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Neighbour problem with wild birds

(142 Posts)
Chocolate50 Thu 21-May-20 08:09:18

We have nesting wild birds in our garden every year. My neighbour who we've been fairly friendly with for a number of years with no real issues (although has sometimes been a little selfish at times but I've let this go as don't want to create problems) asked me if I saw any abandoned eggs (sometimes happens) if she could have them so she could hatch them (I think her son was interested). I've given her a couple once I'm sure that the mother wasn't coming back.

Anyway there's a nest in our garden, with bird coming & going, but last week my neighbour says that there was another animal attacking this nest & she's taken all of the eggs - not sure how she knew this because she can't see the nest from her house. At this point I go outside to see mother bird really distressed looking for her eggs. So I knock on the neighbours door & ask if I can put the eggs back. No she tells me that the mother wouldn't accept them, I eventually persuade her to give them back as I'm worried about the mother bird & so she gives them all back (or I thought she did). I put the eggs on nest, bird sits on them & all is good.
However I am by this point annoyed that my neighbour has gone into my garden & without bothering to knock, has taken these eggs from this nest, however had made it clear we wanted them returned & she seemed to comply.

But then another turn. She sends me a message saying should she put 'the other eggs back too as she's not sure if she actually wants to hatch all of these birds' (bare in mind I thought that all of the eggs had been returned). I say yes put them back. Then I get a message with a picture of a newborn bird saying 'too late they're hatching'. This picture shows at least 6 eggs. I'm livid by this point. I ask her why she kept them & that they should be with the mother & that we don't believe in taking eggs out of nests with no good reason anyway - at the point that the mother returned that's when they needed to all go back & that the nest was in our fucking garden anyway. You get the drift.
I get a half hearted apology where she refuses to give hatched bird back to mother (I am certain that the mother bird would've accepted it) & saying that there's nothing she can do. I say well give them back now before the rest hatch. So I knock again on the door & ask for eggs back & say I'm going to phone wildlife help for advice. She reluctantly gives them (son looking disappointed in background me feeling like an ogre), I put them nest the nest mother takes them straight away & all is good again.
However I've now discovered that she kept at least 3 eggs. Her reasoning is that some are lost to predators in the wild, this totally goes against our ethics which are that the best place for these birds is with mother in wild & our role is to support but not interfere in this way. At the point that the mother bird returned & looked distressed was when they should've all gone back. I think my neighbour has been really selfish to do this & think she only wanted to bring up the birds herself for her own reasons, nothing to do with predators. My opinion has changed completely now about her & she had the opportunity to put things right & didn't.

I don't want to sound over dramatic but I'm actually feeling really violated - she was obviously watching the nest (I know she's used webcams on nests in her garden before now & the thought has crossed my mind), and am really angry that she came in, took these eggs, refused to return them, then only returned some & has really offended my ethical beliefs by objectifying these wild animals (I hear her son playing with these birds in their garden). I'm seriously pissed off.
I tried to explain this to her but she clearly thinks I'm over reacting & says things like 'its the same outcome, we'll raise them & let them go, this is what would've happened anyway except the mother would be raising them instead of us'.

So my dilemma is now I'm not able to trust my neighbour, do I try to communicate about this any longer or should I leave it. I'm aware that I could report her as I don't think what she's done is legal but it's done now. I just don't want it happening again, it's really stressed me out!

bigeegit Thu 21-May-20 08:15:13

Wow. She sounds insane, what an awful thing to do, poor mama bird! I would definitely tell her to at the very least not to go into your garden again and would look for advice from a wildlife group as to whether what she did is reportable or not, I assume it is.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Thu 21-May-20 08:19:39

How on earth do you play with a day old chick? Surely that is the definition of tedium.

They could easily get eg quail eggs on Ebay and hatch them if they like playing god. This is such a weird thing to do.

If you did communicate, what would you say? Do you live somewhere with trespass laws?

Ylvamoon Thu 21-May-20 08:22:03

You are not allowed to disturb nesting birds.

noitsachicken Thu 21-May-20 08:23:57

What you are both doing is strange and illegal

AdoptAdaptImprove Thu 21-May-20 08:26:55

It’s also illegal to take eggs from a bird’s nest. I am absolutely fuming about that. Those chicks will die - it would be impossible for a non-specialist to rear them, even if it was legal. Outrageous.

longwayoff Thu 21-May-20 08:27:30

Your neighbour's behaviour is insane. Nesting birds do not require any human intervention. I feel properly peeved with the stupid creature. Many wild birds are protected. Have nothing more to do with her.

leckford Thu 21-May-20 08:28:30

Messing with wild birds nests is illegal. She should be going no where near them.

Dodie66 Thu 21-May-20 08:29:26

What is the OP doing that is illegal noitsachicken

CuriousaboutSamphire Thu 21-May-20 08:30:12

Well, I can't get over how much you are offended by the fact she came into your garden and took your bird's eggs - that 'objectifying wild animals' offends your ethical beliefs!

And you are stressed out, how do you think the bloody birds feel? Or is that too objectifying?


It is illegal to disturb a nest, to take eggs.

You are all claiming ownership of a bird and her eggs!

You are all weird!

Veterinari Thu 21-May-20 08:30:14

I think you need to tell her that her behaviour is illegal and next time call the police

SerenDippitty Thu 21-May-20 08:30:22

Tell her what she’s doing is a crime and you will report her if she continues.

Kittenlicker Thu 21-May-20 08:30:25

Is this in U.K.? If so I believe it isn’t allowed to take eggs out of nests. I would be livid. Especially as she is trespassing. A strongly worded letter saying you will take legal action if she carries on might help...

Rosegoldglass Thu 21-May-20 08:30:32

I would be very clear that she is not to trespass into your garden and explain that she is breaking the law on two accounts.

ArthurMrdr2 Thu 21-May-20 08:31:47

Call the police. Taking eggs is illegal as is keeping wild birds.

LakieLady Thu 21-May-20 08:31:55

Surely this is a troll thread? No-one could be stupid enough to think that this was ok, could they?

I'd report the fucking woman in heartbeat, she's behaving appallingly. It's a really wicked thing to do.

Ravenclawgirl Thu 21-May-20 08:32:42

Neighbour proof your fences so she can't come into your garden again.

RosieLancs Thu 21-May-20 08:32:42

Usually I'm all for talking things out with neighbours before involving authorities but what this woman is doing is illegal and immoral.
In your shoes I would report her now without hesitation, you've tried being nice about it and educating her but she doesn't listen.

CoraPirbright Thu 21-May-20 08:33:14

She sounds utterly deranged! I would forward Adpot’s excellent links and tell her that if you suspect she is still doing it you will inform the authorities. Let’s hope she thinks twice when she reads this: Magistrates have the power to impose an unlimited fine and/or six month's imprisonment per egg.

BubblesBuddy Thu 21-May-20 08:33:44

And leave all the nests alone. Don’t take any eggs. If they want nesting birds, get a nest box but you all need to know taking eggs is illegal.

Trespass isn’t a “law”. You would have to take out a civil action. You could ask the police to speak to these people but you have taken eggs yourself so you are partly to blame. Leave them be. They are food for other animals if abandoned. No wonder bird numbers are reducing with people like you and your neighbour about!

SurfnTerfFantasticmissfoxy Thu 21-May-20 08:35:32

This is very illegal for good reason - report her and her son to your local wildlife crime officer. Egg collecting is a vile practice and she is a cheeky fucker for coming into your garden to do it!

CouscousEvaporator Thu 21-May-20 08:36:23

Stop messing around with the nests, both of you!!! You should have never given her them in the first place, what the hell were you thinking?! They aren’t yours.

Tell her you will call the police for trespassing and maybe get some cctv.

Kittenlicker Thu 21-May-20 08:36:25

@BubblesBuddy That’s a bit harsh, she was only reacting to what happened and trying to do the right thing.

Crayfishparty Thu 21-May-20 08:37:24

Please keep the messages and report the neighbour to the police, preferably to the wildlife crime officer.
That’s the best way for the neighbour to find out what they are doing is illegal and to get them to stop.

zscaler Thu 21-May-20 08:37:33

You are both being absolutely insane. I would report her to the RSPCA since interfering with nests is illegal. You’ll land yourself in trouble too since you took eggs for her, but I would still report her and come clean about yourself - explain that you did take eggs but you were sure they were abandoned and you know better than to do it again.

Then get a lock on your garden gate (or plant a bloody spiky hedge if you don’t have a fence that will keep her out) so she can’t go plundering again.

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