In this issue you will read of a success at each end of the spectrum of bird protection, a spectrum measured not in importance but in diversity of purpose.
After many years of uphill struggle against entrenched views among pressure groups and politicians, the Italian Parliament has finally banned the catching of wild birds for use as live decoys. LIPU declared this to one of its aims on its foundation 50 years ago, but it has taken that long to bring success after petitions, campaigns and complaints to the European Commission and Court whose judgement has compelled Italy to enact the new law.
Meanwhile, in Apulia in the south Enzo Cripezzi and his friends has been busy on the ground guarding a Montagu’s Harrier nest from foxes and inadvertent damage by farm machinery.
This reminded me of a trip to Hungary twenty years ago when we were trying to locate Great Bustard nests in fields on alfalfa. Long days spent scanning fields for the moment when the sitting female raised her head and looked around while incubating eggs. We would plot the position and the project leader from MME (BirdLife in Hungary) would then speak to the farmer and tell him what had been found.
The farmers invariably co-operated and would fence off squares around the birds; in the coming days they would reap around these areas which must have been difficult and inconvenient but they were happy to have been given the chance to help.
Enzo’s efforts were not without drama but were successful and a new harrier was helped on its way into a life on the wing. From grass roots to national Parliament the work is going on – Avanti LIPU!