Newtownabbey Borough Council staff recently realised that a new family had moved in. But who would have thought that this cigarette butt bin would be an ideal nesting site!
Our local birds will have been busy building their nests since as early as March to ensure they have a safe place to lay there eggs. The work continues by keeping the eggs warm and then making sure the chicks are well fed after their hatching. We can all play our part in making sure their efforts are not in vain – simply by leaving them alone!
The Wildlife (NI) Order 1985 makes it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird, to take, damage or destroy any nest while in use or being built, and to take or destroy the egg of any wild bird. This means, in practice, that any work affecting habitats likely to contain nests, like hedgerows and trees, should be undertaken in autumn, outside the bird breeding season.
Also, when it comes time for the chicks to leave the nest, we shouldn’t interfere. It can be difficult to watch the chicks taking their first efforts to fend for themselves but it is important to let nature take its course. The simple answer is to leave them to their own devices. While it may seem like a good idea to give a helping hand it may lead to parents abandoning their young.
So make the most of our local birds – and sit back, relax and enjoy watching their activities! To find out more about our local wildlife or what you can do to help please contact the council’s biodiversity officer, Lindsay Matthews on 028 90340069 or see www.newtownabbey.gov.uk.