Bird Surveys

Barn Owl

Our expert bird surveyors can provide assistance with survey methodologies, undertake surveys and advise on development timings for protected breeding birds.

Nearly all wild birds and their nests are protected under UK Law. A range of vulnerable and rare birds are also awarded a further protection during the breeding season (March to August) which are included on Schedule 1 list and include Barn Owl. In Scotland, legislation is enhanced protecting some nests year round, such as golden eagle.

Our team are licensed to survey a suite of Schedule 1 birds and can undertake the following surveys:

Breeding surveys

The aim of breeding surveys are to establish a baseline of the species diversity and numbers within and adjacent to a site. This data is critical for planning applications and feed into habitat mitigation plans and post-construction monitoring. Generic breeding surveys use the following methodologies – Common Bird Census, Breeding Bird Survey on lowland sites and Brown & Shepherd for upland waders.

Our team have over 30 years experience undertaking breeding bird surveys on a variety of habitats from lowland farmlands to upland moorland.


Species Specific Surveys

There are a wide-range of species specific surveys designed for species which are not accurately detected using generic breeding surveys.

Species specific surveys for Schedule 1 species include Barn Owl on farmland sites, Black Redstart and Little Ringed Plover on brownfield sites, Kingfishers on watercourses. Black Grouse & Capercaillie on uplands and Nightjar & Goshawk in forestry plantations.


Wintering surveys

Wintering surveys are usually required for sites adjacent to estuaries, in coastal areas and in the vicinity of European protected sites (Special Protected Areas) for birds. The Wetland Bird Survey methodology is used for wintering surveys.


Nocturnal surveys

Birds use habitats differently at night than during the day. Waders, such as Lapwing and Golden Polver, are the guild of birds that most use agricultural fields for foraging at night. Nocturnal bird surveys are generally required for sites near estuaries or in coastal areas. At FALCO Ecology we undertake nocturnal bird surveys using high definition thermal scopes.


High/Low Tide Surveys

Similar to wintering surveys, tidal surveys are undertaken for sites in the vicinity of coastal areas and protected areas. The aim of tidal surveys is to identify key locations where waterbirds forage, rest and roost.


Nest Searches and Monitoring

The aim of nesting bird searches are undertaken to assess the presence of and to ensure no damage to protected nests or young occurs. The breeding bird season is generally stated as March to August, inclusive; however some species such as Barn Owl and Woodpigeon have been recorded breeding in every month of the year.

If construction works are proposed during the bird breeding season, nesting bird searches are generally required as a planning condition. Nesting bird searches should undertaken no more than two days before the start construction works and on larger construction sites every two days.

FALCO Ecology can assist you by discharging your ecological planning conditions. Our team are experts within the ornithological sector and have the ability to not only locate nests but understand critical bird behaviour, such as alarm calling, to assist in locating hard to find nests, such as Skylark. Our team hold a Schedule 1 licence which allows us to visit nests and assess when young will leave the nest which can be a vital input into any construction programme and furthermore saving money from not having to undertake multiple vantage point watches. Our high definition thermal scope assists in locating camouflage nests.


 Vantage Point Watches

Vantage Point Watches are predominantly used for proposed wind developments and for post construction monitoring. The aim of vantage point watches are to collect flight data of target species (raptors, wildfowl and waders).

Our team have over 20 years experience in undertaking vantage point watches on a variety of habitats from the midlands to the Highlands of Scotland. Our ornithologists use top of the range optical equipment to assist with species identification, leading to accurate data collection and robust assessments.

For more information or discuss your bird survey requirements call us on 07928 040 460