Tag: nesting

Ireland | Zero tolerance approach to hedge-cutting

We have never really appreciated hedgerows. Wildlife corridors, nesting areas, larders in the winter, refuges and places of safety, according to “Hedges’ by Pollard, Hooper and Moore, hedgerows were perhaps grubbed up or cut down at a rate of some 3,000 miles per year in the immediate post-war period (1946-63). The RSPB say that “since the Second World War, hedgerows have been removed at a much faster rate than they have been planted. In some parts of the country 50 per cent of hedgerows have gone, while others are so badly managed that their value to wildlife is much reduced”. The loss of managed hedges appears to have been halted by the 1997 Hedgerow Regulations Act. Nevertheless, as we have reported on this site many times, hedgerows are still being ‘de-natured’ by ‘tidying up’, extensive flailing or even being ‘netted’ by developers to prevent birds from nesting so they can avoid potential prosecution under the Wildlife & Countryside Act. The problem (as so often) is lack of enforcement – Unless, that is is, you live in Ireland, where (on the surface at least) protecting hedgerows seems to be taken far more seriously…

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Wales | Hedgerow netting that stops birds nesting

Another Spring, another use of netting to stop birds from nesting so as not to inconvenience (or cost) a developer – this time from Powys in Wales. Why would anyone net a hedge? Because while active nests of almost all bird species are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (see Nesting birds and the Law), stopping them from nesting in the first place is not. So, as a pre-emptive strike (and often even before the development has been given permission to go ahead) developers are putting up nets (or recommending others do it). And what a handy excuse it’s becoming. Note in the article below the either breathtakingly ignorant or breathtakingly mendacious claim that netting a hedgerow “should not be interpreted as pre-empting the planning process”. Over-use of pesticides, intensive agriculture, an obsession with ‘tidiness’, massive habitat change, and now determined efforts to stop our birds from nesting. Little wonder why we are living in one of the most nature-depleted regions on the planet…

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Petition Update | Save last North Shields nesting kittiwakes – Remove the netting!

The netting off of nest sites is becoming a real blight across the UK, as the #NestsNotNets Twitter campaign has been detailing. Why is this happening? Nests of almost all wild birds are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (and amendments) as we have explored extensively in our ever-evolving post Nesting Birds and the Law, but in most cases nest sites are not. If developers or local authorities can stop nests from being started, then technically they are not breaking the law. It’s a ridiculous situation and is being exploited time and time again. One of the most notorious examples – thanks to excellent work by local campaigners – is the disgraceful deterrent measures being used on ledges used by (Black-legged) Kittiwakes along the Tyne River in North Shields. Daniel Turner launched a petition on Change.org last year, calling for the removal of all bird-deterrent netting. He has been posting regular updates on the petition page, and has just posted this tenth update.

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Ireland | Reminder of hedge-cutting ban during nesting season

The UK legislation protecting birds and their nests is the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and the various amendments and provisions that have followed since. Ireland is of course not covered by UK legislation, so it was interesting to read a timely reminder on the law in Ireland that has just been published in the online TheJournal.ie. The relevant law in Ireland is set out in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 as amended by the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 and the Heritage Act 2018. These Acts stipulate that “it is an offence to destroy vegetation on uncultivated land between the 1st of March and the 31st of August each year”. There are numerous exceptions (of course) but on the face of it, it does seem to offer nesting birds some measure of protection. However, as the comments below TheJournal’s article note (and we often point out ourselves), legislation on its own is next to useless if it’s not enforced…

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Nests and the law | Man cautioned after nest removed from loft

One of our most widely-read articles (as the list of ‘most viewed’ posts to the right shows) is ‘Nesting Birds and the Law’ which we wrote in March this year and which appears to be doing fairly well in Google searches! We pointed out that it is difficult to get an enforcement action against someone breaking the law, because it’s difficult to prove ‘intention’. However, it can be done! And we’re very glad to read that Suffolk police have recently cautioned a 60-year-old man after a sparrow’s nest containing live chicks was removed from a loft space following routine maintenance.

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Guest post | The march of progress?

Over the last few years I have started to feel that the driving force is of ‘progress at any cost’, and that there have been minimal checks and allowances made for wildlife on some long-term development projects. For instance we have ‘suffered’ a major road expansion. Many people will have spent far too long on the A14, the major east-west route through the county, either before it was improved, or during the recent three years of its improvement. Right from the start many of us were horrified when trees containing rookeries were felled…Guest post by Louise Bacon

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Guest post: 6,000 mile flights and the lengths Dukes go to avoid bird poo

This spring Chatsworth House have been permitted to put up bird netting to stop swifts, swallows and martins pooing on their statues. Swallows are visitors to Chatsworth House, migrating up to 6,000 mile to nest in the same place each year. They are summer visitors and have a small timeframe to breed in and it is possible that many of these birds won’t manage to find an appropriate alternative. Instead of supporting the declining population, Chatsworth could in fact be contributing to their further decline.

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#NestsNotNets

It’s unlikely that the politicians that steered incredibly important protections for wild birds and their nests through various parliaments ever imagined that one day some developers would look at the law and instead of thinking, Yes, we must protect nesting wild birds, would instead think Hmm, if we can stop birds nesting we can pretty much do any work we want without the law being able to touch us. But that, writes Charlie Moores, is what’s happening right now…

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