A pallid harrier, one of Europe’s most endangered birds of prey, which was shot in Malta, was sent to Germany for rehabilitation last Wednesday by BirdLife Malta.
The bird is one of 26 shot protected birds which BirdLife Malta received during the spring hunting season which started on 13 April. On the list are birds of poor conservation status in Europe including a black kite, a lesser kestrel, the pallid harrier, and a purple heron.
The pallid harrier was recovered on 1 May after a member of the public found it in his garden in the limits of Mosta. The bird had gunshot injuries to the wing and chest that were a few days old, having been shot during the spring hunting derogation period, and was emaciated and unable to fly.
There are an estimated five to 50 breeding pairs of pallid harriers in Europe, excluding the Russian population. Due to large historic population declines pallid harriers are listed as endangered in Europe.
Over the past four years, BirdLife Malta has witnessed several incidents of pallid harriers being shot at. A shot pallid harrier was recovered from Tas-Silġ in 2007, a badly injured bird was seen over Fomm ir-Riħ in 2008, and last year another badly injured pallid harrier was filmed flying over the Foresta 2000 area on Easter Sunday.