Bird trapping in Malta
Bird trapping with nets has a long tradition in Malta. Trapping sites are found everywhere in the Maltese landscape - on coastal cliffs as well as on fields and even in the middle of cultivation. They consist of two nets lying horizontally on the ground with a length of 10 to 50 metres, which are held in tension by springs. Between them there is an open space where you can often find food or water or where there are decoys and lures. A bird trapper hidden in a stone hut not far from the catching point triggers the nets manually when birds gather on the open area.
In addition, Maltese bird trappers also use gill nets and cage traps. The cage traps are small devices for catching individual birds (usually finches), but also aviary-sized traps are used, which function like a cage with catch openings on the roof and are mainly used for turtle doves. Quails are caught with ground nets laid over vegetation.
Finches such as linnets and goldfinches are popular cage birds in Malta. Until 2017 they were allowed to be caught with a special permit in autumn - since then the trappers have been using their nets illegally.
While in autumn and winter it is allowed to catch golden plovers with nets, poachers often use the same trapping sites for illegal trapping of waders in late summer.
Live decoy trapping
Malta allows certain species to be used as decoys in hunting. Fishing permits have been issued for this purpose, but unauthorised traps and nets have also been found time and again.