Birds, their eggs and nests are protected by the the Wildlife & Countryside Act, 1981 (as amended). Bird species listed under Schedule 1 of this Act are also afforded additional protection from disturbance of adult and dependent young whilst at the nest.
Nesting & Breeding Bird Surveys
If works cannot be timed to avoid the nesting bird season, which is generally between mid-March and August (inclusive), then a check for active nests should precede any demolition or vegetation clearance during this time. This involves a single visit, preferably at dawn, immediately before works start.
Breeding bird surveys may be required for large sites or sites with complex habitats. This involves repeat visits to site between March and June to record all birds heard and seen to assess breeding bird assemblages.
Winter Bird Surveys
Sites that comprise water-bodies, estuaries and large areas of arable land may be used by significant species or overwintering flocks of birds. A winter bird survey would then usually be required. Winter bird surveys typically involve monthly-spaced visits between November and February to assess the value of a site for winter bird assemblages.
Mitigation & Compensation
An exclusion zone must be established around any active nests until the young birds have fledged and the nest is no longer active. Compensatory land provision, nesting sites, roosting sites, and / or targeted habitat management may be required if significant bird assemblages and / or Schedule 1 birds nest within a site.