Bird Nesting Advice Note

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1 Bird Nesting Advice Note As a general rule, it should be assumed that birds will be nesting in trees, scrub, reeds or substantial ditch side vegetation during the core breeding period, unless a survey has shown this not to be the case. Although the breeding cycles of most birds are well known, because they are triggered by seasonal changes, there are no fixed dates indicating when site work may be carried out. The legislation is tied to the reproductive cycles of the birds themselves, irrespective of when they choose to breed. Although most people think that birds nest in trees scrub and hedgerows, almost any feature on a site could potentially harbour a nest. Particular attention should be paid to any site clearance/development work affecting buildings, as this is where swifts, swallows, house martins and barn owls preferentially choose to nest. In addition, some species are ground nesting, such as the skylark and lapwing, both of which can occur on grassland areas and cleared sites where there is a time lapse before demolition and development. An additional aspect is the presence of over-wintering food such as the seeds and fruits of trees and hedgerows adjoining road verges and ruderal plants (weeds) on derelict land. Where possible food sources should be preserved on site for as long as possible. Legal Protection All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), whilst they are actively nesting or roosting. Section 1 of this Act, makes it an offence to kill, injure or take any wild bird, and to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while that nest is in use or being built. It is also an offence to take or destroy any wild bird eggs. In addition, bird species listed under Schedule 1 of the Act receive extra protection. The Act states that it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly (1) disturb any wild bird listed in Schedule 1 while it is nest building, or at (or near) a nest containing eggs or young, or disturb the dependent young of such a bird. The Greylag Goose and their eggs are protected by special penalties during the close season, 1 February to 31 August (21 February to 31 August below high water mark) but which may otherwise be killed or taken.

2 Exceptions: An authorised person (i.e. someone who has the written consent of the owner or occupier), may fell or prune a dangerous tree in order to preserve public health and safety. If Schedule 1 birds would be affected, then a licence from DEFRA is required. Similarly a licence is also required for tree work deemed necessary for reasons other than health and safety. Accidental injury, killing or disturbance of any wild bird, as a result of a lawful tree operation may not be an offence, provided it can be shown that the harm could not have been reasonably avoided. Works Protocol The following protocol should be followed if work is deemed to be necessary within or close to the core bird nesting season, or may affect the habitat of a species known to nest outside the core season. Before works commence a suitably qualified or experienced person should undertake a careful survey of the proposed working area to ensure that there are no nesting birds. Potential locations include scrub, bushes, open grassland, mature or dense canopy trees, hedgerows open water, tall herbs etc. Each area should be observed for at least 30 minutes and note taken of whether any birds are nesting or preparing to nest (e.g. carrying nest building materials and/or food for the young). The observations should take place from a reasonable distance from the proposed working area, to avoid disturbance to any possible nesting birds, and it may be necessary to observe the area from more than one vantage point. Birds incubating eggs are extremely illusive and therefore a more detailed search of the areas may be necessary but care must be taken not to disturb nesting birds particularly where a Schedule 1 species may be present. Searches for possible nest sites may be conducted using angled mirrors or similar to avoid flushing birds off hidden nests. If no signs of nesting birds are observed then works may start but the site must be constantly monitored during the working period. A record of the observations and any results should be made and retained for reference. If at any time nesting birds are observed, works, which may disturb them, must cease immediately and advice sought. Any active nests identified should be protected until the young have fledged. Where a Schedule 1 species is involved, mitigation for impacts, e.g. loss of nesting site, should be devised and implemented. The protocol does not apply where it is suspected that a Schedule 1 species may be present and specific advice must be sought in these circumstances. (1) 'It will be a reckless act if there is an obvious risk and a person: recognised the risk and took it anyway, or did not consider whether there was a risk and as a result disturbance or destruction occurred'

3 Schedule 1 Birds Birds breeding in Gloucestershire that are most likely to be encountered include: Species Barn Owl Kingfisher Goshawk Peregrine Cetti s Warbler Preferred Habitat Building renovations, barns etc River banks, near ponds or lakes Woodland and forests e.g. the Forest of Dean Quarries Scrub on wet sites (but for the full list please view Appendix 1) Works Timetable Operations & site work permitted Normal bird nesting period Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Birds feeding on fruits and seeds Optimum time for selected activity Activity period may vary due to changing climatic conditions Non-optimum time for selected activity Based upon advice notes produces by Dorset & Staffordshire C.C. and English Nature GK/JD July 2006

4 Appendix 1 Schedule 1 Birds Recorded in Gloucestershire Scientific Name Common Name Pre 1990 Post 1990 Accipiter gentilis Northern Goshawk Acrocephalus paludicola Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus palustris Marsh Warbler Alcedo atthis Kingfisher Anas acuta Pintail Anas querquedula Garganey Anser anser Greylag Goose Anser erythropus Lesser White-Fronted Goose Anthus campestris Tawny Pipit Ardea purpurea Purple Heron Ardeola ralloides Squacco Heron Asio flammeus Short-Eared Owl Aythya marila Scaup Aythya nyroca Ferruginous Duck Botaurus stellaris Great Bittern Branta leucopsis Barnacle Goose Branta ruficollis Red-Breasted Goose Bucephala clangula Goldeneye Burhinus oedicnemus Stone-Curlew Calcarius lapponicus Lapland Longspur Calidris alpina schinzii Dunlin Calidris maritima Purple Sandpiper Calidris temminckii Temminck's Stint Caprimulgus europaeus Nightjar Cettia cetti Cetti`s Warbler Charadrius dubius Ringed Plover Charadrius morinellus dotterel Ciconia ciconia White Stork Ciconia nigra Black Stork Circus aeruginosus Marsh Harrier Circus cyaneus Hen Harrier Circus pygargus Montagu's Harrier Clangula hyemalis Long-Tailed Duck Coturnix coturnix Quail Crex crex Corncrake Cygnus bewickii Bewick's Swan Cygnus cygnus Whooper Swan Egretta garzetta Little Egret Emberiza cirlus Cirl Bunting Eremophila alpestris Shore Lark Falco columbarius Merlin Falco peregrinus Peregrine Falcon Falco subbuteo Hobby Ficedula parva Red-Breasted Flycatcher Fringilla montifringilla Brambling Gallinago media Great Snipe Gavia arctica Black-Throated Diver Gavia immer Great Northern Diver Gavia stellata Red-Throated Diver Glareola pratincola Collared Pratincole Grus grus Crane Himantopus himantopus Black-Winged Stilt Hydrobates pelagicus Storm Petrel

5 Ixobrychus minutus Little Bittern Jynx torquilla Wryneck Lanius collurio Red-Backed Shrike Larus melanocephalus Mediterranean Gull Larus minutus Little Gull Limosa lapponica Bar-Tailed Godwit Limosa limosa Black-Tailed Godwit Loxia sp. Crossbill sp. Lullula arborea Woodlark Luscinia svecica Bluethroat Melanitta fusca Velvet Scoter Melanitta nigra Common Scoter Mergus albellus Smew Merops apiaster European Bee-eater Milvus migrans Black Kite Milvus milvus Red Kite Numenius phaeopus Whimbrel Nycticorax nycticorax Night Heron Oceanodroma leucorhoa Leach's Storm-petrel Oriolus oriolus Golden Oriole Otis tarda Great Bustard Pandion haliaetus Osprey Panurus biarmicus Bearded Tit Pernis apivorus Honey Buzzard Phalaropus lobatus Red-Necked Phalarope Philomachus pugnax Ruff Phoenicurus ochruros Black Redstart Platalea leucorodia Spoonbill Plectrophenax nivalis Snow Bunting Plegadis falcinellus Glossy Ibis Pluvialis apricaria Golden Plover Podiceps auritus Slavonian Grebe Podiceps nigricollis Black-Necked Grebe Porzana parva Little Crake Porzana porzana Spotted Crake Porzana pusilla Baillon's Crake Recurvirostra avosetta Pied Avocet Regulus ignicapillus Firecrest Serinus serinus Serin Sterna albifrons Little Tern Sterna caspia Caspian Tern Sterna dougallii Roseate Tern Sterna hirundo Common Tern Sterna paradisaea Arctic Tern Sterna sandvicensis Sandwich Tern Sylvia nisoria Barred Warbler Sylvia undata Dartford Warbler Tetrax tetrax Little Bustard Tringa glareola Wood Sandpiper Tringa nebularia Greenshank Tringa ochropus Green Sandpiper Turdus iliacus Redwing Turdus pilaris Fieldfare Tyto alba Barn Owl Upupa epops Hoopoe

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