Care needed around nests during breeding season
AS NESTING season begins for many birds, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime ( PAW Scotland) are reminding the public to be aware that birds are vulnerable at this time of year and destroying or damaging a nest while in use is illegal.
Birds’ nests are damaged by tree felling or pruning as well as building work. Blocking entry holes to nests within houses is another common threat, as is damage to nests in house eaves or on sites being cleared for development. Dogs can be a risk if not under control.
Penalties for destroying, damaging, taking, obsructing or interfering in any wild bird nest while it is being built or in use can be a fine of up to £ 5,000 and/or six months’ jail.
Andy Turner, SNH’s wildlife crime officer, said: ‘ Birds are very vulnerable during spring and summer, so we’d urge people to be very careful and check for nests before beginning any major garden or building work. With many of our garden bird species declining, a few simple checks or changing the timing of works to avoid the bird breeding season can help conserve birds and prevent offences from being committed.’
Ian Francis, RSPB conservation manager for East Scotland, added: ‘In the past 12 months, the RSPB has received more than 2,000 inquiries from the public about potential wildlife crime, of which at least 300 related to possible destruction of nests and around 90 related to possibly destroying nesting habitats such as hedges and trees.
‘ This is a matter that concerns many people, and we urge home owners and anyone managing land or buildings to follow the available guidance and avoid harming nesting birds.’
Any suspected offences in relation to birds (or any other wildlife crime) should be reported to Police Scotland as soon as possible on 101.