What is the legal status for wild birds?
All wild birds, their nests and eggs are protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.
Certain game birds are not included under this act but they are protected under the Games Act of 1831 which states it is illegal to kill or take these birds during the defined closed season.
The Defra website provides more information.
How do I encourage birds to use my garden?
Birds require food, shelter and nesting sites to survive. Important features that will help encourage birds to your garden are the planting of native shrubs, hedges, climbers, trees, and herbaceous plants, which supply food and shelter for a variety of species of birds.
Areas of lawn are also important because birds will feed on the earthworms found in the sub-soil.
Ponds are also recommended, no matter what the size.
By putting up nest boxes in your garden you will be providing a potential nesting site for many species of birds.
The RSPB website provides more detailed information.
Which birds usually use nest boxes?
Over 60 species of birds are known to use nest boxes but the most familiar are the blue and great tits.
The type and number of bird that will use a nest box depends on the position of the box and the surrounding.
How do I make a nest box?
See the RSPB website for details on how to construct a nest box and the best position in which to place the box.
How do I deter certain species of bird from coming into my garden?
Deterring wild birds is not encouraged, as they are an important feature of the British fauna. All wild birds are protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act and therefore it is an offence to trap, injure or kill any birds.
Common deterring methods include removal of the food supply or making it inaccessible to larger birds, fitting ledges with specially designed spike strips or coils, an audible deterrent which works for some species, hanging half filled plastic bottles or CDs from a tree, and GuardnEyes scarecrow balloons.
Consult the RSPB website for more information.
For information on how to deter birds from agricultural land contact the Government Agriculture Department at Defra. Most commonly audible and visual deterrents are used on farmland.
What do I do with injured or orphaned birds?
Taking a bird into human care should be considered a last resort due to the low survival rate and the stress caused to the bird by captivity.
Baby birds should be left where they are, as most often the mother will try to find her young or she will be close by but scared away by your presence.
If you are willing to look after the sick bird the law requires you to return the bird to the wild as soon as it has fully recovered. You should contact the RSPCA for expert advice or consult a local vet, many of whom are willing to provide free treatment to wild birds.
The RSPB website has more information.