Absolute Ecology | Bird Surveys
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Bird Surveys

Nesting Bird Surveys
Nesting bird surveys are undertaken where works that could disturb nesting birds and result in a breach of legislation (e.g. vegetation removal, demolition) are proposed within the nesting bird season. The site is visited by an experienced surveyor who will assess the presence of active nests within the habitats to be impacted. Recommendations will then be made to ensure that your development proceeds in accordance with the law.


Nesting birds may start nesting between March to September though this can slightly change depending on environmetal conditions.

Wintering Bird Surveys

Surveys for winter birds involve an experienced ecologist visiting the site at least three times. A transect is walked around the potential development site and bird species and their behaviour are mapped. An assessment can then be made of the significance of the species present and an estimate of the number of wintering birds.


Wintering bird surveys need to have up to four surveys, one per month. Surveys are ideally carried out during the months of November, December, January and February.

Breeding Bird surveys For breeding birds an experienced ecologist will conduct surveys for at least three times between March and June. During the survey an ecologist will walk a pre-planned transect route around the application site which includes all the habitats previously identified and the area which is to be developed. Bird species and their behaviour are mapped, and an assessment is made of the significance of the species present and an estimate of the number of breeding territories.


Breeding bird surveys should be conducted between the months of March and June.


All UK nesting birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (as amended) 1981, which makes it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird or take, damage or destroy its nest whilst in use or being built, or take or destroy its eggs.

Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 places a duty on every public authority to have regard to conserving biodiversity and requires that the Secretary of State must publish a list of the living organisms and types of habitats which are of principal importance for the purpose of biodiversity. The Secretary of State must take steps to further the conservation of those living organisms in any list published under this section. A number of bird species are listed as Species of Principal Importance (SPI) and therefore protected under the provisions of the Act. Species of Principal Importance are a material consideration for a Local Planning Authority in the exercise of its duties. There are 49 bird Species of Principal Importance in England and 51 in Wales (listed under Section 42 of the NERC Act). A similar number of bird species are protected under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.