Egg Collectors Face New Crackdown
They say that it takes all sorts but it is difficult to understand why anyone would want to collect birds’ eggs. Quite apart from the fact that the practice distresses the birds, the removal of eggs seriously threatens the survival of our native species. But there are still collectors out there, despite the practice being illegal.
Severe Penalties for Collecting Wild Birds’ Eggs
Sadly, it is the eggs of the rarest species which are the most sought after. Collectors will go to great lengths to get them but if they are successful they cannot then show off their eggs for fear of finding themselves in prison. Those who are caught stealing eggs can face up to six months in jail and fines of up to £5,000. The eggs that they collect cannot be sold and so there is no money to be made from the hobby.
Now, as part of Operation Wilderness, police in Devon have launched a crackdown on egg thieves. Nests in several locations have been fitted with cameras to catch the criminals in the act.
Raven, goshawk and peregrine falcon nests are among those being fitted with the small cameras. The police won’t reveal exactly how many of the cameras have been installed or where they are, but the Wildlife Crime Officer of Devon and Cornwall Police, Josh Marshall, has said that South Devon and the southern fringes of Dartmoor were known hotspots for 'egging'.
Recently an egg collector was detained in South Devon and two people were treated to a trip to the police station for acting suspiciously and taking photographs close to a peregrine falcon’s nest near Brixham. The police are certainly on the case!
The Police aim to make life as tough as possible for the egg collectors who are seriously impacting the fortunes of endangered species and potentially preventing other people from enjoying sightings of the birds.
Egg Collecting Dying Out
Egg collecting is a strange pastime and a legacy of the Victorian era, but happily it is dying out. The remaining collectors are people who were born in the 1960s or earlier. Hopefully, a greater understanding of the damage that can be done together with the efforts of the police will put an end to this unsavoury hobby.