Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Monitoring hunting with birdlime: a large-scale operation carried out by the OFB in the PACA region

Environmental police

While hunting with birdlime has been forbidden for the 2020/2021 season, a major monitoring operation has mobilised OFB teams in south-eastern France. In order to ensure that the ban is observed, inspections were made over one week in sites where hunting with birdlime was carried out.

In late August, the Ministry for Ecological Transition decided that authorisation for hunting with birdlime would not be renewed for the 2020-2021 season. This traditional hunting practice captured thrushes and blackbirds to be used as live decoys for hunting with guns. Further to this decision, the Ministry wished to maintain pressure for this hunting season.

A large-scale operation which showed that the ban was generally respected

Organised by the PACA-Corsica inter-regional division, the “SECOTINE” operation took place from Saturday 24 October to Sunday 1 November 2020 over a wide area. The Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and the Vaucluse, 3 of the 5 departments concerned by hunting with birdlime were inspected. 90% of limers (people who hunt with birdlime) live in these departments.

Twenty environmental inspectors from departmental services and the PACA-Corsica inter-regional division of the OFB were mobilised for the operation. They were backed up by 15 Mobile Operation Squad (BMI) agents accrossFrance. Out of all the places visited, only one hunter was not complying with the ban on hunting with birdlime. 

But which revealed infractions of other kinds

While the environmental inspectors focused their inspections on any possible hunting with birdlime in areas where this type of hunting was particularly common, they likewise noted other infractions of the environment code: capture of protected species, hunting safety, driving motor vehicles in natural areas.

Crédit photo : Concha Agero / OFB

The SECOTINE’ operation inspected 380 lime traps and 175 hunters.
Other than the lime offence, 34 other infractions (13 misdemeanours and 21 petty offences) were noted for various reasons: destruction of protected species, prohibited methods and means of hunting, lack of safety or driving on prohibited tracks.

For the purposes of the operation, several seizures were carried out (shotguns, ammunition, prohibited devices, game, protected species).

Hunting with birdlime

Hunting with birdlime is a traditional hunting method aimed at capturing Turdidae (thrushes and blackbirds) alive to use them as decoys for hunting with guns.

This technique involves applying glue to sticks of wood called verguettes to capture birds, which are then removed and put in cages to attract other wild birds with their singing.

This traditional hunting method is concentrated in 5 departments in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur:

  • Alpes de Haute-Provence (04)
  • Alpes Maritimes (06)
  • Bouches du Rhône (13)
  • Var (83)
  • Vaucluse (84)

The practice is regulated and authorised during a specific time frame (generally from the beginning of October to 15 December) subject to a quota (set at 42 500 last season).

Forbidden by the European “Birds” Directive of 30 November 2009, this hunting practice was authorised, by special dispensation, in these 5 departments up until the 2019-2020 hunting season. This year, the French government wished to suspend this hunting awaiting the response of the European Union Court of Justice, which the Council of State had requested in late 2019 to clarify the interpretation of any possible dispensations.