The complete guide to the birds of Malta
Natalino Fenech has really put his heart and sole into writing this book. Author of the ‘Fatal Flight, the obsession with killing birds’ in 1992, Natalino has now written everything there is to know about what is happening on his island of Malta. His research has taken him back 135000 years to the earliest fossil remains right up to the present time. The bones found showed a giant swan now extinct [not due to modern hunters!!] as well as an extinct species of crane and vulture. More modern rock carvings, mosaics, Roman oil lamps, religious carvings and wooden panels add to the bones found to tell this long history of birds on the island.
Natalino’s back ground was being brought up by hunters from his extended family but by an early age he saw his first live bird in the hand and suddenly knew which he preferred. From that early step forward he has worked tirelessly to change the opinions of the hunters and trappers towards realising that all birds should not be shot or trapped. The book is a ‘bible’ to the birds and Natalino hopes that it will be read by both sides of the divide. The fact that the book goes into great detail on both sides is a tribute to the history as he points out the early ornithologists also shot birds to study them and record them for the island list and also has many where a first for Europe as well.
This is a ‘coffee table’ book which can be read over and over again. Over 428 birds have been recorded on an island which can be easily explored by bus and ferry to see great landscapes, birds and flora. Forty of these birds have never been documented before on the island. The birds themselves have found fame on the island appearing on stamps, coins, family shields of arms, house names, paintings in traditional, classical and abstract and its all in here with many examples. Many photographs of birds were taken by Natalino and often show numbers of birds on migration which make up the majority of birds visiting the island. Breeding and wintering birds are well represented and these numbers will increase as more people on the island appreciate this great gift the island has.
Natalino has also gone into detail on what the island needs to do to prevent the killing of protected species giving many examples of what can be done. Only time will tell if Natalino’s dream will become a reality allowing the migration and breeding birds to flourish but you can help by visiting this island to see this great spectacle of birds for yourself.