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daveindales

Adjacent trees and birds

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Ok, here we go!!!. 

 

This is the first time in being an arbtalk member that Iv'e felt the need to ask for some advice.

 

Bit of  background info. I've been working with trees since 1985, and have a professional arboricultural qualification (HND Arb) I have a very good working relationship with my local planning authority, which in this case is The Yorkshire Dales National Park. I work for them regularly and have just planted over 6000 trees for the establishment of new dormice habitats. Over the last two weeks, I have stopped work on two jobs, as I noticed nesting birds in the trees that were to fell. One, a blackbird nest and the other a pigeon.

 

Recently, I was asked by a client (ex copper) to fell 3 semi-mature trees. A horse chestnut, sycamore and an ash. These were in his garden, which also contains a number of other semi-mature sycamore and ash. All three were to section fell. Lack of light,and the trees getting too big was the reason they were tobe felled. Naturally, I looked at the three trees, deciding how to dismantle, and subconsciously noted no nesting birds in the three trees. Before the trees were felled we had a general chit chat and the client mentioned woodpeckers were seen and pecked the metal parts of telegraph poles.  No mention of nests. Section felled all the trees and came across no nests, and no cavities at all in any of the trees. If any were seen either beforehand or during felling we would have stopped. All the trees were not in leaf and seeing nests would have been easy.

 

During dismantling the last tree, a couple came and had a go at the client for destroying habitat. I was up the tree, it was very windy and I didn't hear a word. No TPO's, no Conservation Area, no birds nesting in trees to be felled. No Felling licence as in a garden, and probably not enough volume anyway. Later when home, I received a message from YDNPA employee who I knew and he said somebody had reported us. He told them everything would be ok, as I had a good reputation with them, but he had to investigate anyway. Later that evening, I had a phone caller from a concerned village resident, who said that the whole village was upset, as woodpeckers were nesting somewhere near. She wanted to remain anonymous. I was very courteous  with her and explained everything in full to her. She claimed the police had been called.  Now the clients, have never seen any nesting there, and nobody seems to know where the nest is. But it certainly was not in any of the trees I climbed and felled. The anonymous called was asking if I did a pre-survey to identify birds nests. Well, I didn't go round every individual tree in the garden looking for nests, but observed non in any of the trees. She implied that I had disturbed the woodpeckers. 

 

As none of the other trees were touched during the works, the only way I could have disturbed them was by making noise with the chainsaws. No chipper on site. The site is right next to a busy A road, with passing noise all the time. Now, at home I have a leylandii hedge full of birds nests. I mow my lawn every week, which is adjacent to the hedge. If I broke any laws felling the trees, then me and most of the country are also guilty of disturbing nesting birds.  What about bell ringers, they must disturb birds nesting in church steeples etc. Farmers driving in and out of farm buildings would disturb nesting birds. I have birds nesting at the rear of the house guttering (bungalow) Just walking by the nest would disturb them. The point I'm trying to make is that the whole country would come to a standstill, and everyone somehow must certainly disturb nesting birds somehow.

 

One other thing I should mention is that a friend of my daughters is doing a degree in photography, and asked if he could come and take some photo's of us at work, as part of a project. He arrived and stayed all day, taking photo's of us and the works being undertaken.At the end of the day he had over 1200 photo's. These included hundred's of the trees taken before, during and after the felling. I can get access to all the photo's, if needed

 

I feel rather dejected,  that the  credibility of a  company that  I have run for 24 years is called in to question. Have I done anything wrong???

 

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I would say that you have done the best to your ability to not disturb the landscape / environment. 

 

You have looked at the job a few times from the quote through to doing the works. You have talked to the client and nothing has been mentioned.

 

Whilst climbing you have done an continuous Ariel inspection of the tree's and found no evidence of nesting birds.  

 

I would say you have done all in your duty to stay within the guide lines.

 

Also that does the lady have evidence of NESTING wood peckers or that they just frequent the garden? pecking metal parts on a pole? thought they just liked dead wood etc....

 

I would say that this is a neighbour that has issue with the removed tree's and or grievances with your client yet is taking it out on you. 

 

Disturbing a nest would surely mean disturbing a mother or chick from a nest or scaring them away whilst they are building a nest.

 

I would say its malicious on the part of the person complaining and too right I wouldnt be happy with my company being brought up with an allegation like this.

 

People don't think before they open their mouths out of selfishness the consequences on others. 

 

If the police had been rang they should turn up at some point, the only way you would be in trouble if there was a nest in with the brash and or timber. There would have to be a nest / evidence for it to be classed as a criminal act.

 

Her word against yours but considering the time you've been doing the job and relationship with ydnp I'd tell her to go fish!

Edited by swinny

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Also another thing is that there can be plenty of nests out there but the word is ACTIVE nest

 

And how do you not know there weren't other environmental changes to change the birds nest site? Its not Guaranteed that they will go to same site each year surely. 

Edited by swinny

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What Swinny says.

Judiciary says to Complainant, Have you any evidence that wildlife was disturbed by the action taken. Complainant, Err no, but I have seen birds in the vicinity. Judiciary- so you have no evidence to back up your claim. Complainant Err no. Judiciary- Claim dismissed

 

Good to document what you did with site photographs i.e. Before undertaking the work a wildlife survey, including an aerial inspection, was undertaken and no evidence was seen that any wildlife would be disturbed.  As work progressed care and observations were taken to ensure evidence of wildlife had not been missed.

Bats can be tricky as any cavity or bark fissure can be used as roosts and large cavities could need mirrors even a bat expert to decide.

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You do have my deepest sympathy with this. You have been 100% correct throughout in your actions. Then some unthinking busybody makes an unjustified complaint, quite possibly because they have an issue with your client.

 

Sadly not a lot you can do about it. I'm a great believer in what goes around comes around, so hopefully the complainant will tread on a wasps nest this year. No doubt they would say it is someone else's fault.

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12 minutes ago, maybelateron said:

You do have my deepest sympathy with this. You have been 100% correct throughout in your actions. Then some unthinking busybody makes an unjustified complaint, quite possibly because they have an issue with your client.

 

Sadly not a lot you can do about it. I'm a great believer in what goes around comes around, so hopefully the complainant will tread on a wasps nest this year. No doubt they would say it is someone else's fault.

I know that the client and neighbours have had issues in the past, and feel like I have unwittingly become entangled in their issues. 

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The law states that it is illegal to "recklessly or intentionally " destroy or disturb birds and their nests  , sadly it seems some people take the view that they are absolutely sacred , and as others have said above people try to use wildlife and other concerns as a weapon against others  ( nimby versus developer for example )   if there is no evidence of an offence then I can not see any case to answer ....has anyone ever heard of a prosecution for such an offence ??

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I have a Black birds nest in the Ivy by my back door, its at eye level, there are three chicks. Each time I leave the house by the back door I "disturb" them, when I'm in my courtyard by the back door I "disturb" them. Am I committing a criminal offence?

 

They nested there last year they nested there, but at some point the eggs all disappeared, no idea what happened to them? Squirrels? Crows? Magpies?

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