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While it twitched and futilely turned its head, Rutigliano videoed it from multiple angles, and an older Italian volunteer, Dino Mensi, took still photographs.
The team, which was led by a skinny, full-bearded young Italian named Andrea Rutigliano, fanned into the orchard, taking down the sticks, rubbing them in dirt to neutralize the glue, and breaking them in half. In a lemon tree, we found a male collared flycatcher hanging upside down like a piece of animal fruit, its tail and its legs and its black-and-white wings stuck in glue.
southeastern corner of the Republic of Cyprus has been heavily developed for foreign tourism in recent years.
Large medium-rise hotels, specializing in vacation packages for Germans and Russians, overlook beaches occupied by sunbeds and umbrellas in orderly ranks, and the Mediterranean is nothing if not extremely blue.
Every time we saw a Cypriot in a truck or a field, we had to duck down and backtrack over rocks and pants-piercing thistles, for fear that somebody would alert the owner of the trapping site.
There was nothing larger at stake here than a few songbirds, there were no land mines on the hillside, and yet the blazing stillness had a flavor of wartime menace.
While Heyd and Conlin discussed whether to get up before dawn the next day and try to “ambush” the trapper, Rutigliano stroked the head of the thrush nightingale. Rutigliano put the bird on the ground and watched as it scurried, looking more mouselike than birdlike, under a small thornbush. Heyd reached into it from two sides, captured the bird, held it gently in his hands, and looked up at me and Conlin. The sun had expanded its reach across the entire sky, killing its blue with whiteness.
“Maybe in a few hours he can walk better,” he said, unrealistically.“Do you want me to make the decision? Rutigliano, without answering, wandered up the hill and out of sight.“Where did it go? As we scouted for an approach from which to ambush the grove, it was already hard to say how many hours we’d been walking.Then a man in a pickup truck passed us, and the team, fearing that he might be going ahead to take down lime sticks, followed him at a trot.In the man’s back yard, we found two pairs of twenty-foot-long metal pipes propped up in parallel on lawn chairs: a small-scale lime-stick factory of the sort that can provide good income for the mostly older Cypriot men who know the trade.“We’ll keep it tonight, and it can fly tomorrow.”“Even without a tail? They are the main target of Cypriot trappers, but the by-catch of other species is enormous: rare shrikes, other warblers, larger birds like cuckoos and golden orioles, even small owls and hawks.Stuck in lime in the second orchard were five collared flycatchers, a house sparrow, and a spotted flycatcher (formerly widespread, now becoming rare in much of northern Europe), as well as three more blackcaps.It fell forward and flopped piteously, pushing its head into the mud.