Nest robbery remains a serious threat in Europe

Imperial eagle nest and young ©Tibor Juhasz/MME-BirdLife Hungary

The protection of naturally occurring wild birds is expanded to their eggs, nests and habitats under the Birds Directive. The taking of eggs or chicks has contributed to the decline of several bird species. This practice has been outlawed in most European countries during the 20th century.

Egg taking for collection

Collectors take one or more eggs from wild clutches to build collections of different species and trade with one another. Rare breeding species are particularly vulnerable to egg collectors.

Egg or young collection for breeding

Collectors take egg(s) or young(s) from nests. Many species are difficult to breed in captivity providing an incentive to take eggs or fledglings directly from the wild. The young are often fitted with closed foot rings (wildly used by breeders to prove the origin of their birds) to look like they were legally captive bred.

Keeping protected birds or eggs in captivity, or trading them, are illegal without official permits from the relevant authorities.