The French tradition of trapping birds on glue-covered twigs, common in the south-east, cannot be allowed, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) has ruled.
The court said the use of a traditional hunting method did not mean another solution should not be used.
French hunters were told to suspend glue-trapping last July as the European Commission said it would take legal action, because the practice does not comply with EU law on hunting and capture.
Some conservationists have condemned the practice.
France's League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) challenged the practice known as "chasse à la glu" at the CJEU, arguing that it harmed not just songbirds but other birds too.
In its decision yesterday, the Court said no EU country could allow a method of hunting birds that led to unintentional capture of birds (by-catch) "where that by-catch is likely to cause harm other than negligible harm to the species concerned".
It was highly likely that even if birds were cleaned they would still sustain "irreparable harm" from limes that damaged the feathers of any bird captured.