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Hunting The Thrush

Last Sunday (October 31st) was the first day of this year’s hunting season for Tords (thrushes). In Mallorca, four thrush species are known, Turdus philomelos, Turdus iliacus, Turdus pilaris and Turdus viscivorus. They are all lovely small singing birds and should really be left in peace.

Unless you are a farmer, that is. My Mallorcan friends have explained to me that these feathered friends are ferocious in their pursuit of olives and grapes. They cause quite a bit of an upset, now, that the olive gathering season and the wine harvest are in full swing. To protect the harvest, the thrush has to be kept at bay, or so it was explained to me.

Obviously, there are two sides to the story, as always. Who knows which one is the right one? But I imagine that it is easy from a viewpoint of ignorance to be a bird lover and go all sentimental when in fact there is a price to pay. What do you think?

The hunt for thrushes is on until February 15th, 2011. Hunting by rifle and dog is permitted across the island. Hunting by filat nets is only allowed in the Tramuntana mountain area. Only 20 Tords are legally allowed to be caught per day and per person. And a hunting license has to be obtained for Caça Menor.

The photo was taken in Porreres, Mallorca, Spain. The date: October 26th, 2010. The time was 12:18:06. The drawing was done by Archduke Ludwig Salvator and published in Die Balearen (1870-91). The image was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of AltaMar and fabian.balearweb.net.

Habe die Ehre, vielen Dank, and

muchas gracias.

2 replies »

  1. I just don’t think that thrushes are a threat to olive trees. I have about 15 fully loaded olive trees. I have never seen a single thrush eating the olives. I encourage birds onto my property. I have bird feeders, nesting boxes, and large areas left wild, etc. There is no reason to kill these wonderful song birds.

  2. The thrush is an endangered species in England as they cannot get over Spain and Italy safely due to the excessive hunting allowed in these countries. I agree that the thrush is not a threat to olive production, they have never touched my trees either. If they feed on grapes, which is also doubtful, mine are never touched, perhaps the season could be shortened until after the grape harvest?
    Is there any kind of action group I could join against bird hunting in Mallorca?

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