I offer no apologies for returning once again to the subject of the illegal trapping of Goldfinches. It is a subject highlighted on this blog a number of times.
From The York Press - Tuesday 21 July 2015
"A York man whose hobby was snaring wild song birds was caught setting traps by the roadside while going to Seamer Horse Fair, a court heard. Alan Smith, 59, was staying on a site in Gate Helmsley, en route to the fair, when he placed a cage in a nearby hedge. The trap, containing a Goldfinch and food, was designed to lure a second Goldfinch onto a perch, after which the cage door would slam shut.
Prosecutor Katy Varlow said the bird - which Smith said he had got from a man in a pub in Leeds - was "extremely agitated". She added: "It would not go on the perch. It was banging against the side of the trap. It was clearly not used to being in captivity."
Wildlife officer PC Graham Bilton, based at Eastfield, near Scarborough, removed the cage but Smith and his fellow travellers were off the site, Scarborough magistrates heard on Monday. However, the officer caught up with the same group of caravans when they pitched camp for a second time a few days later at Scagglethorpe, by the A64. Again, a cage had been laid out to snare a second Goldfinch, and this time a Goldfinch already caught in the wild was inside as a decoy, Ms Varlow continued, adding: "Small finches are extremely popular to be targeted for illegal trapping.
"They're protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act but very popular with the travelling community due to their melodic song and colourful attractive plumage." Smith, of The Clifton Caravan Site in Water Lane, York, was given a six month community order. He was also fined £100 with £85 costs and ordered to pay a £60 surcharge and £150 court charge. Presiding magistrate Pam Macfie said: "This is a most unusual case."
I think not Pam.
“Smith admitted eight offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of taking and possessing wild birds, using a trap and using the birds as decoys earlier this month. Ian Brickman, mitigating, said: "He has no particular use for the birds. It's just a hobby. "There was no suggestion the cage was in itself cruel."
PC Bilton said after the hearing: “It is important that those responsible for committing wildlife crimes are brought to justice. This type of crime can have a dramatic effect on local fauna and flora, yet often go unreported and are difficult to investigate.”
RSPCA Inspector Geoff Edmond said the case highlighted the illegal trapping of song birds - which was just as much a problem as the targeting of birds of prey. He said: "It highlights our concern that birds are still being illegally taken from the wild when people should be able to enjoy seeing them in the countryside."
Bird ringers catch and release Goldfinches and many other species so as to generate information on the survival, productivity and movements of birds, helping us to understand why populations are changing.
Periodically I check my blog stats to see the “who, why, where and when” of readers. It’s a way of finding out what people like to read about and for which species readers may have a special interest. Sometimes there has been interest shown in in Goldfinches.
The screen grab below from my stat provider is just the latest in a number of Internet searches to find ways of illegally trapping Goldfinches. The searcher enters their chosen words, in this case AOL, and the search engine provides a list of subjects which includes all manner of references to Goldfinches, including the blogs of bird watchers and bird ringers which will often innocently include the word ”Goldfinch”.
Up To No Good
So, Internet searcher of IP Address 178-149-131-72 via Talktalk from Reading, Berkshire on 5th September 2015, we are on to you. Your motives in using search request "how can i catch a goldfinch" have criminal intent.
The trapping, possession and sale of wild finches is an area of criminal activity which remains a widespread problem in the UK especially among travellers and immigrants from certain countries. Possession or control of a wild bird is an offence of strict liability. Anybody possessing wild birds is obliged to show that their possession is lawful.
There is a ready market in the UK for trapped wild finches, and many species fetch £50 or more when sold. It has also been shown that some of the finches trapped in the UK are exported to other European countries such as Malta.
Blog readers, bird watchers, bird ringers and bird lovers, please remain aware and vigilant that this nasty activity may be taking place close to you. If you see or hear anything which you think is suspicious contact the RSPCA or the Police immediately.
Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.
Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.