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.

Hunting The Thrush

The Ibicenco Dog

podenco_ibicenco

The Ibicencan Hound (Podenco Ibicenco) is also sometimes called the Pharaoh Hound in reference to its assumed Egyptian origins. Some sources claim that any Egyptian roots have been disproved and are nothing but a myth, both historically and genetically. Well, whatever.

In Mallorca where the Podenco species is very popular and rather prolific, this dog (or should I say hound), whilst it is not an indigenous Mallorcan breed, is widely used as a hunting dog for rabbits. In a rabbit hunt with Ibicencos, no fire arms are used, no nets and nothing but a pack of hounds. The dog retrieves the live rabbit (or hare, as the case may be) to its master. Often the rabbit is not killed but put in a cage to then be relocated to another farm or forest where rabbits may have become extinct due to the rather widespread Myxomatosis disease.

eivissencs

Yesterday, on the occasion of the Fires de Llucmajor, the Associació Federada de Caçadors amb Cans Eivissencs organised its annual Ibicenco Dog Hunting Championship (Campionat social de caça amb cans eivissencs), and what a to-do it turned out to be. Eleven teams, all from the Llucmajor area, participated with six hounds each (a limit that is legally imposed by the Consell de Mallorca). Each team consisted of one hunter and two helpers. The teams each drove to a different finca, accompanied by a Jurador (umpire). The team that I accompanied was also followed by a local TV crew. We all went to the S’Aguila Sa Boal finca, not far from the Cabo Blanco lighthouse.

Campionat_cans_eivissencs

You might be interested to learn that the hunting season for rabbits starts every year at Sant Joan (June 24th) and lasts until January of the following year. This year, hunting rabbits with Ibicencos is only permitted on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The number of rabbits that are allowed to be caught per day is unlimited, whereas only three hares may be caught on any day with hounds (only two hares if hunted with rifles). All rabbits caught this year appear to be of good health which might indicate a possible end of the Myxomatosis virus that has been raging in Mallorca for almost 40 years now. Consequently, more rabbits are being caught this year than ever.

The photos were taken between Cap Blanc and Llucmajor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: October 6th, 2009. The time was 15:51:28, 15:36:49 and 15:55:28, respectively.

The Ibicenco Dog