Surrey Bird Club would like to remind birders of the dangers of the theft of birding equipment from cars and even the risk of mugging. Unlike most other personal possessions, our equipment is easily visible to casual observers and valuable items become an obvious target for the ruthless who are out to make quick and easy money, regardless of the impact on others. The well-known bird watching sites and car parks, often quite remote, are a convenient focus for these activities.

There are a number of recommendations which it is worth considering at the start of a new year.

  • Watch with a companion where possible, particularly in isolated areas.
  • Keep aware of the people around you, as well as the birds.
  • Do not leave equipment in your car.
  • Mark the equipment with an ultra-violet pen, register it and add a label that it is marked.
  • Remove bird watching indicators from your car – I am very sad to lose my Surrey Bird Club car sticker.
  • Check the conditions on your car and home contents insurance policies.

These are sensible precautions but the risks should not be exaggerated and they shouldn’t be allowed to spoil the pleasures in being outdoors and watching birds. Watching a relatively unknown, local patch is likely to offset much of the risk and green birding without a car will remove the risk almost entirely.

Take care, and keep yourself and your equipment safe in 2023.