As well as my family of flycatchers nesting under the eaves, there are also two other occupied blackbird nests in the hedge between the pigs and the veg garden and another two (blue tits and a thrush) in the rather overgrown clematis on the cottage itself.
To avoid disturbing our feathered friends, the RSPB recommends not cutting hedges between March and August and obviously other larger shrubs and climbers should be considered as possible ‘maternity wards’ too. It’s not always feasible or practical to leave garden hedges get so unruly but please check for nests thoroughly before you cut your hedge.
As well as being good practice to bide by nature’s etiquette, it is also actually an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is use or being built. So, it will be an intentional act, for example, if you or your neighbour knew there was an active nest in the hedge, and still cut the hedge, damaging or destroying the nest in the process.