10 rare bird eggs stolen off the Suffolk Coast

10 rare eggs stolen off the Suffolk Coast Credit: RSPB

The RSPB and Suffolk Police are appealing for information after 10 little tern eggs were illegally taken from nests at a colony at Kessingland, on the Suffolk Coast.

EU Life+ Little Tern Recovery Project volunteers and staff work shifts to watch and count little terns at Kessingland throughout daylight hours, when the birds are most vulnerable to disturbance.

On Monday morning 19th June, ten eggs were missing and human ‘Puma’ trainer footprints and dog paw prints were seen in the sand throughout the fenced colony.

A little tern- Britain's second rarest tern bird Credit: RSPB

The little tern is one of the UK’s rarest seabirds, having suffered chronic declines over the past 25 years.

The birds travel a 6,000 mile round trip each year to breed on the beaches of the British Isles, but their numbers have been declining as they struggle to find safe beaches to nest and feed their young, free from predators and human disturbance.

Annette Salkeld, RSPB Warden of North Suffolk Coast Reserves said: “With over half of the UK breeding population making a home on the East Anglian coast during the summer, and some of the largest colonies being found in Suffolk, it is vitally important that we protect this rare seabird.

There are approximately 1,500 to 1,900 pairs of little terns in the UK. Credit: RSPB

Mark Thomas, RSPB Senior Investigations Specialist said: “Little terns are the second rarest breeding seabird in the UK so is it likely this incident will have a significant impact on their regional population in East Anglia."

It has been illegal to take the eggs of most wild birds since the Protection of Birds Act 1954 and it is illegal to possess or control any wild birds' eggs taken since that time under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.