Wednesday 18th April 2012
People are being warned about the dangers of tree-felling in the spring after three owlets died when a tree was cut down in parkland.
The tawny owl nest was destroyed when the tree was felled near Leatherhead, in Surrey. Two of the seriously injured owlets died shortly afterwards and the third died several days later, despite the best efforts of staff at The Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF).
The charity is now asking anyone needing to remove a tree to have a proper survey done first. The felling of trees with nesting birds is only allowed between November and January and can result in fines of £1,000 per nest, with an extra £1,000 per bird or egg.
WAF founder Simon Cowell said: "It is a huge tragedy that these three creatures died. This is not the right time of year for tree-felling, and this is stipulated by the law.
"Our plea to everyone is not to cut down trees or hedges at this time of year at all, but if you really do need to remove a tree please make sure you get a survey done first and that you have permission from the local council to do so, and do so at the right time of year.
"This is all subject to very strict regulations, and those regulations are there for a good reason."
The WAF hospital in Leatherhead handles about 20,000 wildlife emergencies each year.