Ornithology and Bird Surveys

Part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal Cambridge Ecology will assess the suitability of your site to support ornithology and bird surveys, including Schedule 1 Protected Species such as Barn owl. Subsequent detailed surveys may then be required to the inform appropriate levels of mitigation or compensation for a development licence applications. These bird surveys include specialised methods such as:

  • Generic breeding bird surveys using CBC, BBS and registration mapping techniques.
  • Generic winter bird surveys using WeBS and farmland bird survey methods.
  • Through-the tide estuary bird surveys using WeBS methods.
  • Specialist habitat surveys – e.g. upland bird surveys
  • Specialist techniques – e.g. vantage point surveys, off-shore boat surveys, nocturnal surveys using Image Intensifier and Infra-Red camera equipment.
  • Specialist species surveys – e.g. Barn Owl, Black Redstart, Stone Curlew, Woodlark and Nightjar.
  • Monitoring methods – mitigation, construction, operation, post-construction and environmental management plans, site and species surveillance.
  • Specialist data analysis and assessment
  • Ecological survey data analysis.
  • Spatial and temporal distributional analysis, using GIS mapping techniques.
  • Behavioural analysis.
  • Windfarm collision risk modelling and assessment
  • Independent Ornithology ES review of chapters submitted to statutory agencies.
  • Ornithology Impact Assessment (OIA) using industry standard methodologies.
  • Studies to inform Appropriate Assessment and provision of advice on the EU Birds Directive, Habitats Directive and UK Conservation Regulations.

Cambridge Ecology employs professional ornithologists possessing Natural England Black Redstart male - Schedule 1 protected birdSchedule 1 licences (where necessary e.g. for Barn Owl Surveys).

See survey timetable for the optimal survey period.

Cambridge Ecology has a wide range of skills required in this specialist area providing ornithological services to the public and private sector in various industries throughout the UK and overseas.

Legislation and protection

All wild birds (resident, visiting, and introduced species) are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) in England and Wales. With respect to developments it is illegal to:

  • Intentionally kill, injure, or take any wild bird,
  • Intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is being built or in use
  • Intentionally take or destroy the eggs of any wild bird.

Specially protected ‘Schedule 1’ birds receive additional protection over and above that afforded to all wild birds, making it also illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild bird listed on Schedule 1 while nesting (building or at a nest containing eggs or young), or disturb any of its dependent young.

Disturbances can occur as a result of development works within close proximity of a nest, as well as directly through the loss of nesting sites.

Unlike other protected species there is no provision for a licence to allow wild birds to be disturbed or nests destroying as a part of land development. Best practice is to avoid committing an offence by implementing mitigation measures to reduce the risk of disturbance – e.g. scheduling of works outside of breeding times, or screening off exclusion areas around nests.

If convicted of an offence the penalties can be severe, including a fine of up to £5000 (per bird, nest, or egg) and/or six months imprisonment.

Numerous Bird species are a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) priority species.

Many species of Birds are Section 41 priority species under the terms of the NERC Act 2006.

For more information on how we can help you, please get in touch or call 01954 231239.