RESEARCH POTENTIAL THIEVES
LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS
All aviculturists need to conduct some kind of business whether it be buying, selling or trading. Some bird breeders do over 90% of their business over the telephone.
Discussing specifics about your security system and the species in your collection with "persons unknown" MAY DIRECTLY PRECIPITATE YOUR OWN THEFT.
Establish guidelines for doing business and type of information given out over the telephone. Make sure everyone knows and follows the guidelines - you, employees, and all family members including children.
Passing on details regarding another breeder's aviary can put that breeder at risk. Information about security systems, species kept, schedules and other personal details MAY DIRECTLY LEAD TO ANOTHER BIRD BREEDER BECOMING A VICTIM OF THEFT. This caution applies to both local and out of state conversations.
IDENTIFY AND CHECK OUT NEW CONTACTS
Check references of people who name drop and are overly friendly. Your unknown "friend" may call for information about you or other bird people. The conversation may sound innocent enough, or the person may seem to be an "insider" to your colleagues, or the friend of a friend. You may not even recognize that you are giving out details which could facilitate a theft.
Answering machines and Caller ID can help in screening calls. Owners can add features to their phones service, like call waiting identification, call block of anonymous calls, call back and call forwarding if you are not at home. Calls forwarded from second party locations will not tell you where calls originated.
Post Office boxes may help you to remain somewhat private. Phone numbers can be traced to addresses and vice versa. There are companies that provide name, phone and address information for a fee. Giving out addresses over the telephone without screening, can leave the breeder waiting for "no shows" and unidentified surprise visitors. AT NO TIME SHOULD ADDRESSES BE GIVEN WITHOUT FIRST SCREENING CLIENTS.
Buying, Selling, Trading
Buyers or sellers of birds can meet on "mutual ground" avoiding one another's homes and properties. They can meet in veterinarians offices, parking lots etc. This, however, may been seen as suspicious and buyers may not like the idea of purchasing a bird in a parking lot.
Arranging a meeting on "mutual grounds" is also a method used by thieves to lure owners from their residences. Properties are left vacant and wide open to theft. Owners have returned early from such meetings to interrupt an event, with unknown people on their property and unfamiliar vehicles.
Educated buyers are aware of bird theft and want to purchase from established breeders. They may also want to inspect some part of the seller's premises for hygiene and the type of care given.
If you purchase a stolen bird, with or without the knowledge that it is stolen, you will lose both the birds and money.
Scheduled Clients, Visitors and Giving Tours
Set ground rules for visitors and clients before they even get out of their vehicles. This can be established days before by telephone. This way, enough time is allowed to get references and know who will coming on your property. License plate numbers should be taken.
Keep a documented log of all visitors including juveniles.
Identification with picture, driver license or passport can be copied.
Two polaroids pictures can be taken of visitors or juveniles with a "bird on their shoulder," just like at Parrot Jungle!! The first photo is for your log, and the second photo can be given to clients as a gesture.
Inform visitors ahead of time that anybody caught wandering from the group or found in "off limit areas" will cause immediate cancellation of the tour and the group will be asked to leave.
Unidentified or surprise visitors need to be greeted and turned away as soon as they are seen getting out of their vehicles. Not enough time has been allowed to set "ground rules" and investigate who will be coming onto your property. Owners can inform visitors of bad timing.
If you want to make an exception for certain tourists, you should get the same type of information you would require of scheduled visitors.
The element of surprise - thieves live by it.
Exhibiting Parent Birds
Some owners may not want to show parent birds or whole collections. Informing clients and visitors from the beginning that birds are not for "exhibit" will save owners time and release them from any expectations clients or visitors may have.
The "No See" Policy
Many breeders have already enacted policies not to put parent birds or collections up for client or visitor viewing.
No sale or trading of birds is worth the price of placing a collection in harm's way. Anyone not comprehending or refusing to cooperate with your ground rules is not worthy of your time, and certainly not worthy of seeing any part of your collection.