Whether this ends up as a colossally bad decision remains to be seen. But for the time being, it looks like Maltese politician Karmenu Vella will probably be the European Union’s next environmental commissioner.

Malta, you might recall, has the dubious distinction of being a hotspot for illegal hunting of protected birds. (Like the felled Turtle Dove photographed above by the BBC.)

So European conservationists and birders expressed reservations about how well Vella would uphold EU laws. (After all, protection statutes are toothless if they’re not enforced throughout a bird’s migratory path.) During a confirmation hearing, Vella pledged to make sure the laws are implemented in all EU countries.

Meanwhile, back in Malta, the carnage appears to be continuing. BirdLife Malta posted about the suspected shooting of a Short-toed Eagle.

Written by Meredith Mann
The lowly Red-winged Blackbirds in suburban New York triggered Meredith Mann's interest in birds. Five years later, she's explored some of the the USA's coolest hotspots, from Plum Island in Massachusetts to the Magic Hedge in Chicago to the deserts of Fallon, Nevada. She recently migrated from the Windy City (where she proudly served as a Chicago Bird Collision Monitor, rescuing migrants from skyscrapers and sidewalks) to Philadelphia, where she plans to find new editing and writing gigs; keep up her cool-finds chronicle, Blog5B; and discover which cheesesteak really is the best. And she will accept any and all invitations to bird Cape May, NJ.