Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e.V. Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e. V.
Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

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Goldfinch for 100 Euro - Illegal bird trade in Germany

Goldfinch seized from a bird-trapper in Oberhausen (NRW)
Goldfinch seized from a bird-trapper in Oberhausen (NRW)

Goldfinches and all other native songbird species are protected by law in Germany and may not be caught or sold as wild birds. An exception is captive-bred birds - which may be legally sold by breeders (fitted with a closed ring and accompanied with relevant paperwork to show origin). At bird trades and animal dealing, is becoming particularly prevalent on online sales platforms: (e.g. Ebay, Quoka, Tierflohmarkt, deine-tierwelt, dhd24, Gumtree to name but just a few. Live, native birds are repeatedly offered for sale as alleged captive-bred birds. As CABS research and subsequent criminal proceedings of the authorities have shown, numerous thieves and trappers are active amongst the legitimate breeders and who want to make financial gains from illegally trapping wild birds. Goldfinches, Siskins and Bullfinches are particularly exploited for illegal bird trade. 

In order to distinguish between legitimate and illegal offers, it is helpful to have a close look at the text of the advertisement and the photos. The first thing to do is to make sure that the birds offered are marked with a special ring. For bred individuals in Germany this is a legal obligation, i.e. the birds must be tagged shortly after hatching with closed, so-called "species protection rings". The diameter of these rings is precisely defined for each species. Therefore, they cannot be subsequently fitted to adult birds and thus serve as proof of breeding. They are only available from certain professional associations, where every customer is registered.

Illegal bird trade: what to do?

Anyone who comes across such suspicious advertisements online should report them to the responsible nature conservation authority. Since the place of residence of the provider dictates which district authority or authority of a district free city is responsible, the exact address of the provider or the facility must be available. On the basis of the data, the authority can then arrange for a spot-check to be carried out or check whether any keeping or offspring have been registered at the given address. This is because in addition to the obligation to ring, in Germany there is also a reporting obligation for owners of native bird species, which includes the regular reporting of the entire captive bird population to the authority.

Those who do not want to appear as a witness or has doubts whether a certain offer is serious, can also contact CABS experts. Please send an e-mail to komitee@komitee.de with a relevant weblink to advert details. Our experts will make every effort to follow up on any information provided. However, please understand that we have limited capacity at certain times.