Protected Species | Ornithology

All bird species in the UK are protected to a greater or lesser degree and they are good ecological indicators of the health of habitats. 

Bird surveys are a standard requirement for many development projects where land take will be required, it maybe simply a breeding bird survey during spring and summer or a series of bird surveys targeted to specific times of year to understand how birds use a site all year round. This is particularly useful for wind farm studies, where in certain locations birds can be prone to collision with wind turbines. Scottish Natural Heritage have produced and updated guidance on the Birds and Windfarms: SNH Wind Farms & Birds Guidance.

Good quality data is always essential when planning and mitigating for birds.

Peak Ecology has three experienced ornithologists in-house and a range of experienced sub-contractors available to assist when required. Our ornithologists have licenses that cover all Schedule 1 protected species in Scotland and barn owl in England.

Survey Types

Peak Ecology have extensive experience when it comes to bird work, ranging from surveys of barns for barn owls on small developments, to a variety of generic and species0specific surveys on large development projects including pipelines, wind farms, housing schemes and new road building. All survey methods used by Peak Ecology are consistent with recommended methodologies (e.g. Gilbert et al, 1998; Hardy et al, 2006).

Our ornithology survey capabilities include the following:

  • Vantage Point Surveys
  • Breeding Bird Surveys
  • Wintering Bird Surveys
  • Geese and Swan Counts
  • Upland Breeding Wader Surveys
  • Lowland Breeding Wader Surveys
  • Breeding and Wintering
  • Raptor Surveys
  • Barn Owl Surveys
  • Schedule 1 Raptor Survey (all species)
  • Nightjar Survey
  • Capercaillie Survey (including use of trained dogs)
  • Black Grouse
  • Wetland Birds (WeBS) Surveys
  • Woodland Point Counts
  • Collision Risk Analysis


Timing for bird surveys can be crucial, see Table 1 for a selection of generic and species-specific surveys and timings.

Table 1: Recommended timings for selected bird surveys


If you are interested in any of our services, don’t hesitate to contact us >>

Ornithology | Case Study

Case Study 1 >>

IRD Studies On Three Single Turbine Projects Near King’s Lynn

Peak Ecology have been undertaking bird surveys on three proposed 50MW single wind turbine sites near King’s Lynn in north Norfolk. The projects required bird surveys thoughout the year, and we undertook, spring passage, breeding bird surveys, autumn passage, winter surveys, as well as vantage point surveys and nocturnal surveys using night vision equipment, to understand bird activity on these sites.

As one site in particular was relatively close to the Wash SPA a higher level of survey was required here to assess the potential impacts on the qualifying species associated with this protected site, for example, pink-footed and brent geese, whooper swan and marsh and Montague’s harriers.