Bird surveys are often required for development proposals that affect habitat suitable for wild birds. This ranges from natural habitats like woodland, scrub and hedgerows to agricultural buildings such as barns, and could apply to single trees if they are large and mature enough.
There are over 550 bird species found in the UK. All wild birds, nests and eggs are afforded protection in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (As amended) making it an offence to kill or injure a bird or destroy their nest. Some birds, such as barn owls and kingfishers, are also ‘schedule 1 birds’ and it is an offence to disturb one of these birds whilst they are nesting.
Our ecologists are on hand to offer expert advice on bird surveys, planning and mitigation.
For more information, or for a free quotation, please contact us.
If habitat on site is potentially important to breeding birds then a more detailed survey may be undertaken. Using methods prescribed by the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology), our ecologists can survey and then produce a map establishing different species territories within the site. This will establish whether the any proposed development poses a risk to breeding bird assemblages of high or low conservation value. These surveys must be undertaken during the breeding season (March – June).
If breeding birds are found, a nesting bird survey can be undertaken immediately prior to any works on site. One of our ecologists will check vegetation, trees or buildings to ensure no nests are disturbed during construction.
Barn owls are often a consideration for development affecting buildings, in particular older buildings in rural locations.
Barn owls are ‘Schedule 1 birds’ which means they afforded additional protection against disturbance of them and their nests. Barn owls have declined over recent years mainly due to the loss of traditional agricultural buildings from the countryside. They often nest in suitable rural buildings or large dry tree cavities, and if any of these are present on proposed development sites then a barn owl survey may be required.
Barn owl surveys can be carried out throughout the year and are conducted in day light, often at the same time as Bat Scoping Surveys. They are carried out following methods prescribed by the Barn Owl Trust, and comprises a search for any signs indicative of barn owl presence such as feathers, owl pellets and feeding remains. If barn owls are found to be present, we are able to apply to Natural England to obtain the relevant licence for works to go ahead.