The rugged west coast. Photograph by the author.
A Montagu’s harrier on spring migration in Malta. Photograph by Aron Tanti, published with permission.
Trappers’ hides (duri) positioned strategically along a coastal cliff edge to intercept incoming migrants. Photograph by the author.
A hunter immersed in the spring landscape. Photograph by the author.
Cherchez l’oiseau: in the north of Gozo, a patch of land that is reserved for hunting is both naturally on a leading line (a cliff edge close to the coast) and a ‘made’ place through the planting of eucalyptus trees. Photograph by the author.
Birdwatchers congregate ħdejn iċ-ċipressa, Buskett, on a typical September afternoon. Photograph by the author.
The T-shirts worn by CABS volunteers make it clear what the intention is. Photograph by the author.
Uncertain future: a turtle dove. Photograph by Aron Tanti. Published with permission.
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Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology
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Birds of Passage
Hunting and Conservation in Malta
256 pages, 21 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-766-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2020)
eISBN 978-1-78920-767-5 eBook
“This is an excellent piece of scholarship on the anthropology of conservation (bird hunting and trapping) in Malta. It represents an important contribution to conservation studies and to the anthropology of the Mediterranean.” • Paul Sant-Cassia, University of Malta
Bird migration between Europe and Africa is a fraught journey, particularly in the Mediterranean, where migratory birds are shot and trapped in large numbers. In Malta, thousands of hunters share a shrinking countryside. They also rub shoulders with a strong bird-protection and conservation lobby. Drawing on years of ethnographic fieldwork, this book traces the complex interactions between hunters, birds and the landscapes they inhabit, as well as the dynamics and politics of bird conservation. Birds of Passage looks at the practice and meaning of hunting in a specific context, and raises broader questions about human-wildlife interactions and the uncertain outcomes of conservation.
Mark-Anthony Falzon is a social anthropologist at the University of Malta and a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge. His publications include Cosmopolitan Connections: The Sindhi Diaspora, 1860-2000 (OUP-India, 2005) and Multi-sited Ethnography: Theory, Praxis and Locality in Contemporary Research (Ashgate, 2009).
Subject: General Anthropology Environmental Studies
Area: Southern Europe
List of Illustrations
Chapter 1. Troubled Journeys
Chapter 2. All in the Blood
Chapter 3. The Rising Tide of Conservation
Chapter 4. Making Place for Hunting
Chapter 5. Watching over Migrants
Chapter 6. How Many Fowl Is Fair?
Glossary of Species Mentioned in the Book
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