legally, but the reality is this figure is probably much higher.
During our bird protection camps in Cyprus we often witness poaching and hunting violations. One of the most frequently observed infringements is the use of illegal electronic decoys. Many devices run at night to attract quails, which are then flushed with dogs in the morning and easily shot. In the morning, hunters use callers to lure thrushes to their shotguns. During each operation we report such cases to the authorities - but in most instances the perpetrators manage to flee before to police arrive or simply switch off the callers until the authorities leave.