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Wild Birds

Despite the fact that all wild birds are protected by law, birds are still persecuted and suffer cruel treatment

Kestrel in daylight (copyright Andy Morffew)Birds are shot, poisoned, unlawfully trapped and have their nests disturbed or destroyed and eggs are stolen. As a result, this is having a major impact on our country's wild bird population and many species are seriously in decline; it is likely that if this continues certain species will suffer extinction.

The primary legislation which offers protection to wild birds is the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, also the Animal Welfare Act 2006 does provide some protection against unnecessary suffering.

Under this legislation a wild bird is described as any bird of a species which is ordinarily resident in, or is a visitor to the European Territory of any Member State, in a wild state but does not include poultry or, any game bird unless it is carried out under licence or for prohibitive measures.

Game birds mean any pheasant, partridge, grouse (or moor game), black (or heath) game or ptarmigan. However it must be noted that game birds can only be shot at certain times and are protected during the closed seasons under the Gaming Acts.

The dead game bird may only be sold during the open season or up to 10 days after the season has closed.

Furthermore it does not including any bird which is shown to have been bred in captivity unless it has been lawfully released into the wild as part of a re-population or re-introduction programme.

Information on general protection for wild birds