We carry out surveys of buildings and trees for nesting birds and surveys of breeding birds in the wider countryside following the recognised survey methods of the British Trust for Ornithology's Breeding Bird Survey.
All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). The Act makes it an offence to kill, injure or take a wild bird or to damage or destroy the nest of a wild bird whilst in use or being built. Rarer bird species, such as the barn owl and kingfisher, are listed on Schedule 1 of the Act, which makes it an offence to disturb the birds whilst nesting also.
If a development will impact on features that could support breeding birds such as soffit boxes on buildings, hedgerows and trees, a breeding bird survey will confirm the presence or absence and identify the status of the nest.
Surveys for nesting birds comprise inspections of buildings or trees looking for evidence of use by nesting birds such as nesting material, droppings, feathers and activity by young and/or adult birds. Surveys can be carried out throughout the year, but evidence of current use is most likely to be present between March and August.
Breeding bird surveys following the Breeding Bird Survey methods record bird activity in the wider countryside and comprise transect walks following following pre-defined routes through the survey area during which birds along the transect route are recorded to build up a picture of the species using the survey site. Two transects are required: one early int the season i.e. April to mid-May and the second later in the season i.e. mid-May to late June. If more detailed information about bird activity is required i.e. territory mapping, a Common Bird Census survey may be required and this would comprise ten visits to the site carried out between mid-March and late June.