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Breeding Bird Season

February 1, 2024 HannahMaben BathDevonEcologistSomerset

The days are getting longer and before too long we will be seeing birds collecting materials to build their nests.  Warmer winters can have an impact on the breeding bird season with potential parents taking advantage of the higher temperatures, however, the breeding bird season in the UK officially begins in February and ends in August (Natural England).  Most species in the UK do not start nesting until March, pigeons, however break all the rules and will nest all year round, especially in urban areas where food is more plentiful! 

All wild birds are afforded legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and it is an offence to kill, injure or take any wild bird.  This protection also applies to eggs and nests whilst being built or in use, until chicks are fully fledged and have departed.

Any vegetation clearance and maintenance of trees and hedgerows should ideally be undertaken outside of the breeding bird season but this is not always possible.  Seasons Ecology’s experienced Ecologists often undertake breeding bird checks on sites where vegetation removal is unavoidable during the breeding bird season, ensuring that any vegetation is checked for nesting birds no more than 48 hours prior to removal to protect birds from harm and ensure activities are carried out legally. Seasons Ecology can also provide experienced Ecological Clerk of Works to supervise the careful removal of habitat. Such requirements are often a condition of planning permission when impacts on suitable nesting habitat is unavoidable during the breeding bird season.

It is not just removing potential nest sites such as vegetation or buildings that can affect birds.  Birds are also sensitive to light, noise and vibration so it is important to consider the impact that any works in close proximity to nests may have, especially when young are relying on their parents for food.

If nesting birds are discovered on site, works must stop immediately, and a suitable buffer zone should be implemented to protect chicks until they have left the nest.

If Seasons Ecology can assist with breeding bird checks on your project, please send us an email at Please also let us know if we can help with habitat creation or management for breeding birds and/or other species.

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Seasons Ecology Limited Directors: K M Hayward MCIEEM & H M Maben MCIEEM
Registered Address: 69 High Street, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2AT
Company No: 11258906