Email requesting feathers

To: <>
Subject: Email requesting feathers
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2009 07:14:32 +1000
Hello B-aus subscribers,

Please don't feel too bad about our laws making it illegal to be in
possession of a feather of a native bird.  Although there may be some
'officious' officials trying to insist on the letter of the law, most
individual officers and certainly all conservation departments will use good
sense in applying such laws.

Our Constitution is such that protection of wildlife requires State
legislation.  Thus in Queensland for many decades we had a "Fauna
Conservation Act".  (Now incorporated in the Nature Conservation Act.)
It had a provision making it illegal to be in possession of an egg of a
native species of bird, unless authorised by permit under the Act.

It was once a not unusual hobby to collect bird eggs.  The hobbyist would
search for nests and rob them of their eggs.  The law was intended to stop
this.  Taking even one egg from a nest is rather more serious that picking
up a stray feather.

For his collection a hobbyist would drill a small hole in each end of the
egg, and blow out the contents.  The dry shell was what was held in the

A person was prosecuted for having such a collection.  His defence argued
successfully in court that an egg-shell is not an egg.  He had to be
acquitted.  (Who was it who said, "The law is an ass"?  Oscar Wilde, maybe.)

And so the Act had to be changed to read, "an egg or any part thereof" (or
something like that).




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