Gardeners warned to watch for nests

Gardeners are being urged to watch out for nests amid fears that hundreds of baby birds could be unwittingly killed this Easter. Birds are reported to be nesting earlier than ever because of climate change.

Gardeners are being urged to watch out for nests amid fears that hundreds of baby birds could be unwittingly killed this Easter.

Birds are reported to be nesting earlier than ever because of climate change.

Sadly, that means eggs are hatching just as people are getting to work on their gardens.

Often the fledglings and their nests are destroyed as bushes, trees and hedges are uprooted.

RSPCA inspector John Jenkins said: "We've had a very mild winter, which means there are already nests with fledglings in.

"We're urging people to have a good look before they chop anything down.

Most Read

"If the eggs or chicks don't die when the foliage is removed, then it is only a matter of time. The parents will be so distressed they won't return to rescue the nest. They'll also be too distraught to breed again that year, so there's a huge loss of life."

The 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act prohibits the taking, damaging or destroying of a nest being built or in use. It is an additional offence to disturb some birds at nest or the young dependants of certain birds.Even so, animal sanctuaries have been inundated with inquiries from worried callers.

Bev Cosse, trustee chairman of the Seal and Bird Rescue Trust, based at Ridlington, near North Walsham, said: "We've had a lot more people call us for help than in previous years.

"I know that everyone wants to go out into the garden and tidy up but we're just asking that they be careful and check before doing anything. If there is a nest, call an animal organisation for advice. It's more than likely the nest just needs leaving for a few weeks.

"But it's also important people check the area before they hire a gardening contractor to come out.

"There have been occasions when the workmen miss a nest and more innocent birds are killed.

You can call the trust on 01692 650338 or the RSPCA on 0870

5555 999.