How to protect bird nests: if you love them, leave them alone

This text is a part of our Spring Alive programme, which goals encourage and educate youngsters throughout Africa and Eurasia in regards to the wonders of nature and fowl migration. The 2021 Spring Alive season has as soon as once more been made doable with the help of HeidelbergCement, having been in partnership with BirdLife since 2011, collaborating globally to implement native actions to minimise its impacts and enhance administration of biodiversity inside quarries.


Think about flying 1000’s of miles to your breeding grounds, flaunting your most interesting plumage, singing your most lovely songs and even combating off different birds to discover a mate. You construct a nest collectively, painstakingly assembling your own home twig by twig, and take turns incubating your treasured eggs night time and day. However it’s not till the chicks arrive that the actually arduous work begins, when each spare second for months is spent cramming meals into hungry, squawking mouths. As any father or mother will inform you, elevating kids isn’t any straightforward activity, and nesting birds want all the assistance they’ll get. As a part of this yr’s Spring Alive theme, “How ought to we shield fowl nests?”, right here are some things you are able to do to assist make your native birds’ efforts worthwhile and guarantee they create a brood of wholesome new fledglings into the world this spring:


When you love them, depart them alone

It may be thrilling to discover a fowl nesting in your backyard or native space, however when you uncover a nest’s location, it’s essential to depart it alone. When you get too shut, you may threat damaging it – even loud noise and disturbance could possibly be sufficient to make dad and mom abandon their nest. What’s extra, it’s possible you’ll be leaving a scent path for predators to observe straight to a straightforward snack. If the nest is on the bottom, you should utilize an upright stick or bamboo pole to mark which space to keep away from. In city areas, scientists advocate maintaining a minimum of 60 metres away from the nests of enormous birds akin to raptors and herons. However you’ll be able to nonetheless take pleasure in watching their antics by means of your binoculars…


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Let that backyard develop!

Timber, hedges, meadows, undergrowth – all of those have cosy nooks the place birds love to lift their younger. When you see a fowl constructing a nest in one in all these locations, don’t prune it till breeding season is over. For instance, in northern Europe attempt to keep away from mowing meadows or trimming shrubs between February and August. You’ll be able to lookup your personal nation’s breeding season for a extra particular information.



Hold pets indoors

We might love our mild, purring feline associates, however cats grow to be cold-blooded hunters after they’re out on the prowl. As a result of they don’t seem to be a pure a part of the ecosystem, they’ll have a devastating impact on backyard fowl populations – particularly birds nesting close to the bottom. So hold your cat indoors, or create an enclosed exterior space or “catio”. Canine have additionally been recognized to eat eggs and chicks, so hold them on a lead wherever close to ground-nesting birds.


Construct a predator-proof fowl field

Native predators are a pure a part of the ecosystem – however in the event you’re frightened about invasive species, or there’s a uncommon fowl in your space that you simply’d like to provide some further assist, there are many modifications you may make to an abnormal nesting field forestall predators from gaining entry. You possibly can reinforce the doorway with metallic to cease invaders from gnawing it wider, or set up a tube tunnel about 5-8 centimetres lengthy as an alternative of a gap. Extending the roof about 12 centimetres previous the entrance and sides of the field will make it tougher for predators to clamber in from above. Location can be essential: ideally, the field ought to be a minimum of three metres from the bottom and much away from any buildings, timber or bushes that predators can climb up. Fixing your field to a publish fabricated from clean metallic, relatively than wooden, will baffle probably the most proficient of climbers!


Strengthening the entrance with metal stops predators gnawing their way in © Mike Haler / Flickr


See a nest at risk? Say one thing!

Many international locations have legal guidelines in place to guard nesting birds. When you see somebody stealing eggs or chicks from a nest, or if an essential nesting habitat in your native space is about to be constructed on or destroyed, inform your native authorities. Do not forget that your security comes first and it’s hardly ever a good suggestion to straight confront the offender. As an alternative, many authorities have hotlines or on-line varieties the place you’ll be able to report your considerations anonymously.


Help nature conservation

Nature conservation teams like BirdLife Worldwide, the organiser of Spring Alive, are working to guard crucial habitats for breeding birds. By donating, volunteering and even simply elevating consciousness about nature conservation, you’re serving to to safeguard your favorite species for generations to return.

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