Bird Surveys

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Birds & The Law

We are experienced in carrying out a number of differing survey methodologies for breeding and wintering birds and have been commissioned to survey and assess bird populations in many differing habitats including coastal, estuarine, coastal lagoons, woodland, rhos pasture, heathland, moorland and plantation forest. 

Due to our office being located on the south coast, many of the sites we have worked on have been associated with Nationally and Internationally designated sites that are designated for their bird populations as either Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and Special Protection Areas (SPA).

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, all birds, nests and their eggs are protected by law. Within the active bird nesting season (March - August inclusive), works may require an ecologist to undertake a nesting bird survey prior to vegetation cutting or even sometimes require supervision by an ecologist during clearance works. Although March to August is the active season, some bird species may also nest at other times of the year, so it is recommended to always take care for nesting birds whenever clearing any vegetation or buildings.

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Breeding Bird Surveys

The UK has many internationally and nationally important bird species. There are 67 "red-listed" birds on the Birds of Conservation Concern (BOCC) list including 49 species "of principal importance for the purpose of conserving biodiversity" within Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.

Large sites or sites with rare habitat for birds may require breeding bird surveys to determine if rare birds are using the site and which features are most important, so that appropriate mitigation can be implemented. A breeding bird survey involves several dawn site visits during the spring when the majority of breeding bird species can be found.

Wintering Bird Surveys

The UK is host to several internationally important species that overwinter near the coasts. Many protected sites such as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are designated for their important populations of overwintering birds but these birds may also use non-designated sites throughout the winter months. A wintering bird survey may be required if it is determined the site has potential for these species to be using the site during winter months. A wintering bird survey can be undertaken between November to February and involves several site visits and the results of the survey can determine appropriate mitigation.

Our Experience

Whether in coastal or inland sites which may hold important bird populations that may be impacted by a proposal, we can provide a team to deliver reliable survey information carried out to the highest standards. We have a number of experienced bird surveyors who have gained considerable expertise in surveying for bird species and implementing a scheme of mitigation if required.