I tell the story in Fighting for Birds of staying at the house of a grouse moor manager and being given grouse to eat for dinner. I quite like grouse but I prefer pheasant on my plate. There was a bit of an expectant hush as my host and some other guests waited to see my reaction to the profferred food. They all looked a bit deflated when I said ‘If they are good enough for hen harriers then they are good enough for me!’ and tucked in.
But I couldn’t eat a hen harrier – however yummy it might be (and they probably aren’t). Luckily our law-breaking upland residents aren’t scoffing hen harriers or selling them to the local restaurants as a tasty dish to set before tourists. In a way, I wish they were, it would make it all the easier to get people angry about it.
So think how BirdLife Cyprus staff, members and supporters must feel when they see ambelopoulia on local menus. How would you like to settle down to a snack of robins and blackcaps? Would the occasional willow warbler add to the spiciness? What is your favourite songbird meal?
Killing these songbirds is illegal, traditional and people make money out of it. Does that ring any bells?