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Neighbour cutting hedges in nesting season

Is there anything more heartbreaking than watching a neighbour cut down hedges in the middle of the nesting season?
Every Spring I watch a variety of birds using my birdbath, eating my bird seed, gathering up nesting materials in my garden, flying in and out of the hedges. I look forward to seeing baby birds about, but every summer to my horror I watch my neighbour chop down the hedges. There is about 30m of laurel hedging and he's currently chain sawing off a good foot and a half to 2 feet and then shaking the hedges vigorously to get away any loose branches.

I'm watching lots of little birds fly in and out of the hedge and I'm worried about the blackbird I saw sitting on her nest a few days ago. Is it possible the nest and any eggs will survive this hedge attack? The neighbour is also 'thinning out' his trees and cutting back other shrubs in his garden today.

Last week another neighbour cut their hedges down from 2m to 1.5m and yet another neighbour cut down three large trees. 

I wonder what affect, if any, this all has on local wildlife? It is very sad to watch  :'(  I wonder if my efforts to support wildlife are in vein. 



  • ElferElfer Posts: 329
    Till recently when I took hardening more seriously and joined this forum I was unaware of detrimental effects of hedge cutting during nesting season. Might be worth having a "very friendly" chat with your neighbours so as to educate them and suggest an alternative wildlife friendly trimming period with regards to their specific hedge/tree requirements.
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,613
    Not a good situation for the birds you would think common sense would tell them that birds are nesting some people just don't care.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,794
    Maybe enquire, gently, if they are aware of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 

    See the answer to Q1.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 2,631
    If you are on friendly terms with your 2 neighbours, a quiet word re the law as suggested could be your first option.
    Not everyone is aware of the damage they could be causing, particularly if they have no interest in nature/wildlife/conservation in general.
    If that doesn't work, you could try the local Wildlife Trust ( if you have one ), the department of your local council related to environmental issues ( you may have to dig deep to find them but they should exist ). 
    Perhaps you have other neighbours who feel the same and would be willing to try and do something about it ?
    It is never easy to convince people that they could be, at worst breaking the law, or causing needless harm to the local wildlife - many work on the basis of "My garden - my choice" without looking any further. 
  • coccinellacoccinella Posts: 590
    You could also approach them with: "did you know that if you trim the hedges in October they grow less vigorously and look neater for much longer?"  ;) 
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 2,631
    @coccinella An excellent tactic :D
  • Thanks all. You may be right and the neighbours don't know they are possibly causing harm (or breaking the law). I suspect it's probably a mix of those who don't know and those who don't care.
    The neighbour next to me doesn't tell me in advance when he's doing it (otherwise we could have a chat beforehand and I could point out the bird's nests), I find out when I hear the noise as it's happening or in previous years when I've come home to find they've been cut. Then over the next few months he will moan to anyone who will listen about me not cutting my hedges and how awful it looks. Because he trims the boundary hedges (on either side of his house) to the middle, that means half of the hedge is trimmed and the half on the other side is not trimmed if you see what I mean. 
    The tops of the hedges especially look very odd and unfinished. His other neighbour doesn't like the 'odd unfinished' look so will trim his side of the boundary hedge within the next week or so. I don't like the 'odd unfinished' look either but I refuse to trim hedges now, so my boundary hedge will continue to look odd and unfinished for the next few months (which he complains about each year). I always do mine in Sept/Oct and as you say, cutting them in Sept/Oct means I only need to trim them once per year. 

    There is a Wildlife Trust near me so I might phone them in the week. Maybe they or the council could distribute leaflets on our road which would hopefully at least inform those who don't know. I guess none of my neighbours watch Gardener's World :open_mouth: as GW frequently speak about gardening for wildlife. I've enjoyed the episodes on peat these past few weeks as that was something I wasn't aware of.
  • ElferElfer Posts: 329
    Sounds like this has been going on for some years yet you have never brought it up with your neighbour(s) in a friendly manner. Would that not be more constructive than posting about it on here, well that's if you truly care about the nature!

  • It's hard to try and talk to a neighbour if your going to tell them they shouldn't be doing opens up a whole can of worms.if they take offence they can start a horrible war over the fence.its just not worth it.
  • ElferElfer Posts: 329
    @the tidy gardener I agree but then if you start a conversation by telling someone off .... ie "you shouldn't" then that's what happens. How about "you know the reason I don't trim my hedge in spring is because of those beautiful nesting birds, besides they stay in shape better throughout the year so it's a win win ... "

    Sometimes all it takes is just a friendly gentle reminder.
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