A WILDLIFE rescue centre in Thirsk is appealing to the public to check for bird nests before cutting trees and hedges, as the charity faces their busiest spring yet.

Lauren and Krista Langley set up The Wildlife Haven Rescue Centre in Thirsk in 2008, after relocating from a different county.

And they say they have 'never known anything like' the volume of calls they have received about bird nests in recent weeks.

They believe that the unusually high number of calls could be related to coronavirus measures; with many people getting in touch after accidentally disturbing nests while sprucing up their gardens during lockdown.

The Northern Echo:

Jackdaw chicks Picture: Lauren Langley

The RSPB recommends avoiding hedge and tree trimming altogether between March and August, as this is the main breeding season for nesting birds.

Krista said: “If you really have to cut a tree or hedge at this time of year, please ensure you thoroughly inspect it for nests beforehand.

"If you do accidentally remove a nest of eggs or baby birds, please don’t just leave it, or throw it away. "Call your nearest rescue centre for advice as soon as possible.”

The volunteers explain that many people mistakenly believe that once disturbed, birds cannot be returned as their parents will reject them.

“This isn’t true” says Lauren “If the baby is healthy and not in immediate danger, we always recommend people attempt to reunite it with the parents.

The Northern Echo:

Robin chicks in a knitted nest Picture: Lauren Langley

"Although many rescue centres have an excellent success rate with hand rearing birds, even from newly hatched, it’s always preferable to try and keep them in the wild.”

This isn’t the only change the charity has seen since Covid-19 restrictions began.

Along with other organisations they work with, The Wildlife Haven volunteers have noticed an unusually high number of enquiries about birds and animals turning up in strange places; including roe deer fawns being spotted at roadsides, wild rabbits and hares venturing into inner city gardens, and ducks nesting in town centres.

The Northern Echo:

Roe deer have been spotted close to roads Picture: Pixabay

All birds, their nests, and eggs are protected under UK law.

Anyone taking down active nests, removing eggs, or harming young birds could face an unlimited fine, and up to 6 months imprisonment.

To find out more about The Wildlife Haven, or to donate,visit their website or find them on Facebook.