Ready, steady, nest!

Long-tailed tits nest relatively early in the year. The nest can take two or three weeks to build and when finished it is a neat dome of mosses and lichens lined with thousands of feathers. Low bramble and thorn bushes are favoured sites.

This nest (see photo) near Godalming in Surrey, was first found on 29th February when it was three-quarters built. On 6th March (when this photo was taken) the nest was almost complete, but unlined. All active birds’ nests are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and so any vegetation clearance taking place in the breeding season (March-August inclusive) should be done under an ecological watching brief. However, this example shows the potential for birds to nest even outside the generally accepted breeding season.

Throughout Britain some robins are already nesting and blackbirds and song thrushes will soon be starting work on their nests. In early spring many thrush nests are located in ivy as it is often the only dense vegetation available and robins often nest on or close to the ground, which should be borne in mind during watching briefs.

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