Stonechat / JFarrugia
The Comino Bird Ringing Project is held on the island of Comino (Kemmuna), a Bird Sanctuary which is of key importance for migratory birds. Comino is ideally situated in the Maltese islands, lying between Gozo and Malta, in an area that acts as a funnel for migrating birds. It is relatively undisturbed, having very few inhabitants and no hunting or trapping, which makes it ideal for this fieldwork.
The project, held annually since 1991, is undertaken twice a year; for a month in spring (15th of April to 15th of May) and two weeks in autumn (15th October to 31st October). During these two periods, large numbers of birds are ringed and released, with a yearly average of around 1500 birds in spring and 800 birds in autumn.
The intensive and standardised nature of this study means that we can study year-on-year changes in population sizes and age structures of the main migratory species passing over Malta. This is particularly true for the many species of migrant passerines that are often caught in large numbers during spring. These include several key warbler species like Icterine Hippolais icterina, Wood Phylloscopus sibilatrix, Subalpine Sylvia cantillans, Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis and Garden Sylvia borin, flycatchers (including Spotted Muscicapa striata, Collared Ficedula albicollis and Pied Ficedula hypoleuca and Whinchat Saxicola rubetra. This fieldwork has allowed us to record some interesting changes, such as the increase in Woodchat Shrikes Lanius senator in recent years.
Comino / ARaine
The Comino Bird Ringing Project is held in conjunction with several other small Mediterranean islands, and is co-ordinated by a wildlife institute in Bologna, Italy. BirdLife Malta also carries out intensive research on one of the most important aspects of Malta’s avifauna: seabird colonies.