Nesting birds and construction sites

Nesting birdsAutumn may seem a strange time to be thinking about nesting birds, but for the UK construction industry, now is the time to be planning winter works to prevent delays and disruption on site during next spring’s breeding season.

All wild birds have legal protection from harm from the start of nest-building until the time their young are no longer dependent on the nest. During that period, it is illegal to injure or destroy any wild bird, to remove, damage or destroy their nest whilst it is being built or in use, or to take or destroy their eggs. In other words, once a bird starts to nest on your site (or nearby if your works may cause it to abandon a nest), there’s not an awful lot you can do about it until it has finished raising its family, and leaves on its own accord.

However, there is nothing to prevent contractors from removing nesting opportunities during the autumn and winter months before nest-building starts in spring, and a little forward planning now can prevent potential delays next year. Steps that could be taken include:

  • Where trees and hedgerow are to be removed as part of the works, plan their removal prior to the start of the nesting season rather than during it
  • Plough or strip greenfield sites during late winter to remove sites for ground-nesting birds
  • Install bird netting, ledge bristles etc on buildings structures to remove opportunites to nesting sites
  • Include prevention measures in sub-contract packages to reduce the risk of birds taking up residence in new structures as the works progress

Acoustic intervention during early Spring (shot-firing, pre-recorded distress calls, etc) or regularly flying predators such hawks near the site can also be used to encourage birds to take up residence away from the site and its surrounding area, reducing the risk of delay or disruption to the planned works.


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