Use of electronic decoy systems for bird-trapping in Cyprus
Professional bird trappers rely on the use of electronic lure devices when catching wild birds throughout Europe. This practice is particularly widespread in Cyprus.
While some countries allow the use of live decoys when hunting, the EU Birds Directive generally prohibits the use of electronic decoys. What at first seems absurd, has good reason: Live decoys are expensive to buy and maintain and do not sing reliably. Electronic devices cost less, require little maintenance other than a battery and can be used reliably day and night. They make hunting and bird-trapping particularly effective.
In Cyprus, electronic decoys are mainly used to catch birds. For this purpose, the systems are positioned alongside nets or limesticks. From midnight until dawn they play the songs of blackcaps, the preferred prey of poachers. But other birds migrating at night let are also attracted by the calls. The devices are set so loud that they can sometimes be heard over a distance of several kilometres, often as far as the offices of the nearest police station.
Many poachers use small MP3-players, but during our bird protection camps we also often find elaborately installed systems, which are equipped with several loudspeakers and hundreds of metres of cables and are operated with car batteries.
Electronic decoy callers are also used for quails and thrushes hunting on Cyprus. These are either set up at night at the hunting grounds or carried along by the hunters during the morning hunt.
We typically dismantle on average more than 100 decoy systems per year or report them to the authorities for police actions. Especially in the British Sovereign Base Areas less and less electronic callers are now being used.