Mark Cocker

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Over Easter I am part of an event called Champions of the Flyway, organised by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel which, in turn, is part of the wonderful global alliance BirdLife International.

 

The aim is to raise money and awareness of the annual slaughter of 20 million birds, big and small, rare and common, yours and mine, right across the Mediterranean. Here's one of them. This Lesser Whitethroat, trapped on a loathsome limestick in Cyprus, should mean a lot to any Briton. That bird could have nested near your garden, because all our Lesser Whitethroats pass through the eastern Mediterranean.

 

The image is on the cover of a damning report. Read it  here and weep. Better still, do something about it. I am honoured to be in a team called the Way Off Coursers (you can help by buying one of our limited-edition T shirts, designed by Julie Zickefoose). It includes Alvaro Jaramillo, Bill Thompson III and Ben Lizdas. Rockstar that he is, Bill has written an anthem for the whole event this year. It's fabulous. Check it out on YouTube.

 

Our aim is to raise money through a 'Big Sit', a 24-hour marathon in which we record as many species as possible. If you want to help us reach our target then please donate here. I also plan to go back in autumn to Cyprus and Greece, which is the focus of this year's programme, to research and write on the subject in the English-speaking media. So watch this space.

 

There are many challenges for nature in the world. The deliberate, illegal killing and trapping of birds is a problem they and we shouldn't still have to face. Here's what wanton destruction looks like. Below is a buzzard in eastern Europe this winter. Hunters had chopped its legs off and just left it to die at the roadside. Please support this important cause even if only via social media and help us get the message out.

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'the annual slaughter of 20 million birds right across the Mediterranean....' it just shouldn't happen. Let's stop it now.