Monday, 14 December 2009

Stuffed birds

This morning I visited a friend of mine who I've known for over a year now. We get on very well. She loves birds and has made her large garden in Holland Park, west London into a bit of a nature reserve with at least 12 nestboxes of all descriptions - ranging from owl and woodpecker boxes through to your regular tit boxes.

She also loves woodpeckers and travels to eastern Europe annually to catch up with the specialities there. Today when I walked into her home she presented me with a large, old looking display case with a drake Goldeneye and Shoveler plus a pair of Kingfishers all stuffed and presented in a pseudo riparian habitat scene.

I posted news of this new acquisition on my Facebook page and was met with by a mixed reaction. It now appears that as the Goldeneye is a Schedule 1 species I could face up to 6 months in prison if the bird was proven to have been shot.

This raises a lot of questions. How can it be proved if the bird was shot? What if it was procured outside of the UK? What if it died of natural causes? And what about some of the stores, homes and workplaces that I have visited with stuffed birds on display? One place in particular had a Great Northern Diver on display, does that mean that they are breaking the law too?

Does the fact that I accepted this gift without asking questions make me a criminal?

2 comments:

Andrew Kinghorn said...

"old looking display case with a drake Goldeneye and Shoveler plus a pair of Kingfishers all stuffed and presented in a pseudo riparian habitat scene."

I can't see how this could be a problem. I would think that the brids where shot years ago when there was no law against killing birds. I have heard about Capercaillie on display in the Borders and also I have seen Ptarmigan, Pheaseant, and Grouse all on display in Scotland.

Seems very strange that you could be charged. I would say they where shot years ago becuase you said they where in a old display case.

Stuart's Poor Birding World said...

The only crime here is one against taste probably (and that is notoriously subjective)!