All birds, their nests and eggs are protected under UK law by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Most bird species are not offered the same level of protection as the higher profile protected species such as bats or dormice. A number of species are legally protected, listed as priorities for conservation on the UK or local BAP or are otherwise considered to be of conservation concern.
- 60,000 people took part in the 2012 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and recorded over 9 million birds
- On average, barn owls eat c. 4 small mammals a night, that’s 1,460 a year
- The goldcrest is theUK’s smallest bird at 5-6g weight, but females can lay up to 12 eggs in a clutch
- Swifts almost never land – they eat, drink, mate and sleep on the wing, but need a nest in which to lay their eggs
Will I need a bird survey?
Surveys for birds will be required for development sites where there is potential for important species or species assemblages to be present, or for larger schemes where there will be a significant level of disruption to suitable habitats (e.g. where there is likely to be significant loss of bird nesting habitat – even if the species assemblage likely to be involved is not particularly significant). This is to ensure that any important species are picked up and can be considered in terms of impact and mitigation and to ensure that the scheme as a whole will not have an overall detrimental effect on biodiversity.
Bird surveys will vary depending on the nature of the development. Most commonly we will undertake a breeding bird survey, which will require between 3-5 site visits between April and early July to record all birds seen or heard within the site, following the Common Bird Census Technique. For particular types of development, such as wind farms, we may need to undertake more in-depth studies over a 12 month period, and for wind farms we follow the Scottish Natural Heritage guidance, as recommended by Natural England.
What happens if you find important species using the site I wish to develop?
The results of the survey(s) will be used to identify issues that need to be considered through the design of the scheme, to identify the likely impacts of the development and to design suitable mitigation measures in consultation with the design team. Mitigation may vary from including nest boxes within a proportion of buildings on a site to planting up new hedges to provide more nesting and foraging opportunities.
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