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Birds Edition - March 2016
The edition of BOV Mastercard Pre Paid cards issued in March 2016 features four birds that can sometimes be seen on the Maltese Islands, The Red Kite, the Merlin, the Lesser Kestrel and the Peregrine Falcon.

The set of cards features photos shot in Malta by photographer Natalino Fenech.

 

Lesser Kestrel

The Lesser Kestrel is a     common spring and autumn migrant. Most are seen between March and late May, but they have also been recorded in February and as late as July. In autumn, they are usually seen between the first week of September and late October but can occasionally be seen from August to November. Small flocks are often seen on migration and birds sometimes spend up to a few weeks in the same area.

 

  Merlin

The Merlin is a small scarce falcon occurring mostly in autumn but some are also seen in winter and spring. In autumn, birds from northern Europe move south to central and southern Europe, with some reaching North Africa. Individual birds may spend several weeks in the same areas.

 

 

  Peregrine Falcon

The Peregrine is synonymous with Malta because of the deed that was signed on 23 March 1530 by Charles V, granting the Maltese Islands to the Knights of St John. In return, the Knights were obliged to pay the annual nominal rent of a falcon or a hawk on All Saints Day. The Peregrine was made famous in 1941 by the Warner Bros film The Maltese Falcon, featuring Humphrey Bogart.

The Peregrine is now a scarce breeding resident. Up to three pairs breed annually and Peregrines are present all year round. Migrants are also seen in both spring and autumn. 

  Red Kite

The Red Kite is a very rare and irregular visitor to the Maltese Islands. It appears mostly in September and October, but has been also recorded in May and December.  In 1843 the first Maltese ornithologist Antonio Schembri said Red Kites were more common in Gozo, where they bred, but this statement was disputed by subsequent ornithologists. 

 

 

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