Kieran Dodds

Bugibba, MALTA

Anonymous Maltese birdwatcher, 19. 'I have a background in hunting and trapping but I get to see the other side. I started appreciating birds. Recently, I started as a trainee bird ringer. I was mostly with my uncles who are hunters and I used to trap with them but then they didn't encourage me to become a hunter. When I saw shot birds or injured birds, instead of having fun of catching them I used to be sorry for them, to pity them. And that is what made me angry and change. If you are out and show what you are doing, you get verbal abuse sometimes. -- Even with friends I dont tell them what I do. Birdwatching is my only hobby and my passion, sometimes even an obsession. -- The situation seems to get better. Hunting used to be more open so if a rare bird was shot it was in the newspaper as something nice but now it's the other side. Illegal hunting is becoming less. Rare birds are still shot but other birds, like Little Egrets, are shot less. -- But still there are some that are shot. -- As an NGO, Birdlife Malta has about 3000 members but few are birdwatchers and in the field everyday. We need to get the mentality that being a birdwatcher is not bad. For hunters, birdlfe is something bad. -- Some members have been shot at and injured, others go their car burned, verbal abuses, physical abuses also and thats the bad side of being a birdwatcher. -- Black storks are one of my favourite bird, but I have seen it shot down many times, so that is the bad side of seeing something rare on Malta. At that time, I get angry, you have a lot of anger inside. But there is nothing you can do, you see it there, you get angry but you can do nothing

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Kieran Dodds
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