When To Cut Hedges To Avoid Nesting Birds? Find Out Here!

Written By James
Updated July 1, 2021 by James

When To Cut Hedges To Avoid Nesting Birds? Find Out Here!

When Do Birds Nest In Hedges Throughout The Year?

Maintaining your garden hedges throughout the year is very important, overgrown hedges can look unattractive and cause issues with your neighbours if they become too tall. 

However, trimming your hedge is not always possible during nesting season, as they're often baby birds in hedges during March and August. These birds are protected by the UK 1981 Wildlife & Countryside act, so you can face consequences if you trim garden hedges with wild birds inside. 

If you have unruly hedges that often have a family of birds during nesting season you might be wondering how you can keep your hedge trimmer and neat without disturbing birds, so we have written a small guide down below to help you out.

How To Avoid Nesting Birds In Your Hedges 

Even though you may love your humble hedge in your garden, if it is full of birds during bird nesting season you will have no choice but to hold off trimming your hedge until growing season.

Even if you just trim your hedge and avoid the bird's nests inside, by doing so you will expose nesting birds to elements by baring the tree leaves.

The best times to avoid nesting birds are out the months around March and August, you should hold off trimming your hedge unless you are 100% sure there are no active bird nests inside, you can figure this out by monitoring the bush for birds coming in and out as they will have to keep revisiting the nest.

It is illegal to cut a hedge with an active nest inside under the Wildlife & Countryside Act in the UK.

We have listed out a few tips for figuring out whether or not you have got birds nests in your hedging below. 

  • Watch if birds are frequently coming in and out of the hedge
  • Double-check the hedge for any wildlife close-up before trimming. 
  • Use a manual trimmer rather than an electric one in case you come across any surprising wildlife.

What Is a Mixture Of Bird Friendly Hedging? 

If you are interested in having different birds and forms of wildlife in your hedging during the summer then you could try making your bird-friendly hedging. 

Bird-friendly hedging is a mix of multiple shrubs to create a privacy screen for birds, it allows birds to have a protective shelter and a place to live, most of these hedges consists of shrubs with berries too so as it attracts more wildlife when its time for nesting birds. 

We have listed a few tips for creating bird-friendly hedging below as a beginner - 

  • Use deciduous plants - Deciduous plants will go dormant in the winter which works perfectly for the birds as they will not be active during the winter anyway.
  • Prune your hedge in the winter - Most of the best shrubs for birds will be dormant in the winter so this is a great time to prune them ready for summer and the birds.
  • Choose shrubs with berries - Shrubs with berries not only give a nice pop of colour to your garden but provide a food source for the birds.

Last Words

Overall, you should avoid cutting your hedges during the months from March to August if you have nesting birds, it is best to regularly trim in other months of the year and leave the hedges alone if they are home to nesting birds.

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My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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