Spring is a time of excitement for the birdwatching community. Sadly, the egg thief will be looking forward to busy times too, plotting criminal activities that include stealing precious clutches of eggs, which are our heritage.
At least 300 egg thieves are currently active in the UK, bent on committing crimes. They come in all shapes and sizes, from middle-aged members of the Jourdain Society to yobs in their twenties who are often members of egg thieving gangs.
The well-worn adage "the more birdwatchers that know a rare breeding bird's location, the better it is protected" must not be relied upon, as it very often doesn't apply - especially when the greedy and obsessed will travel hundreds of miles to raid a breeding site before dawn or after dusk.
With the advent of motorways, mobiles, pagers and indeed the Internet, birdwatchers enjoy many modern benefits; let's not inadvertently help egg thieves, who can also access these facilities to take advantage and abuse them! Please, take extra special care when sharing information, especially when we all agree that rare breeding birds' wellbeing is our first priority.
The RSPB is working with all information providers to minimise the threat to rare breeding birds. If you would like more information, Wild Birds And The Law, a plain guide to bird protection today, produced by the RSPB Investigations Section, is a useful source. For a copy please write to: The RSPB Investigations Section, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL. Telephone: (01767) 680551
Happy Birdwatching in 2002!