Coronavirus Update

Any survey work you had planned as part of a species licence application should only be undertaken where absolutely necessary following the latest social distancing guidelines from the government.

If you have further question you can contact our species team via email on

Find out more in our response to the coronavirus pandemic.

All wild birds, their nests and their eggs are protected under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). It is an offence to intentionally or recklessly:

  • Kill, injure or take any wild bird;
  • Take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird whilst that nest is in use or being built. The nests of Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle or Osprey are protected throughout the year;
  • Take or destroy an egg of any wild bird;
  • Possess any live or dead wild bird or the egg of any wild bird, or any part of a live or dead bird.

Additional protection is given to the rare birds listed in the Act where it is an offence intentionally or recklessly to:

  • 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 a Schedule 1 bird

There are several exceptions to the offences created by the Wildlife and Countryside Act, including acting under a licence.


We can grant licences for specific purposes, so that you can undertake the relevant activity without breaking the law. We recommend that you check whether your situation is covered by a general licence before applying. If not, consider the purpose of your licensing activities from these options, and complete the relevant application form.

For applications to control wild birds, you must provide detailed evidence of the problem that is occurring, or is likely to occur, which requires action to be taken. Where possible, photographic and video evidence should be provided. If you are unable to provide photographic or video evidence, you will need to provide a reason why.

Fisheries and fish-eating birds

To apply for a licence to control fish-eating birds, to prevent serious damage to fisheries, you need to complete our fish-eating birds licence application form.

Prior to making your application, you will need to collect data on the frequency of fish predation, and the number of birds involved. 

For small still waters (under 20 hectares), please collect the supporting data using the Bird Observation Log for Small Still waters. The data will need to be collected between November and February each year and must consist of 10 or more site visits dated at least three days apart.

For rivers and large still waters (over 20 hectares), please collect the supporting data using the Bird Observation Log for Riverine and Large Still waters.


We have published guidance to help you on the following topics:

End of licence report forms

It is a condition of all licences issued by us that you complete an end of licence report form within four weeks after the licence expiry date.

Bird Control - End of Licence Report Form – report form for licences to control wild birds for the purpose of conserving wild birds, conserving flora and fauna, protecting any collection of wild birds, preserving public health/safety or air safety, preventing spread of disease or preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters

Fish-eating birds – End of Licence Report Form – report form for licences to control fish-eating birds.

Birds: Report Form – report form for licences issued for scientific, research or educational purposes, or for ringing or marking wild birds or for the purpose of photography;

British Trust for Ornithology Nest Record Scheme – please submit your records to the British Trust for Ornithology.

Review of our approach to the shooting and trapping of wild birds

We are reviewing our approach to the permissions we give for the shooting and trapping of wild birds in Wales. This review includes general and specific licences.

Further advice

For further information and advice you can contact us by email, or phone us on 0300 065 3000.

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