THE RSPCA is urging people to avoid moving bird nests after it was inundated with “orphaned” fledglings as a result of human negligence and interference.
Wirral-based RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes told the Globe the charity has dealt with an overwhelming number of calls relating to birds in need of collection in recent weeks, putting pressure not only on them but also on the wildlife centres tasked to look after them.
Inspector Joynes said: “Some of the animals we collect are genuinely orphaned and in need and we are happy to help.
“However, many of the animals we are now collecting are as a result of human negligence and interference – in particular people cutting down trees, flattening hedges and clearing gutters.”
He said in many cases people are moving the nests without a second thought to allow them to continue with their work and although the harm caused was not intentional, recklessness will still be investigated.
“This is not acceptable and highly illegal - people need to be responsible at this time of year.
“Any major garden work, if not already undertaken – such as felling trees – should now wait until mid August at the earliest.
“Most trees, bushes and hedges will have active nests within them and these nests are highly protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
“If work cannot be delayed then a wildlife survey should be carried out by a professional and then licences would need to be sought from Natural England.”
The warning comes after more than 30 ducklings had to be collected in one week, just days after a bucket of blackbirds was left on a vet’s doorstep in Bebington.
On Wednesday, Inspector Joynes was also tasked with helping a nest of 10 newborn blue tits after their nest box was pulled off a wall in New Ferry.
Injured or orphaned birds have to be taken to a specialist centre in Nantwich, resulting in RSPCA inspectors carrying out a journey of at least 80 miles.
“This means less time is spent on the road tackling cruelty at its core,” said Inspector Joynes, who has worked tirelessly to help prosecute a number of people in Wirral for serious animal cruelty in recent months.
He added: “It is illegal to damage, destroy or disturb any nest.
“Offences are imprisonable with unlimited fines and can be as much as £5,000 per egg or nestling damaged or destroyed.”