Climate change puts nesting birds at risk

Local authorities and other landowners such as water companies are being urged to take the earlier onset of spring into account when they schedule pruning. Evidence shows that some birds are nesting earlier and shrub and hedging cutting should be done earlier in the year than is traditional.


“The data proving that spring comes earlier is all there and only recently

has the question been asked about whether birds are nesting earlier – a lot

of them are,” Alasdair Bright of the Royal Society for the Protection of

Birds (RSPB) told edie.

RSPB has specifically asked farmers to change the time of year they trim

hedges so as to ensure they don’t disturb nesting birds, but the charity

believes that local authorities and other landowners also need to wake up to

the effects of climate change.

“It is against the law to disturb or damage a wild bird’s nest,” says

Bright, “but it’s a difficult law to enforce, so we would hope that people

would do this on a voluntary basis.” RSPB advises that shrub and hedge

trimming take place no later than February.

Data used by the UK Government to assess climate change (see related story)

shows that some hedge-nesting birds such as the chaffinch, robin,

yellowhammer and blackbird are nesting four to 17 days earlier than they did

25 years ago. “The UK is unique in its interest in birds,” says Bright.

“Records have been kept for many centuries.”

Records show that farmland birds are not doing well in the UK, with

intensive agriculture practices being blamed (see related story).

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