All wild birds (with only minor exceptions) and their nests whilst being built or containing eggs or dependant young are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). Where nesting birds are present then work should be timed outside of the nesting season (March – August) so as to avoid disturbance.

Barn owls (Tyto alba) are a specially protected as a Schedule 1 Part 1 species under the 1981 Wildlife & Countryside Act (as amended), which gives protection to barn owls at all times. The main points in relation to nest sites are: “It is offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb them at or near a nest containing eggs or young. Intentionally damage or destroy a barn owl nest whilst in use or being prepared for use. It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb dependant young of a wild barn owl.”

During Tyrer Ecological Consultants initial survey, the site will be assessed for its potential to support breeding, ground nesting and wintering birds; any species observed during the survey will be noted to identify if they are a schedule 1 protected species or on the UK or Local Biodiversity Action Plans. This will be particularly useful information in relation to wind turbines, scrub or hedgerow removal, therefore, when nesting/wintering birds are located we consult with our clients and strive to ensure agreed mitigation measures for birds can be subtlety provided for a particular species within the proposed development.

Wintering bird surveys are most often required for habitats that support populations of migratory species during the winter when the UK provides shelter from extreme weather and a source of abundant food.  There are a number of species that generally only visit the UK during the autumn and winter; some of which include Redwing, Field fare, Pink Footed Geed, whooper and Berwick’s Swan.

Wintering bird surveys can be conducted from November until the end of February, and survey techniques depend on the habitat, however, usually involves an experience ecologist walking transects around a site, usually once per month to assess species present and general behaviour; typically the survey area is divided into smaller areas and counts of birds are made for each of these on several occasions over the winter period.

Experience includes: Schedule 1 species photography at or near to the nest, illustrated talks and assistance with Barn owl monitoring and ringing scheme.