Bullfinch, Gary Cox

Protected Species Surveys

Bird Surveys

Wildwood Ecology can undertake a survey of your land (or proposed land purchase) for nesting, breeding or migratory birds including barn owls (Tyto Alba) as part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal. Subsequent detailed surveys to inform appropriate levels of mitigation or compensation for a development strategy can also be performed.

For further information on our bird
or other protected species surveys
contact us

Bird legislation and protection

All wild birds (resident, visiting, and introduced species) are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) in England and Wales.

With respect to developments it is illegal to:

  • Intentionally kill, injure, or take any wild bird,
  • Intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is being built or in use
  • Intentionally take or destroy the eggs of any wild bird.

Specially protected Schedule 1 birds receive additional protection over and above that afforded to other wild birds making it illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild bird listed on Schedule 1 whilst nesting (building or at a nest containing eggs or young) or to disturb any of its dependent young.

Disturbances can occur as a result of development works within close proximity of a nest as well as directly through the loss of nesting sites.

If convicted of an offence the penalties can be severe, including a fine of up to £5000 (per bird, nest, or egg) and/or six months imprisonment.

Unlike other protected species there is no provision for a licence to allow wild birds to be disturbed or nests destroyed as a part of land development. Best practice is to avoid committing an offence by implementing mitigation measures to reduce the risk of disturbance – e.g. scheduling of works outside of breeding times or screening off exclusion areas around nests.

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Did you know
  • There are nearly 600 species of wild British birds, with over 200 species recorded breeding in 2009. Many of our species are resident all year round, but we also host many wintering populations and summer migrants.
  • The majority of birds breed during the spring and summer (typically between March and August), although breeding can be extended either side of this period, and some species (e.g. barn owls) can be found breeding at any time of year.
  • Birds can be found in almost every area of the UK and as such nearly every development site has the potential to support breeding bird populations, and birds should be considered at every stage of a development.

Protected Species Surveys