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Minister Noonan asks Public to be Mindful of Chicks over Easter

As Easter approaches, Minister for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD is calling on the public to protect our nesting birds.

The minister expressed, “In recent weeks, it’s been a real joy to watch our birds building and lining their nests across our landscape, in hedgerows and trees. Some birds can also be found nesting in buildings and houses in our cities and towns. These birds are now starting to lay eggs and fledge chicks. It’s an incredibly important time for them and the future of their species. Over the Easter period, let’s do our bit for nature by protecting them and their nests so that they can fledge their chicks safely.”

The Wildlife Act prohibits the cutting, grubbing, burning or other destruction of vegetation such as hedgerows and scrub between 1st March and 31st August annually, with some limited exemptions. This is to protect bird life during the nesting season, to help prevent forest fires, to protect vegetation and wildlife habitats at an important time for breeding and growth and to provide food for animals and birds.

Furthermore, under the Act, it is a criminal offence to wilfully destroy, injure, or mutilate the eggs or nest of a wild bird or to wilfully disturb a wild bird on or near a nest containing eggs or un-flown young birds at any time of the year.

Wildlife crimes can carry heavy penalties, including large fines and even a criminal conviction. At a recent sitting of Athy, Co. Kildare District Court, a case involving the wilful destruction of two House Martins nests and the death of four chicks resulted in fines of €2,000.

“The NPWS takes wildlife crimes very seriously and investigates reports from the public,” said Minister Noonan. “I would urge any member of the public to report any incident to the NPWS or to the Gardaí.”



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