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Join Raptor Camp Malta…

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About BirdLife Malta

BirdLife Malta is the most effective and successful organisation in the fight against illegal hunting of protected species in Malta. BirdLife Malta forms part of the BirdLife International partnership which includes organisations such as RSPB in the UK, NABU (Naturschutzbund) in Germany, VBN (Vogelbescherming Nederland) in Holland, SVS/BirdLife Switzerland, SOF (Sveriges Ornitholgiska Forening) in Sweden, LIPU (Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli) in Italy and many others.

What is Raptor Camp Malta about?

BirdLife Malta, since the late 1990s, has organised a camp during the annual autumn raptor migration period. Both local and international volunteers join this camp with the express aim to curtail illegal hunting activity and collect data on bird migration. This is no bird watching holiday, but a serious conservation effort!

What’s in it for you?

This is an excellent chance to make a genuine contribution to wildlife conservation and experience life in another country. You will be given the opportunity to get involved in serious conservation work and, more importantly, play a part in Malta’s fight to stop the illegal hunting of protected species. You will experience the positive effects of your work immediately on a day to day basis.What does the camp consist of?

Illegal hunting surveillance and raptor migration monitoring are the two main elements forming the camp. These are carried out every day during the morning and afternoon. As well as monitoring raptor migration, participants will also record migration of a range of other species, including herons, bee-eaters, orioles, thrushes and doves.

When not working on the main Raptor Camp objectives, participants are free to choose from a variety of planned and non-planned activities. These include other conservation work and/or birding-related activities and also other leisure activities such as cultural visits to historic sites, trips to the other islands, and swimming and other social activities. In the evening work shops, discussions and films will be organized for the participants.

Illegal hunting surveillance

Volunteers will look out for hunters and watch for illegal hunting activities. Camp attendees will effectively be working as ‘look-out posts’ to inform police of illegal hunting activities and their whereabouts. The volunteers will record data on illegal activities as well as trying to gather evidence through cameras and video cameras. At times, in the absence of police, volunteers’ presence is used to curtail illegal hunting activities through a cautionary approach. Past experience shows that the mere presence of birdwatchers who will report infringements to the police is an active deterrent. Raptor Migration Monitoring

Volunteers will look out for raptors, identify the species and record basic data. The most common migrants at this time of year are Marsh Harrier, Honey Buzzard, European Hobby and Common Kestrel, while other migrants include Osprey, Montagu’s Harrier, Eleonora’s Falcon and Lesser Kestrel. Data recorded includes species, age and sex (where possible), location, and time of sighting.

One of the teams in the field monitoring migration.

Other conservation work

Raptor Camp attendees will also be exposed to a variety of conservation work during their stay at the camp in the form of field work on BirdLife Malta’s project sites. Attendees will work at the camp for 5 days per week and have 1 day per week to work on a conservation site of their choice. (If you want to also take part in other conservation projects please write to nicholas.crockford@birdlifemalta.org two weeks before you arrive in Malta.)

Also, when not working on the main Raptor Camp objectives, participants are free to choose from a variety of planned and non-planned activities. These include both birding-related activities and other leisure activities. Ringers will need to provide a copy of their licence prior to their arrival in order to obtain local ringing licence should they wish to participate in ringing activities while in Malta. In the evening work shops, discussions and films will be organized for the participants.What skills do you need to join Raptor Camp Malta?

All one really needs is enthusiasm and motivation to fight against illegal hunting of protected species. However, a number of volunteers are required to have raptor identification skills. For those without raptor identification skills, a crash course in raptor ID will be provided at the beginning and in the middle of the camp. All volunteers will be required to participate in chores to look after the camp.

What about accommodation, food and transport while in Malta?

BirdLife Malta organizes group accommodation in a family run apart-hotel in Buskett Forest. This hostel also acts as the base of all activities during the camp. Depending on the number of attendees, a second hotel may also be rented in the north of the island. Accommodation, food, transport during the camp activities will be organized for the group. The attendees will pay for transportation from and to the airport.How long does the camp last?

The camp starts on the 13th September and lasts for just over 2 weeks ending on the 28th September. Volunteers may come for one or two weeks depending on their availability and the flight schedule.

How much does Raptor Camp cost?

The cost per day for the camp is Euro 20 (£16Stg). This includes:

Shared accommodation in apartments

Continental breakfast (breads, jams, cold cuts, tea and coffee); packed lunch (sandwich and a whole fruit); and Cooked Dinner

All transport during working activities

Extras:

transfer from the airport to the hotel (and from hotel to airport) can be organised for you by the hotel. This roughly costs Euro 25 per trip

a minimal extra cost is charged for persons wishing to attend excursions to cover the cost of transport (excursions are optional)

any other personal costs one spends on leisure

For more information and to participate

Simply send an email to raptorcamp@birdlifemalta.org outlining what information you need.

4th July 2014