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Nesting Season in Scotland: A Tree Surgeon's Guide to Protecting Our Feathered Friends

Nesting Season in Scotland: A Tree Surgeon's Guide to Protecting Our Feathered Friends


Scotland is known for its stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife, and one of the most fascinating natural events that occur here each year is the nesting season for birds. As temperatures begin to rise and days grow longer, countless bird species start building their nests and raising their young, creating a symphony of chirps and songs that fill the air.

During this time, the tree surgeon industry is particularly busy, as people request pruning and maintenance for their trees. However, it's crucial that we protect our avian neighbors and their nests during this sensitive period. In this blog post, we'll discuss the nesting season in Scotland, what to expect, and how to approach tree work when an active nest is present.

When is Nesting Season in Scotland?

Nesting season in Scotland usually begins in late March and extends through July, although this can vary depending on the bird species and weather conditions. Some species, like the blackbird and robin, may start nesting as early as February, while others, like the swift, arrive later in the season.

During this time, it's essential to be vigilant when performing tree work, as disturbing or damaging a nest can have severe consequences for the birds and their offspring.

What to Do If You Discover a Nest in a Tree

If you discover an active nest in a tree that requires work, here's what you should do:

Contact a professional tree surgeon: First and foremost, reach out to a tree surgeon who is knowledgeable about local bird species and their nesting habits. They will be able to assess the situation and recommend the best course of action.

Delay the work: If possible, postpone the tree work until the nesting season is over or the young birds have fledged. Birds typically use their nests for just a few weeks, so waiting a little longer won't have a significant impact on your plans but will make a world of difference for the birds.

Seek advice from the relevant authorities: In Scotland, all wild birds, their nests, and eggs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. If tree work is essential and cannot be delayed, consult the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) for guidance and any necessary licenses.

Monitor the nest: Keep an eye on the nest's progress from a safe distance, and be prepared to adjust your plans if the birds need more time.

Best Practices for Tree Surgeons During Nesting Season

As tree surgeons, we have a responsibility to protect nesting birds while maintaining the health and safety of the trees in our care. Here are some best practices for tree surgeons during nesting season:

Perform a thorough visual inspection: Before carrying out any work, inspect the tree for signs of nesting birds. Look for nests, listen for bird songs, and be aware of adult birds carrying food or nesting materials.

Schedule non-urgent work outside of nesting season: If possible, plan routine tree maintenance and non-urgent work outside the nesting season to minimize the risk of disturbing or damaging nests.

Employ wildlife-friendly techniques: When tree work is necessary during nesting season, use techniques that minimize disturbance to birds, such as using hand tools instead of loud machinery.

Educate clients: Inform your clients about the importance of protecting nesting birds and the steps they can take to ensure their tree work is completed responsibly.


Nesting season is a magical time in Scotland, as the air is filled with the sounds of our feathered friends raising their young. By taking the appropriate precautions, tree surgeons can ensure that their work is carried out responsibly and in harmony with the natural world. Remember to be vigilant, delay non-essential work, and consult professionals when necessary to protect both our

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