Put down your shears and protect wildlife - RSPB

With our wildlife under threat, the RSPB is asking gardeners to help wildlife this year by putting down the shears until August as hedgerows in the UK become vital homes for some of our most loved animals.

The charity is appealing to stop hedge cutting and be extra careful when tending to gardens from now on. Many people mistakenly believe birds only nest between April and September; but the wildlife charity is anxious to warn gardeners that some species have already started.

Singing, displaying and nest building among birds like blackbirds, magpies, wrens and robins has started with a vengeance, proving that the breeding season will soon be in full swing. Pruning hedges or shrubs and tidying plants could have a serious effect on their breeding success this spring if nests are dislodged or damaged. As birds are naturally secretive and tend to hide their nests away for safety, they can be difficult to spot.

The RSPB is asking people to stop cutting and pruning and save everything but essential tidying until later in the year. Where work is vital, the charity is urging people to keep their eyes peeled and tread carefully.

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