Batumi footage depicts miracle – and horrors – of bird migration

A new video released by BirdLife International dramatically illustrates the importance of Batumi in Georgia for raptor migration – and underlines the urgent need for funding to protect the million-plus birds of prey streaming through the Caucasus on migration.

"Please help us save raptors and other migrants now"

Scenes of thermalling Steppe Buzzards and other species contrast graphically with close-up footage of dismembered raptors lying strewn on the ground. Countless thousands of birds are slaughtered illegally each year in Georgia, and the toll on Batumi’s passage raptors can be very heavy. The Batumi Raptor Count (BRC) was originally established as a monitoring organisation to document the extraordinary migration through this ‘bottleneck’, but after realising the scale of hunting pressures it has since expanded its mission to include conservation goals.

Batumi lies on the Eastern Mediterranean Flyway, and many of its passage raptors are the very same individuals seen on migration further south at Eilat in Israel. It’s therefore fitting that the inaugural Champions of the Flyway bird race, an international event taking place at Eilat on 1 April this year, is raising vital funds for innovative conservation work at Batumi. This includes a range of BRC-run projects which are working directly with communities to achieve mutually beneficial goals.

Birdwatch is committed to fundraising for this very important cause – and you can help! The Birdwatch-BirdGuides Roadrunners are one of 12 teams taking part in the event, and they urgently need your support – simply by making a small donation, you will be contributing to the growing fund going directly to conservation work on the ground in Georgia.

Dominic Mitchell, Managing Editor of Birdwatch and BirdGuides and team captain of the Roadrunners, says: “Please help us save raptors and other migrants now – go to www.justgiving.com/COTFBWBGR and make a quick and easy donation. Any amount, however large or small, will be gratefully received. The Roadrunners and all those involved in this campaign thank you for your valued support.”
Written by: Birdwatch news team