WILDLIFE campaigners gathered to protest after they found a dead bird while removing netting from trees.

Between 15 and 20 people met on Edward Pease Way, near West Park Hospital in Darlington, County Durham, to remove the nets which had been placed over the top of a number of trees in the area.

They discovered the dead dunnock, also known as a 'hedge sparrow', minutes after they started which sparked the protest at the site on Tuesday.

The Northern Echo: Sparrow found in netting

From 1.30pm, the group worked to remove the nets dressed in white suits and tied green ribbons to the hedgerow.

Kendra Ullyart, chair of Friends of the Earth Darlington, said she decided to act after she was notified about the netting through her Facebook page.

She said: “I instantly decided that I needed to come and observe further, so I contacted other members of the group Love Darlo Trees and we all came together to observe this phenomenon of putting nets over trees to stop birds nesting.

“We only came down to have a look, but when we found today the tragic body of a little bird who had obviously suffered some trauma – it was awful to see.

“On that basis we decided that was one life too many and set out to remove the nets carefully from the hedgerow so that other wildlife does not suffer the same tragic fate.”

Michael Green, from Darlington, who joined the group this afternoon, said: “It’s shocking, to find birds stuck upside down dead is just not acceptable.

“And this is happening all over the country and not just here. It’s just not the right thing to do to our wildlife.”

RSPB said: “This is just another example of us trying to squeeze nature into smaller and smaller spaces.”