Cory’s Shearwater shot dead near to Gozo nesting burrow
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Birdlife Malta said this morning that researchers studying the Cory’s Shearwater (Ciefa) colony in Gozo as part of the EU LIFE+ Malta Seabird Project, found one of the study birds dead in front of its nesting burrow last week. The X-ray taken by a veterinarian confirmed that the protected bird had been shot.
“The researchers also noticed that up to four other birds from two different nests at the study site had disappeared. One of these nests was empty, while the other one still contained an egg,” BLM said.
The Cory’s Shearwaters are currently incubating and both the male and the female take it in turns to sit on their single egg. Birdlife said thatiIf a nest is found empty, it means the egg has been lost and the pair’s only breeding attempt for this year has failed. An abandoned egg suggests that either one or both parent birds have died, as during incubation one of them is always in the nest.
LIFE+ Malta Seabird Project is co-funded by the European Commission and the Maltese government as well as several BirdLife International partners.
“The killing of the study birds in Gozo not only hampers the efforts of this EU Project, but also puts the whole colony in peril. Seabirds are already declining all around the world and direct persecution can only make their situation worse,” said Dr Benjamin Metzger, Chief Researcher of the LIFE+ Malta Seabird Project.
BLM said that this is the third shot Cory’s Shearwater to have been found by the project researchers this year.
Malta is home to internationally important breeding colonies of three species of seabirds, including the Cory’s Shearwater. LIFE+ Malta Seabird Project aims to identify the important areas for these species at sea and create marine protected areas under the EU law.
Photo shows the Cory’s Shearwater found shot by researchers from the EU Life- Malta Seabird Project. Photograph by Benjamin Metzger.