Franzen also visits the nation of Malta, where it is estimated that about 12,000 people hunt songbirds for food and sport and mounts (there is plenty of illegal trapping, too, according to the story). Malta is in the middle of a major migration path for European songbirds, so millions of them have to pass through every spring, which is when the majority of hunting traditionally has taken place. Not surprisingly, killing so many songbirds on the way to their breeding grounds means that there are a lot fewer birds these days, not just in Malta, but in the countries where the birds spend the other seasons. The fight is on, between the legitimate- or at least licensed- hunters and the anti-hunters from Malta and from all across the European Union. Meanwhile, most in the story agree, the illegal shooters and trappers are hard at work, spring, summer and fall, with enforcement of the laws protecting the birds as lax as ever. The hunters interviewed seemed unable to set aside their differences with the anti-hunters (maybe that would be impossible), even though both want there to be more birds, and more protection. Both groups seem unable to get law enforcement to actually enforce the laws protecting the birds that remain. It's a Mexican standoff- or in this case a Maltese one. There's not much discussion of habitat in it, either.