May 19, 2013

"Since the time of the pharaohs, Egyptians have raised nets every autumn along the Mediterranean, to capture golden orioles, nightingales and corncrakes..."

"... as they wing their way south for the winter. It's an ancient tradition, but in recent years the custom has gotten out of hand."
A few scattered nets along the coast have metastasized into a nearly impenetrable wall of traps, stretching almost without break from the Gaza strip in the east to the Libyan border in the west. Conservative estimates set the annual death toll of migratory birds in this area at 10 million, but others say it is probably an order of magnitude more.

In some areas, especially near Libya, the birds are caught for subsistence, by people who currently have no other way to feed themselves, but the vast majority, perhaps eighty percent of the birds trapped, are sold in markets as a pricey delicacy or hocked to high-end restaurants in Cairo for up to five euros for each slight songbird.

12 comments:

Danno said...

As Hawaii doesn't have a a state bird, I would suggest they adopt their lame duck, Obama!

wyo sis said...

Passenger pigeon anyone?

Gahrie said...

Where the hell is PETA?

elkh1 said...

The birds surely miss Mubarak and Kaddafi.

edutcher said...

Those birds need insurance.

Afff-LACK!

ricpic said...

So it's bad to net these birds as a commercial proposition for sale to restaurants but good to net them and eat them yourself? Ah, the best and brightest mindset.

Rae said...

On a more serious note, this is really just a symptom of immanent Egyptian economic collapse. The hardcore Islamists have taken over, are kicking out the Christans and blaming the Jews rather than fixing problems.

KLDAVIS said...

The practice was banned in France when the ortolan became endangered. What a delicious little devil. The napkin over the head thing always struck me as weird, but 'when in Gaul'...

Gahrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fivewheels said...

I'm guessing the birds are sold (hawked) and not pawned or spit out (hocked). Seems like the kind of thing you usually point out.

William said...

Honeyed hummingbird tongues were popular among decadent Roman emperors. They're about ripe for a comeback. Perhaps some rap star could make them fashionable again.

Rick Lee said...

There was a lot of that going on in Malta (where I've been visiting a few times recently) but I think they had to crack down on migratory bird trapping once they got into the EU.