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Emily Scarratt

Don't cut the hedge just yet

Posted by British Bird Food 24/07/2014 0 Comment(s)
Wild birds and wildlife are still in the throws of rearing their young and they need the cover and resources they find in the hedgerows of the countryside. The Hedgerow regulations of 1997 require that certain hedgerows are not removed or destroyed, they also suggest that hedgerows apart from those that are causing restrictive view of drivers, should not be trimmed between 1st March and 31st July. I do know that it is frustrating to sit in your garden and watch your hedge or plants growing out of control and so we need to be sensible about how to approach this problem. We have a Hazel Nut tree next to our bird feeding station, the birds use this for cover whilst flitting back and forth to the feeding station. So I know there is no nesting birds in this tree and it is densely covered in leaves, so it is quite alright to keep  it trimmed to the proportions and shape that we like to see in this formal part of our garden. In the borders of our garden we have Hawthorn and Sycamore, densely leaved and thick in width. The branches are growing by the day and are in danger of over growing - but I can not cut them back yet, until I am sure the nesting season is over; as I am sure there are nests in the hedge and the weather this year lends itself to a long breeding season, I will not cut this hedge until 1st September, in the mean time it will look very scruffy, but better that than disturb nesting birds and loose a whole nest full of life. Be aware of the likely nest sites in and around your garden, for example, we have a trained Wisteria growing along a wall of the house we usually prune it back heavily twice a year, once in February, then again in April. This year we took it back in February as usual, but when it came to April I gave it a good inspection before getting the shears out and sure enough, there was Mrs Blackbird sitting on her brood of eggs staring back at me through the dense leaves, defying me to disturb her. So no second flush of beautiful light blue Wisteria flowers in our garden this year! The Blackbird sat her time out and hatched four eggs all of who fed around our bird feeding station and we have the enjoyment of watching the young Blackbirds rather that the beauty of the Wisteria flowers. So, every garden has it's own plants and hedges, only you know what you can and can't do to protect the birds in your garden, but please do spare a thought before cutting back hedgerows. There might still be some late nests being occupied and it is a shame to disturb the birds for the sake of our gardens looking perfect for just a few more weeks.

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