As the hedge pledge comes to an end now is the perfect time to inspect your hedges for any nesting birds or active nests before the hedge trimming can begin.
Although you can trim your hedge during any time of the year we recommend you avoid doing so between March and July, the peak bird nesting season. Birds use hedges to nest, sheltering from any predators.
There are great benefits to having hedges in your garden including providing a home for many of our wildlife. Their natural abilities can also capture noise pollution, air pollutants and flood mitigation.
Several hedges support wildlife by providing foods like berries. Other hedges grow flowers providing nectar and pollen to insects such as bees.
How to check for an empty bird nest?
If you know where in your hedges the birds have been nesting, you can carefully check they are empty before cutting your hedges.
You want to ensure that the nest has been empty for several days, so keep an eye on the nest's location to make sure that you don't spot any birds flying in and out. You can also spend a couple of minutes each day listening near to the nest to make sure you can't hear any chirping.
Although young birds do not typically return to their nests seeking handouts from parents, it is important to be absolutely sure that it is abandoned, so by keeping track for a few days ahead of hedge trimming, you can be sure that the nest is no longer in use.
Should I remove the bird nest?
Unless there's a reason to remove the nest, leaving it in your hedge can still help out wild birds.
Some species use nests as roosts outside of breeding season, may return to the same nest next year, or some birds may reuse the nests of other birds.
If you accidentally dislodge an abandoned nest, don't attempt to return it to the hedge. It may be less stable or not sheltered enough, and more likely to be blown down at a later date.