Sunday, 22 March 2015

Day 139 - Brilliant Birders Against Woeful Wildlife Crime

Chris and Henry the Hen Harrier
Hi all today's Day 139 and before I start today's post I just wanted to say I'm sorry that I didn't do a post last night. The reason for this was, I was at a Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC for short) conference. This was an amazing conference so much so that I have decided to write a post on it.

I got there by winning a sponsored ticket competition by writing an essay about wildlife crime. My essay was mainly about littering and how it can harm animals. You can see the essay I did on my guest blog on Click here to see it.

I was the youngest person at this conference followed closely by the other sponsored ticket winners, Sophie Bagshaw, Findlay Wilde and Georgia Locock. Click on their names to see their blogs. They were all very friendly to talk to and it was fun to meet some of my fellow wildlife bloggers.

As well as us younger people, there was also a lot of people that follow me on Twitter there. I met Rob Sheldon, who I am 'in touch with' and Mary Arnold, another Twitteree. They were all really nice and some of them were very generous like @Animal_Watch who gifted me a book called 'Inside Nature's Giants' which was actually signed by Simon Watt! Also Steve Mills (@shepster55), from who very kindly gave me a pack of playing cards which had birds on them! The best part, though, is that they'll help me to learn a bit of Greek as the names are in Greek! I'm learning them Steve!
We must look after natural treasures
as well as national treasures

So, down to the actual conference. The first speaker of the day was Chris Packham who's lecture was probably the most fun one of the day, as part of his talk he compared destroying a Constable painting to wildlife crime - they are both treasures that need to be protected for everyone but some people are getting away with destroying our wildlife treasure. You can see it to the right. -----}>

The main message that Chris was trying to get across was that you don't just care about Wildlife Crime you actually have to DO something about it.

Mark Avery doing his talk
#Haveyouseenhenry - I have :-)
Another favourite speech was by Mark Avery who was talking about Hen Harriers. One of the main things that he was talking about was Britain's Favourite Bird Vote. He was saying that the Hen Harrier is the only bird that will benefit from winning this vote as not many people know the strife that the Hen Harrier is going through because of Wildlife Crime and how, because of this, not many people will be able to help with what's happening. He said that there is only a small group of people that know about the Hen Harrier (about 4% of the UK's population) and half of these absolutely loathe Hen Harriers and the other half love them. If we can get the other 96% interested then we will completely out-weigh the people that are harming the harriers.

Please vote for the Hen Harrier here.

A nasty Fenn trap! 
Anyway, I have definitely learnt something at this conference and that is to help stop Wildlife Crime by reporting anything I see to the Police by calling 101. I also now know some of the law to do with Wildlife Crime like even just setting a Fenn trap (a trap that is legal under certain conditions but illegal under others) and putting it on a post where a bird could sit to get a good look-out to see prey. I learnt a lot about all of the work that a lot of groups do to protect species like bats and badgers.

So taking up Chris Packham's point what am I going to DO? Well, I will do what I can to get more people interested in wildlife and realise that we can all help prevent wildlife crime by looking out for it and reporting it. I will also try and get to Hen Harrier day to learn more and show support and I'm definitely going to get in touch with my local bat and badger groups to see if there is anything I can do to help them. I helped set up a bird club at school and I'll definitely be telling my friends there all about the day and how they can help as well.
One of the blokes I met there.

The last thing to do is to say a big thank you to Charlie Moores, Lawrie Phipps and all the Birders Against Wildlife Crime team for organising a brilliant day. It was the first conference I have been to and if I hadn't have won tickets I may not have gone. I wouldn't have realised it wasn't like a day sitting in class, what a great experience it would be and how many fantastic, friendly and caring people I would have met. Thank you!

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. Great post, Zach! I've been looking at all of the BAWC posts on Twitter, it's such an important subject to be talking about, and I love the comparison of the Constable painting against protecting birds. - Tasha

  2. Thanks Tasha, I'm sure it'll be talked about for a while. Hen harrier day next :-)

  3. Great write up Zach, wish I could have made it

    1. Thanks Ellis, plans are in the making for next year's event, maybe see you there.