Birds that are protected
All species of birds, their nests and eggs are fully protected under the Wildlife (Jersey) Law 2021 with the exception of the carrion crow, feral pigeon, wood pigeon and magpie.
It is an offence to disturb, damage or destroy the active nest of a protected bird or to prevent parent birds access to their nests.
The breeding season for birds depends upon the species and their location. In Jersey, some birds start to nest as early as the beginning of March. Some species have more than 1 brood.
Protected birds you might find in your garden
There are a few species of birds you are likely to find around your garden, including:
- house sparrows normally enter the roof space through a gap between the roof tiles and gutter. They may also use downpipes or ventilation pipes or grilles
- swallows prefer outbuildings which provide dark ledges and nooks and crannies for nesting. They can enter a building through a very small hole
- blue tits and great tits occasionally use holes in house walls
- house martins build mud nests on the outside of buildings high up under the eaves. They will not enter the roof space
- barn owls sometimes make use of roofs of old buildings but are unlikely to enter an occupied house
- herring gulls may nest on roofs
Birds and building works
The presence of birds nesting or roosting within your property should not prevent you from maintaining or improving your property. However, if you are aware of ‘active’ nests, you should not carry out any building works in the vicinity of the nests during the breeding season. Sometimes a nest is only discovered during renovation work. If this happens stop work and contact the Environment Department for advice on how to proceed.
Nesting birds in trees and hedges are less easy to spot. To avoid harming them and breaking the law, only do works like pruning, felling and trimming outside of the breeding season. If you have to carry out work during the breeding season, watch your birds carefully - you should be able spot when the young leave the nest. Some birds may have second or third broods so take care to check the nest is not occupied. Once the building works are underway, this should discourage birds from starting to nest again.
Encouraging nesting birds
Many of the birds that use roof spaces are now of conservation concern. Roofs are vital sanctuaries due to the loss of natural nest sites. They rarely cause damage. If possible, allow them access to nest in your roof.
The provision of nest boxes for sparrows, swallows and house martins can be very effective. Ledges can be placed beneath nests to catch droppings.