Durham Wildlife Trust (DWT) has thanked the many people who came forward to donate bird feeders and seed after thieves struck at one of its nature reserves.
Police were called in after 15-20 bird feeders were stolen from the Low Barns reserve at Witton le Wear on the night of Friday April 27.
Following the theft, Mark Dinning, Head of Conservation for the Trust, appealed for people to donate replacements because, having just emerged from such a harsh winter, birds need to be in good condition for the breeding season.
Birds that rely on the feeders include Tree Creeper, Nut Hatch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Green Finch, Dunock, Robin, Sparrow and Greater Spotted Woodpecker.
Among donors was Washington Wetlands Trust on Wearside, which gave eight squirrel-proof feeders and seed.
Gill Pipes, Centre Manager at the wetland centre, said: “We were saddened to see that Durham Wildlife Trust had been the victim of these crimes.
“We know how hard our staff and volunteers work to provide a haven for wildlife and opportunities for people to spend time with nature and the amazing species our local countryside has to offer. Through our contact with Durham Wildlife Trust, both professionally and as visitors to their beautiful sites during our own leisure time, we know that their team are just as committed to their work providing these fantastic experiences and protecting our wildlife for future generations.
“Being on the receiving end of such behaviour can be very demotivating and damaging to charities. We are targeted ourselves from time to time and it’s always a very unpleasant shock that people would choose to inflict such things on an organisation which is seeking to do good.
“We wanted to reach out to the trust and support them in what they were already doing to get things back to usual as quickly as they could but also to show there are more people using their powers for good than evil.”
Another donation came through Tesco. Billy Raine, employee at Tesco Bishop Auckland, said: “I regularly visit Low Barns Nature Reserve looking at the various birds and the habitats there and one morning I noticed that the bird feeders were missing. I asked inside the coffee shop about this and volunteers there said they had been stolen.
“I just felt like I needed to do something. At work in Tesco we have a community champion called John Bailey. I got together with him and we decided to donate a number of bird feeders and seed to Low Barns Nature Reserve. ”
Several other individuals have donated sums of money, bird feeders and seed and Durham Wildlife Trust would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their generosity.
Mark Dinning at DWT said: “We have been overwhelmed at the way people have helped us since the theft. It really has restored our faith in human nature and we would like to thank everyone who donated.’