Although more than 80 species of birds can be legally hunted within the framework of the EU directive for the protection of birds, no European-wide monitoring scheme exists for the collection and analysis of information on the numbers of huntable birds shot annually. The aim of this study was to collect all available data on bird hunting statistics from the 25 member states of the EU, and additionally Switzerland and Norway, and to assess the number of individuals killed per species, country and year.
The total number of active hunters in the 27 countries covered by this study is some 6.8 million individuals.
The results of the study confirm that hunting represents a significant mortality factor for numerous bird species. It is suspected that high losses as a direct result of hunting accelerate the observed decline of
several migrant bird species with unfavourable conservation status throughout Europe (e.g. Lapwing, Common Snipe, Garganey, Skylark, Quail, Turtle Dove or Jack Snipe). In view of the in part dramatic
population losses of these species it is considered urgently necessary that a European-wide ban on their shooting should be enforced.