Malta is an island with an inglorious reputation when it comes to migrating birds. The Maltese seem to consider it a sign of manhood to go out and try to hit anything that moves when the shooting season opens in the Autumn. Sadly, the same thing happens on many a Greek island – and no doubt all over the mainland too. Migrating birds are trapped using very fine nets or perches covered in a sticky substance. This is illegal but in a country facing financial ruin policing hunting takes a low priority.
This x-ray shows the carcass of a hawk, peppered with lead pellets. It was found on Syros, along with another, badly decomposed one of an eagle that also showed signs of having been shot. It does seem particularly strange that on an island that harbours the ambition of becoming European Capital of Culture people are still taking rare birds out of the wild without apparently seeing any contradiction between that behaviour and their cultural aspirations. How long before the hunters of Syros begin to realise that respect for the natural world must be part of any valid understanding of what we mean when we say that a place or a society is “cultured”