Bird Nesting Season

How many of you know what bird nesting season is, when it is and what it means? Worry not this blog will give you all the details you need to know.

The bird nesting season runs from the 1st March to the 31st July each year according to Natural England.It is understood that there may still be nesting going on beyond these dates but in general this is when most birds nest in the UK.

This means that works involving trees, hedges and vegetation shouldn’t be undertaken in this period. Of course there are works that must go ahead for safety reasons, for example fallen trees or overgrowth on rights of way that is obstructing a route. For any work to be undertaken within bird nesting season a visual survey needs to be carried out to ensure there are no nesting birds present or that the intended work will not disturb any birds nesting near to the work site.

If birds are disturbed during this season by vegetation works it is an infringement of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and in breach of The European Habitats Directive 1992/Nesting Birds Directive.

This is something to bare in mind with regards to Public Rights of Way. If you come across a safety issue then this must be addressed, bearing in mind surface growth is the responsibility of the Local Highway Authority and any side growth / overhanging vegetation is the responsibility of the landowner.

If the vegetation isn’t a safety issue then it is unlikely to be addressed during the bird nesting season. The importance of this is shown in the photos above, this is from when I was working as a Public Rights of Way Officer. The brambles and vegetation had completely engulfed the bridge so no one could get through, this particular route had obviously not been used for some years and with only one report it didn’t need addressed urgently risking any nesting birds. I went out in September to clear the bridge and half way through clearing the brambles I found the little nest perched on the handrail of the bridge in the centre of the overgrowth.

public rights of way

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