Greenfields, 64 Tone Hill, Tonedale, Wellington, Somerset, TA21 0AY 01823 299066

Bird Survey

The United Kingdom has a wide variety of birdlife* and contains important breeding and wintering sites for many native and migratory species.

HalpinRobbins have experienced ecologists capable of conducting a range of bird surveys tailored to meet our clients' needs and project requirements. The results from which can be used to inform land purchase, development and project design and works, impact assessments and, where necessary, to obtain an appropriate wildlife licence.

With over 570 species** of bird living permanently, migrating through or living seasonally with in the United Kingdom surveys for birds are very specific to the season, species and site.

In general all surveys start with an initial site and surrounding area walkover to find field signs of bird activity. These signs are then mapped out to show where the birds are active and transient and what significance each field sign has on a site and the surrounding area. The map and the determined significance are then compared with any plans and proposals to determine the risk or impact to both the birds and the proposed works. From this assessment further works or mitigation can be proposed.

Bird surveys are undertaken as either "stand alone" surveys or as part of Preliminary Ecological Appraisals or Ecological and Environmental Impact Assessments and the requirement to undertake an bird survey is usually determined during a Phase 1 Ecology Survey.

For general guidance if a site or project contains or is within close proximity to rough grassland, brownfield sites, buildings, woodland, hedgerows and heathland then a survey for birds may be required.

Bird surveys are broken down into three main types of survey; breeding, wintering, and nesting surveys. There are also many species specific surveys such as Barn owl (Tyto alba) and Cirl bunting (Emberiza cirlus). Each bird survey season varies depending on the species and the reason for the survey. The following are examples of types of surveys and seasons:

  • Breeding bird surveys are undertaken between March and October.
  • Migratory bird surveys are undertaken from March to May and August to October.
  • Winter bird surveys are undertaken from November to March

For a better idea about our projects and work involving birds see our case studies or contact us to discuss your project.

Kestrel , Cornwall

*All birds, including nests and eggs are protected in the United Kingdom. In England and Wales this is under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

The amount of protection afforded to wild birds varies depending on whether the species are listed within the various schedules of these acts but in respect to developments it is illegal to:

  • Intentionally kill, injure, or take any wild bird;
  • Intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is being built or in use;
  • Intentionally take or destroy the eggs of any wild bird.

Specially protected ‘Schedule 1’ birds receive additional protection over and above that afforded to all wild birds, making it also illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild bird listed within Schedule 1 while nesting (building or at a nest containing eggs or young), or disturb any of its dependent young.

Disturbances can occur as a result of works within close proximity to a nest, as well as directly.

**A full list of these birds is recorded and published by the British Ornithologists' Union. 


Our staff maintain and enhance their knowledge of ecology and the environment through research, specialist training and by maintaining membership of several professional and specialist bodies including:

Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
Royal Entomological Society
British Ecological Society

If you wish to find out more about permitting, ecology services or to discuss a project or development please contact us directly for a free, non-committal discussion.

"Nothing is too much trouble and the two way communication is second to none. I would not hesitate to recommend HalpinRobbins to anyone and we wouldn’t even contemplate going anywhere else."

Samantha Southam - Managing Director

Falcon Rural Housing Limited

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