10 April 2024

Bird nesting season and hedgerows

In the UK, bird nesting season is a critical time for avian species to breed and raise their young. It typically begins in March, with National Nest Box Week marking the start of the season, and can extend into August. During this period, birds are actively seeking out safe and suitable places to construct their nests, lay eggs, and nurture their hatchlings.

What to look out for

Birds will be busy gathering materials and building nests. You might notice more bird activity, including singing males and pairs of birds flying together. Keep an eye out for birds carrying twigs, leaves, or mud, which are tell-tale signs of nest-building.

Where birds are likely to be found

Birds can be found nesting in various habitats, including woodlands, grasslands, and urban areas. However, one crucial habitat for many bird species is the hedgerow. Hedgerows provide not only shelter and protection from predators but also serve as corridors connecting different habitats, making them vital for the survival of many bird species.

The importance of hedgerows

Hedgerows are essential during the nesting season as they offer a safe haven for birds like Bullfinches, Linnets, Dunnocks, and Chaffinches. These dense thickets of branches are ideal for nesting and raising young, and they also support a wide range of other wildlife. In addition to providing nesting sites, hedgerows contribute to biodiversity, aid in carbon storage, and help mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Hedgerows in England used to be protected under regulations. These prevented them being cut during bird nesting season (1 March to 31 August) and ensured that a 2m buffer, free from cultivation or pesticides was left around them. But these rules officially ended on 31 December 2023. Find out more about how the RSPB are helping our hedgerows here.

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Conservation efforts

It’s important to protect these habitats, especially during nesting season. idverde in partnership with the RSPB encourages the planting and maintenance of hedgerows to support wildlife. RSPB also advises against cutting hedges between March and August to avoid disturbing nesting birds.

For those interested in contributing to bird conservation during the nesting season, installing a nest box in your garden or local green space can make a significant difference. It’s a simple way to provide birds with a secure place to raise their young and support the overall health of the UK’s bird populations.

Remember, while it’s wonderful to observe birds during this busy time, it’s crucial to do so from a distance to avoid disturbing them and potentially causing them to abandon their nests. By understanding and respecting the nesting season, we can all play a part in safeguarding the future of our feathered friends and the natural beauty they bring to our environment.

Over the last six years, idverde has partnered with RSPB on various contracts across the UK; building, installing and monitoring nestboxes throughout the likes of Wormwood Scrubs, Bromley, the Midlands, Northern Ireland and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with the help of partnered RSPB biodiversity experts. idverde also further promoted the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch, which took place in January will be releasing their results later this month, so stay tuned for the results.