A COLONY of European migratory birds known as bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) that sometimes overshoot north of its normal range of southern Europe, northern Africa and western Asia and occasionally breed in northwest Europe, laid nests in holes in a sand wall in the village of Leles in the eastern-Slovak lowlands. Unfortunately, their nests were destroyed by some unknown person, the Slovak ornithology association, BirdLife Slovensko, discovered in mid-June. They claim that the destruction of the colony appears to have been a deliberate act to kill these birds.
“During a field excursion near the village of Leles, we found 30 damaged European bee-eater nesting holes. Some of them were stuffed with foam rubber, others were walled in, and traces in the nesting wall showed that some of the nesting birds were dug out. When removing the foam rubber, we found dead birds and cold eggs,” Ján Uhrín of BirdLife Slovensko told the SITA newswire.
The birders also found some feathers under the dug-out nesting holes which indicate the killing of birds the culprit may have surprised during the destruction of the colony. According to Uhrín, the trapped birds had no chance to escape. “They suffered for several days behind the foam rubber until they died of hunger,” he said. He added that the offender invaded the most vulnerable part of the nesting area and, without scruples, wiped out almost the entire nesting colony that was among the most important in eastern Slovakia. “We have filed a criminal complaint against an unknown offender as well as a complaint with the Slovak environmental inspectorate,” he said.
6. Jul 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports