Don’t cut your hedge yet, urges RSPB

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A BIRD protection charity is urging local gardeners to hold fire on any seasonal plans to trim back their hedges, trees or bushes.

The RSPB claims giving these plants a short back and sides in September is bad news for birds, as many plants will still have an abundance of berries or insects which could see the birds through the winter.

And according to the charity’s experts anyone who is over-zealous with the clippers could also disturb late nesting birds as many may still be nesting in shrubs and hedges.

Most garden birds breed between March and August but some species like collared doves and pigeons will be on their nests until late into September.

Adrian Thomas, author of the RSPB book Gardening for Wildlife, said, “Many hedges, bushes and trees will be harbouring insects and their eggs throughout the winter, or will bear all kinds of fruit.

“These can mean the difference between life and death for many resident birds and winter visitors.

“If you can wait until late winter to do the pruning, when plants are dormant anyway, you can give your garden wildlife the best chance at making the most of all that good food before things start coming to life again in the spring.

“And right now it’s always possible that you’ll find a little face staring back at you when you chop back the leaves, because some late-nesting bird is bringing up its chicks there.”