Written in response to stories in the press questioning falling migrant bird numbers. Many blame this on farming practices and climate change but I have a different view (22nd April 2013)

The RSPB included the article in their ‘RSPB Daily’ (12th May 2013) http://paper.li/Natures_Voice/1294591314

For two winters I’ve had an unusual visitor to my bird-table – one bossy Blackcap. Watching him terrorise the more-usual winter fare of Sparrows, Tits and Dunnocks got me thinking; why on earth would this little warbler prefer to shiver in a Dorset garden than join his fellow Blackcaps wintering in the warmth of North Africa? Surely he must be quite mad? Then, someone sent me a link to a disturbing video that transformed my thinking of the little bully; maybe he wasn’t so bird-brained after all.

The video from British Forces News, showed distressing images of birds being netted in Cyprus. One species featured heavily – the Blackcap, identical to the bold bird hunkering down in my camellia. Apparently the Blackcap is a favourite of Cypriot bird trappers – a dozen fetch up to €80 to form the illegal and controversial dish, Ambelopoulia, comprising of grilled, pickled or boiled songbirds. As it’s not cost-effective to remove the entrails of the tiny corpse, the consumer is encouraged to swallow the bird whole.

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