Cypriots eat Robins and Song Thrushes at Christmas time


When I first stumbled upon a bird trapper whilst walking my dog, at first I wasn’t sure what was going on. It wasn’t until a conversation later that I realised that he’d been out to catch songbirds, including our favourite Christmas bird the robin. His furtiveness should have told me that he was up to something criminal plus the fact I never saw him again. Apparently these criminals use pieces of wood coated with glue that often rip feathers from the birds as they struggle to escape. The robins, song thrushes and other birds are then sold to restaurants and turned into a Cypriot delicacy known as ambelopoulia. This traditional dish came about centuries ago as a result of a shortage of traditional meat.

It is estimated that 700,000 birds a year are trapped and mostly through large scale operations which involve planting acacia forests to attract the birds and then either trapping them in mesh nets or on limesticks coated with glue. Most of these activities take place in the south, although I personally have seen evidence of these practices on a smaller scale in the north. If you do come across these criminals, at the very least disrupt the activity but if you are as incensed as I now am, please call the local police.

[1] Birdwatch

More than one million songbirds, including Britain’s favourite Christmas bird the robin, are being killed and eaten every year in Cyprus, conservationists have warned.

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