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Why can't the RSPB look after their own reserves properly?

Over the Easter holidays, many members of the public have taken the opportunity to visit one of the RSPB’s reserves around the country.

 

Sadly, one of these visitors noticed that one of the RSPB feeders was not looking in the best possible state, and posted about it on a Facebook page for RSPB birders.



Naturally, many of the RSPB’s most rabid supporters blamed the poster herself – asking why she hadn’t chosen to clean out the feeders herself rather than ‘moan’ about it on Facebook. We assume it’s normal for those people to go around with a bowl of warm, soapy water and a brush with which to clean out decaying bird feeders. “Those don't look used,if you thought that they were you could set an example and clean them!”, said one Facebook post.

 

Others, on the other hand, disagreed. As one commenter noted, “The poor lady was simply making an observation. I personally don’t carry a bucket, brushes & cleaning products when I visit a nature reserve! The responsibility to keep these clean lies with the reserve.” Another quite rightly pointed out that “dirty feeders and stale food kill our wild birds”, and that “this is an important issue for the health of the birds and surely it is the responsibility of the RSPB to keep them clean.”

 

Said another: “The RSPB should know to keep all their feeders clean. They're forever telling the public bird lovers how important it is. By the looks of the sprouting seeds of hasn't been cleaned in a long time.”

 

We have written many times on here about the wastefulness of the RSPB when it comes to spending other peoples’ money (often, that of the taxpayer). The charity have an in excess of £146 million and usually make a profit of over £10m. They have reserves of a quarter of a billion.


In spite of their already bloated finances they constantly beg for money and are very skilled at getting it. They average around £3m every month in legacies, year after year, and suck the market so dry that the smaller conservation organisations are left scrabbling about for bits and pieces.


Despite their huge operating surplus they receive massive amounts of public money – around £26m in 2021 – and seem to be immune to value-for-money tests that would apply to normal people. The taxpayer even subsidises their trading arm's profit of over £20m, with the Welsh government recently giving them a quarter of a million to refurbish one of their cafes and its car park.


But despite their vast cash flow, it seems that the RSPB are still unable to find staff to carry out basic tasks like emptying and cleaning out their bird feeders. This, remember, is at a time when bird flu is still circulating in some parts of the avian population. It's a sad contrast to many of the privately-owned and funded estates and conservation areas where bird feeders are regularly topped up and monitored. Mind you, the RSPB staff are probably kept busy filling in application forms for further funding.

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