Wait! There could be birds still nesting

Hold back a while before trimming the hedges and trees

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

You may be getting frustrated and angered by straggly foliage or unruly tree branches which appear to be taking over your garden and by a hedge that looks in serious need of a haircut, but try to hold back on the trimming.

The RSPB is is urging gardeners to avoid making the chop as there could still be late nesting birds hidden within the greenery and you certainly could seriously disrupt them and even cause the death of their offspring.

An RSPB South East media officer said: “The RSPB receives a lot of calls at the moment from people that have started hedge trimming and discovered a nest. It is very disturbing for gardeners to think they have upset their garden birds and they worry that they may fly the nest and the young won’t survive.

“You can save yourself a job and wait for a few weeks, ideally until late September at the earliest. If you do need to do it sooner for safety reasons perhaps, try and replace any greenery as much as possible so as not to deter the birds.”

Most garden birds breed between March and August but some species will be on their nests until late into September.

Cutting this early could also starve birds and mammals of a vital fruit supply. Many plants will still have an abundance of berries which could see the birds through the winter.

Last year’s winter larder of berries on shrubs and hedges meant the difference between life and death for many resident birds and winter visitors.

The RSPB is also urging local authorities to hold back on cutting hedges for a few weeks yet where possible.

Many have to cut hedges for path access or horticultural reasons for example, but where there is flexibility, the wildlife charity suggests waiting until the end of summer.

If maintenance is unavoidable at this time, the RSPB asks that gardeners, local authorities and contractors consider nesting birds and do preliminary inspections.

© 2010