Q -My roof needs repairing but I have just noticed birds going under the roof tiles on my house. I think they have a nest there-what should I do?
Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981
A -All birds, their eggs and nests are protected by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, and it is an offence to damage or destroy an active nest or prevent parent birds access to their nests. If you need work doing, it must be done when they are not nesting during the late autumn to winter (apart from pigeons that nest throughout the year). Roof spaces are important sanctuaries for birds because of the loss of natural nesting sites.
The types of birds that will most commonly nest in roofs
- House Sparrows and Starlings are classed as a Red Listed Species
- House Martins, Swifts and Swallows are classified as Amber Listed
What to do next
We can check your property each winter, ideally between October and February and clean out and seal any holes or gaps as appropriate. You will need to check it at regular intervals until you are certain that no birds remain. We can only make a permanent repair when you are certain that no birds remain. An active nest cannot be damaged or destroyed and the young must be allowed to leave the nest before taking any action is taken that may disturb the nest. For larger or commercial properties, it can be more difficult to establish that all birds have left. In these cases, it may be advisable to seek advice from a specialist organisation such as the EHO.
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