WILDLIFE conservation charity the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is asking people to make sure they check hedges before cutting them.
“This is not a good time to cut your hedges in any case; it’s the height of the breeding season and many birds are either having second broods or their young are fledging and finding cover in hedges as they make their first unsteady flights,” said RSPB’s Stephanie Sim.
“In addition to birds, hedges are great places for insects, and mammals like bats use them as feeding banks as they swoop up and down these insect-rich superhighways. Keeping your hedge tidy might be the last thing you want to think about at this time of the year.”
The RSPB is also reminding people that destroying nests and nest sites during the breeding season is a crime. “Since the change in the law last year, it is now a criminal offence to destroy or disturb nesting sites, whatever the excuse,” said Stephanie. “The law now states that the defence ‘I did not know there was a nest there’, will not be upheld in court, and if found responsible, parties can face fines.”
The RSPB is a member of the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime Northern Ireland (PAWNI). If you believe that a hedge with nests is being destroyed or disturbed, you can call 0845 600 8000 and ask for the local PSNI station, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.