Your roving journofowl has had to interrupt this week's Nature Notes slot after an insider at the RSPB leaked the full shocking extent of directed surveillance against birds. Not content with using undercover agents (or 'twitchers'), the shadowy 'protection' agency has gone on record as having roped in members of the public, including some who are underage and have received no proper training.
A covert operation codenamed the 'Big Garden Watch' is currently underway, with bulk collection of data across the UK. A spokesbird for the intelligence source within the RSPB revealed that information on all avian species, regardless of whether they pose a threat, are being held in huge databases and shared with the US. 'Legislation is clearly being flouted'.
RIPA (the Regulation of Invasive People Act 2000) indicates that crowds of children with clipboards pointing en-mass and yelling 'Sthparrow!' at chilly dunnocks sheltering in the shrubbery clearly constitutes harrassment, and is illegal without a warrant. In addition, WTA (the Wingless Twat Act 2006) makes it an offence anything that isn't another bird to intercept or interfere with our feathered brethren in the pursuance of their private business. We are seeing a rise in such outrageous practices as 'tit cams', which are broadcasting explicit material to networks of humans to watch behind closed doors.
One victim of a similar 'Big Garden Watch' last year, Snowden the White Egret (Hampshire), caused a public outcry after it was revealed that several different agents had reported his movements as being 'in their back yard' on the same date. He claimed that this was an outrageous misrepresentation. Snowden maintains his lofty perch on a willow by the Itchen, and wouldn't be seen dead in their suburban gardens.
[Kevin will be back with the usual 'Nature Notes' next week. For now though, he is off to show some of them where they can shove their cameras]