Nesting Birds Surveys
Birds and the Law:
In the UK all nesting birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). Under this piece of legislation; all birds, their nests and eggs are legally protected whist the nest is in use. Therefore it is an offence to recklessly or intentionally:
Kill, injure or take any wild bird.
Take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while in use or being built.
Take or destroy the egg of any wild bird.
Possess or control any wild bird or egg unless obtained legally.
This legal protection only applies whilst the nest is in use. Therefore, to avoid an offence being committed it is recommended that development is undertaken outside of the main nesting season (May – July). If this is not possible then a breeding bird survey will be required in order to assess how birds are using the site.
Specially Protected Birds
Within the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), birds listed in Schedule 1 are afforded special protection at all times. This additional protection means it is illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb any schedule 1 bird while it is nesting or to disturb any of its young.
Birds listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List are species of conservational concern and any potential impact from development must be considered carefully and appropriate mitigation provided. A similar attitude should be employed when species listed on the Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) are found to be using a site.
Nesting Bird Surveys and Reports:
A nesting bird survey will involve an experienced ecologist visiting your site and conducting a thorough walk over survey, following methodology set out by Bibby et al. (2000). The surveyor will be looking and listening for signs of nesting birds, noting down the species of bird encountered, the behaviour observed, the general frequency of birds and their approximate location.
JCA Ltd can then provide advice on how best to proceed with your development on a case by case basis, with recommendations depending on the survey results. This may be as simple as to time works so that any work, such as scrub clearance is done outside of the main breeding period (which is May-August). In some cases this may also involve providing mitigation, such as habitat creation and the incorporation of nest boxes into the development.
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JCA is my first choice when requiring or asked to recommend reliable experts on trees in the context of property and development. They have an excellent understanding of the technical aspects of trees and legal matters involving them, contributing well to interdisciplinary decision-making.
Nesting Birds Survey Timeline: