Tree work, nesting birds and their protection
April 30, 2020

The ‘Bird Nesting Season’ is officially from February until August (Natural England) and it is recommended that vegetation works, tree/hedge cutting, or site clearance should be done outside of the nesting season. However, in reality the nesting period may start before this and extend beyond it, in some cases. The busiest time for nesting birds is from 1st March until 31st July and of course varies according to species, etc.

Over the next few months all aspects of the work Hi-Line undertake must be carefully planned to take account of nesting birds. This could result in delays and/or rescheduling work where possible. In our experience most clients are sympathetic if/when works need to be put on hold until the nesting season is over.

On all our worksites Domestic, Commercial or Utility we aim to avoid any impact to nesting birds and infringement of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and breaching the European Habitats Directive 1992/Nesting Birds Directive. However, there are notable exceptions to this. When works are necessary to ensure public health and safety.

It is important to understand that bird nesting season itself does not preclude tree work being undertaken. However, we must remember that all wild birds are protected by law throughout the UK when they are nesting, and it is illegal to kill or injure any wild birds or damage or destroy the nest or eggs. If no active nests are present, works may legally take place.

 What to look for before work starts:

  • Breeding activity on site, including singing, courtship activities or nest building.
  • Potential nest sites
  • Nestling/fledgling feeding activity.


  • Every thick hedge, area of scrub vegetation or mature tree is a potential nest site.
  • Any work carried out must not damage the nests of breeding birds or be in the vicinity of the nests of those specially protected species.
  • To be alert – always check for any nesting activity. If nesting birds are found on site, all works in that area will have to stop. Work will then resume once the birds have completed breeding.

DOIf you think you have found a nest on site, STOP immediately

DON’T – Proceed with any works that might harm breeding birds

To find out more about tree care services, including ecology assessments, contact us today.