Why might you need a bird survey? 

All wild birds, their nests and young are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) as amended, with the exception of some species listed in Schedule 2 of the Act. It is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take a wild bird; intentionally take, damage or destroy nests in use or being built; intentionally take, damage or destroy eggs. Some species, listed on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, are afforded additional protection from disturbance whilst they are at their nests. This includes, but is not limited to, barn owl and a number of birds of prey. Before works to a site can be carried out, 

Breeding and non-breeding bird surveys of sites may also be required to fully assess bird assemblages using the site, giving consideration to Bird of Conservation Concern, National Priority and Local Biodiversity Action Plan species, as well as Annex 1 birds. Additional survey work may be recommended where a development has the potential to affect qualiying bird species of a Special Protection Area, a site protected by European Law for the bird populations it supports. 

E3 have strong links with the renewable energy industry and have worked on large scale projects including both overhead lines and wind farms. This work requires vantage point survey to identify any key species and flightlines present within the site and may require long term monitoring.

Where buildings may be suitable to support breeding barn owl, a barn owl risk assessment may also be recommended, often to be carried out at the same time as a bat risk assessment. 


What should you expect to happen? 

  • Breeding Bird Surveys Following preliminary ecological appraisal, breeding bird surveys may be recommended, typically comprising four site visits, three in the early morning and one at dusk, looking specifically for noctural species. An experienced ornithologist will walk over the site, recording breeding bird territories. 
  • Non Breeding Bird Surveys Depending on conditions on site, non breeding bird surveys may be recommended, typically to assess the wintering assembalge present at a site. Survey effort varies on a site by site basis, we will discuss this with you in detail. 
  • Barn Owl Risk Assessment Where buildings are to be affected that may be suitable to support barn owl, an experienced ecologist will carry out a detailed external and internal risk assessment for this species. 
  • Reporting Following completion of survey work, a report, comprising data analysis, impact assessment and mitigation recommendations will be provided. 
  • Nesting Bird Checks Post-consent, nesting bird checks are frequently required, should vegetation clearance, tree felling or building demolition be proposed within the bird nesting season. This will be carried out by a suitably experienced ecologist, to identify active nests and advise on any areas where works should not commence until young birds have fledged. Each nesting bird check is valid for a period of five days. 


When can bird surveys be carried out? 

Breeding bird surveys: Typically April - June (earlier surveys can be required depending on species)

Non-breeding bird surveys: Typically November - March (earlier surveys can be required depending on species)

Nesting bird checks: March - August 


What experience do E3 have? 

E3 has a team of in-house ornithologists, including regional experts in the field, who have extensive experience of site survey and assessment. This includes working on projects where development may impact on the qualifying species of Special Protection Areas (sites protected under European law for the bird populations they support). The team has expertise in design of appropriate mitigation and enhancement for bird species which is tailored to be site specific, to ensure the maintenance of local bird populations. Two of the team hold barn owl licences.