The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) protects all wild birds, their nests and their eggs in Wales. Some species have extra protection from disturbance at their nests. We grant licences so you can work within the law

pair of shovelers in water

All wild birds, their nests and eggs are protected. It is an offence to intentionally:

  • kill, injure or take any wild bird,
  • take, damage or destroy the nest of a Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle or Osprey (even if disused),
  • take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird whilst it is in use or being built,
  • take, damage or destroy an egg or any wild bird,
  • possess any live or dead wild bird or the egg of any wild bird, or any derivative

Many rare birds are listed on Schedule 1, which makes it an offence to intentionally or recklessly:

  • disturb a Schedule 1 bird while it is building a nest or is in, on or near a nest containing eggs or young; or
  • disturb dependent young of such a bird

A list of Schedule 1 birds Legally protected birds in Wales

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) issues licences for specific purposes, so that you can undertake legitimate work without breaking the law. See ‘Bird licensing’ for more information.

Our Report an Incident page will give you more information on how to report wildlife crime.