Expert Breeding Bird Surveys

Surveys from £200+VAT. Ensure you stay on the right side of the law when breeding pairs of protected birds may be present on your site. Breeding bird Surveys & follow-up action plans.

Breeding Bird Surveys

Indigo Surveys is the UK’s leading ecological survey expert. We provide a wide range of surveys and other arboricultural services across the entirety of the UK, ensuring our reports come comprehensive, and denying any chance of your development project being delayed.

In the UK, numerous laws exist to protect birds and their habitats. They are vital parts of the UK’s ecosystem, and to develop in an area, surveys are required to investigate, tally and account for ecological elements. During the breeding season, bird activity goes a long way in illustrating how healthy the entire ecosystem is, which is part of the reason, aside from moral virtue, breeding bird surveys are required by law for any site development.

One of our biggest goals in performing ecology surveys is to provide a clear roadmap for minimising both harm to the environment, and potential delays to your project site. Issues with your development project in both financial and legal terms may arise if an active bird’s nest is disturbed through its construction and use. Indigo Surveys has a long track record of excellent customer service, and we endeavour to ensure that our practice and report line up with the overall goal of your development site.

What is a Breeding Bird Survey? 

A breeding bird survey is a comprehensive and systematic assessment of an area in and around the development site. The overall goal is to identify the widespread breeding birds, estimate their numbers and locate potentially actively nesting birds.

Breeding Bird surveys determine the potential impacts on birds protected by law, ensuring that the project will adhere to all regulations and ensure no legal blockade to your development site. You must work with experienced surveyors with in-depth survey methods because if actively nesting birds are disturbed during the development process, it may cause issues for the project.

With our report, we can help guide development plans to minimise the disruption of the surrounding ecology, sometimes even ensuring the implementation of conservation insights.

How is a Breeding Bird Survey carried out? 

A breeding bird survey can be cut into several stages:

  • Desk Study – Before any fieldwork begins, our ecologists will analyse maps, aerial photos and any pre-existing records to understand the landscape and potential habitats. Through this, we will try to determine the bird species that are likely present.
  • Site Visits – Several site visits will then take place. They will happen during peak breeding season, which is from March through to August, but vary sometimes regionally. Throughout these months, periodic visits will be made to increase the chance of documenting a wide variety of wild bird species.
  • Identification of Wild Birds – Our ecologists are skilled and have several tools to determine the different wild birds in the area. For one, our ecologists can tell by both sight and sound the different species within the bird populations, noting the different songs and calls. We also will note specific behaviours that indicate breeding activity, such as witnessing the gathering of nest materials, displays of territorial behaviours and feeding their young.
  • Mapping Territories and Nesting Birds – Upon observations, maps will be penned out, revealing the breeding territories for each species and potential hotspots for nesting birds. Our specialists will make these observations from a distance or use field signs to minimise disturbance.

What is in a Breeding Bird Survey Report? 

Breeding bird surveys provide clear and actionable roadmaps. Here is how:

  • Habitat Types and Site Assessment – There will be a clear identification of the areas visited, including address, the nearest town, grid reference and size of the total area surveyed in hectares or acres. In a bird survey, there will also be a description of the main habitat types present, such as the woodlands, grasslands, hedgerows etc.
  • Bird Species Identified – There will be a comprehensive list of all species seen or heard, even those not necessarily confirmed as being part of the breeding populations. You can expect many widespread bird species to be here.
  • Breeding Pair highlights – There will be a section focusing on the birds that are breeding on site, with estimates on the amount through surveyor observations. The UK has many widespread breeding birds, such as Wrens, Woodpigeons, Blackbirds etc.
  • Classification of Birds – There will be clear classification of which birds are in the protected category, and which are not. The legislation that they’re protected under will also be displayed (e.g. Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act).
  • Maps – A map will be made to clarify the breeding territories on and around the site plan. This makes it easy to identify which areas are most sensitive.

When are Breeding Bird Surveys required? 

The following are the times in which you will need to do a Breeding Bird Survey.

  • Development Projects – In areas that have suitable habitats, a breeding bird survey and possibly several others may be required, especially during breeding season.
  • Land Management Changes – Surveys might be required before any land alterations that may affect habitats.
  • Projected Areas – Surveys may help monitor the population of birds in nature reserves or designated sites.

Bear in mind that bird nesting season and bird breeding season are one and the same.

Work With Indigo Surveys Today

If you’re in need of breeding bird surveys, then work with Indigo Surveys today. We can ensure you’re fully compliant and support your project to ensure its success.