About Birds

All birds species are given various levels of protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Developers and land managers have an obligation to ensure that the effects on birds are adequately mitigated during site works.

Certain sites have different value for birds at certain times of year, the most obvious being the breeding bird season, (March 1st – August 31st inclusive).

The UK supports over 600 species of birds. Bird species have strong affinity and association with specific habitats which they are adapted to for feeding and breeding requirements. These habitats encompass the whole range of the UK’s natural, urban and artificial habitats from exposed upland mountain and sea cliff environments to lowland pasture, arable farmland, estuaries, woodland and our towns and cities. These habitats  each support assemblages of species which are adapted to these habitats, although many species are dependent on a range of habitats at varying times of the year. Other species such as swifts and swallows migrate between sub Saharan Africa and the UK, whilst in the Autumn species such as Pink-footed goose migrate to the UK from Greenland and central Iceland.

Our Bird Services

We offer a range of nesting bird surveys, the most common being Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), as well as Common Bird Census (CBC) and species-specific surveys such as assessment of buildings for barn owl potential. Barn owl is a fully protected species and appropriately licensed (Schedule 1) surveys of nest sites are also undertaken.

We also undertake breeding bird checks of vegetation / buildings / structures that are proposed to be removed or affected during the breeding bird season.

Some sites in the UK are also important for wintering birds populations, some of these are of international significance and are Special Protection Areas (SPA), Ramsar and Natura 2000 sites. Many of these areas are coastal saltmarshes, however, farmland often forms important feeding areas for the qualifying features of these sites, which include species such as Pink-footed goose and Whooper swan. Land used by such species can be termed ‘functional’ in that it supports qualifying bird species in notable numbers.

Where potential ‘functional’ land is affected by development, then wintering bird studies are required to inform a Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA), a process aimed at protecting internationally important sites and their features. The HRA will determine whether, either alone and/or in combination with the effects of other projects, a development would adversely affect the integrity of those sites in terms of habitats and species.

Pennine Ecological have undertaken full wintering bird studies involving twice monthly surveys between September-March, to determine the effects of developments such as industrial estate extensions, new agricultural buildings, wind turbines and solar farms on wintering birds.

Examples of  our work with Birds

Appletons for Satnam Millennium Ltd. – Peel Hall, Warrington

Pennine Ecological undertook four years of Breeding Bird Surveys, of a 69 ha site comprising abandoned farmland, woodland, ponds, and amenity land.

Appletons for Satnam Millennium Ltd. – Peel Hall, Warrington

Pennine Ecological prepared and presented proof of evidence in respect of nesting birds at two public inquires.

BAE Systems Ltd

Pennine Ecological undertook Common Bird Census (CBC) in 2008, 2010 and 2012, of the disused runway at Samlesbury, an area of land approximately 61ha in extent mostly composed of open grassland. The surveys formed part of a site management plan to maintain breeding habitat for ground-nesting birds, including skylark and lapwing, prior to it gaining Government Enterprise Zone status.

BAE Systems Ltd

Pennine Ecological has undertaken biennial Common Bird Census (CBC) in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021 of 9ha of former runway grassland managed for its floristic and ground-nesting bird interest.

Private Developer: Healey Wood Road, Burnley – Swift Mitigation Strategy. Survey and mitigation for nesting swifts on a 19th century Grade II listed industrial building.

Quick Contact

If you would like to discuss how Pennine Ecological can help you, please get in touch with us.