As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Is it cruel to set up nets that prevent birds nesting?

Jeremy Vine and Chris Packham were among those protesting against a property developer’s use of nets in a hedge to keep birds away
Mon 4 Mar 2019 18.29 GMT Last modified on Mon 4 Mar 2019 18.31 GMT
Abattle broke out at the weekend over a hedge in Lincolnshire. The hedge, near the town of Winterton, was covered in netting by Partner Construction, which has applied for planning permission to build 40 homes on the site. This is standard practice, the developer said, in order to prevent birds from nesting in a habitat that might be damaged if building work begins later in the year.
However, a group of local residents opposed to the development released a video showing birds trapped beneath the nets. Jeremy Vine and Chris Packham shared the footage, and their outrage, on Twitter. Packham said the nets showed “brutal ignorance” of how to look after the countryside, and said, if he were there, he would “rip those nets down”, in a tweet that has since disappeared. According to the Telegraph, some of the offending nets have now gone.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to intentionally “take, damage or destroy” the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built. In theory, this even bans people from pruning their fruit trees if doing so harms a nest that they know is there. Any tree or hedge becomes a protected site the moment a bird settles in it, which it might do at any time from about February until August – potentially shutting down an entire construction site for the busy half of the year.
Many conservationists agree to compromise. Netting an empty tree or a bush in the winter is certainly better than making the birds look for a new site in the middle of the breeding season. “It’s not ideal,” says Martin Fowlie of the RSPB, “but it is legal, so when it has to be done, it’s important that it be done properly, which means checking for birds when the netting is fitted, and to keep checking it regularly. Birds are ingenious creatures, and they can often find a way to get under the edge of a net.”

No comments:

Post a Comment