The 1st March brought with it the start of the nesting bird season – that is the period during which birds are expected to nest and therfore a requirement for all vegetation being removed to be checked by a suitably experienced ecologist first.
This period runs until the 31st August and although birds can breed outside of this period, it is between these dates that the vast majority of nesting occurs.
The nests of all birds, including common species like pigeons, during the active stage (even construction) are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act therefore making it an offense to damage, remove a nest or deter/disturb the parent bird from using it.
Outside of this period some birds still nest however this is uncommon and it is advised that vegetation be removed from September – February to avoid the nesting period and to reduce fees associated with checking prior to removal.
Should an active nest be found then an appropriate exclusion would be established dependant on species and the location of the nest.
Inactive nests have no protection at all and as the presence of nests within vegetation may encourage other birds to nest there the following season, it’s often of benefit to remove them during the winter months should vegetation be scheduled to be removed in the future.
It’s always preferable to remove vegetation including trees, hedges, bushes etc. outside of the nesting season both to reduce the chances of an active nest being present and delaying works as well as the physical side of removing the vegetation being far easier due to the lack of leaves and resulting reduced volume.