COUNTRYSIDE chiefs are urging the public to be careful of nesting birds this spring.
The Forestry, Amenity and Lands Directorate has issued a reminder and asked the public to avoid disturbing nesting birds during the breeding season, which runs from early April through to late July.
Most bird species found in the uplands nest on the ground, although some some use ledges, cliffs or quarries. All species are easily disturbed while incubating or feeding young and some species are either in decline or endangered. So the public should take care when venturing away from footpaths. Dogs should be kept under control, ideally on a short lead.
The plea also applies to users of motorbikes, 4x4s and even mountain bikes as, if they stray from designated routes, they can cause a ‘significant threat’.
There can also be nests on beaches, sometimes highly camouflaged. At the Ayres National Reserve, dogs should be on leads as it is the only place in the island where little terns nest.
Chairman of the Forestry, Amenity and Lands Directorate Brenda Cannell MHK said: ‘The Manx uplands and Ayres are beautiful semi-natural habitats.
‘These areas belong to the people of the Isle of Man and I urge everyone to visit, explore and enjoy the uplands in a responsible and sustainable manner. However, we all need to appreciate that even unintentional disturbance of wild birds’ nests can lead to failure which, in turn, can have a significant impact on species that are already threatened.’
Anyone who intentionally or recklessly disturbs a nest can be prosecuted.