In northern Pontebba (near Udine), the border police found 458 wild-bird chicks in a Polish vehicle today, mostly all Warblers (Acrocephalus spp). 133 of the animals had already died.
Three men from Poland are suspected. On 2 June, the Provincial Police in Brescia (also northern Italy) had found a thrush nest with young animals at a private house. In Bolzano and Meran (South Tyrol), four bird traders with freshly stolen chicks had already been caught by the Carabinieri in May.
With the birds, the poachers operate a lucrative trade. They are ringed and sold as alleged offspring to hunters who use them in the songbird hunt.
Since 2016, CABS in South Tyrol has specifically targeted the chick thieves. Most cases are uncovered by the police during random checks – it’s just the tip of a huge iceberg.