All wild birds, their nests and young are protected by law whilst breeding. It is an offence to kill, injure or capture birds and their young, including whilst adults are building nests, sitting on eggs and rearing chicks. Nests (at any stage of construction) and eggs are protected from being damaged, destroyed or taken.

This legislation applies to all bird species, both common and rare. Where species such as feral pigeon have become a nuisance or threat to human health then special licences to derogate from the regulations can be gained.

In addition to the protection afforded to breeding birds there are a number of rarer species, those listed on Schedule I, that are afforded a higher level of protection. This includes barn owl which are protected from any disturbance, injury or killing whether breeding or not. They are protected from intentional or reckless disturbance whilst at or even near the nest and their breeding sites are protected even when not in use.

A complete barn owl survey including nest visits, any works near to a nest and practical mitigation can only be conducted by a licensed ecologist.

OpenSpace have the necessary licences and experience to conduct all your bird survey needs, including barn owl surveys, breeding and wintering bird surveys, raptor (bird of prey surveys) and vantage point surveys.

We have conducted bird survey work on nature reserves such as SSSI’s and AONB’s throughout the north of England and Scotland for statutory and non-statutory organisations such as Natural England, SNH, Forestry Commission and Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Our experience also includes undertaking bird survey, monitoring and mitigation for commercial works (including Ecological Clerk of Works) on wind farms and civil engineering / utilities installations such as export cable routes and gas pipelines.

In addition to our larger scale projects we frequently undertake breeding bird and barn owl surveys on small private developments such as barn conversions. We can advise on mitigation and enhancements such as continued provision for declining species such as swallow.

We offer proactive mitigation solutions including the installation of artificial nest provision and scheduling of works and site preparation to avoid delays.

Our specialist team at OpenSpace can advise further on any bird surveys. Please contact us on 01228 711841 or email

Updated April 2017