Specially protected birds
The species listed at the bottom of this page are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and the Wildlife (NI) order of 1985. This means that it is an offence to intentionally disturb these birds whilst they are building a nest, or in, on or near a nest containing eggs or young; or to disturb dependent young even if not in the nest.
If you wish to visit the nest of a Schedule 1 species, you must first obtain a Schedule 1 Licence. A Schedule 1 Licence is issued for a specific purpose, such as bird ringing, and must be renewed annually. Normally a licence will only cover certain species in certain geographic areas, which the licence holder will have specified in their application.
How to get a licence
If you are planning to visit nests of Schedule 1 species as part of a BTO survey, such as ringing or nest recording, you can apply directly to the BTO for a Schedule 1 Licence. But if you require a Schedule 1 Licence for any other purpose, such as wildlife photography, you must apply to the country agency for the area in question. Please see this web-page for obtaining a licence from Natural England.
Applying to the BTO for a new licence
If you have not applied for a Schedule 1 licence before, please contact the BTO's Licensing Officer, jez [dot] blackburn [at] bto [dot] org (subject: Request%20for%20more%20information%20about%20Schedule%201, amp, body: stuff%20stuff%20stuff%20stuff%20stuff%20stuff%0Astuff%20stuff%20stuff%20stuff%20stuff%20) (Jez Blackburn), to discuss your circumstances and obtain an application form. Applying for a Schedule 1 Licence involves completing a paper application form and providing two references from known ornithologists (e.g. a County Recorder, a BTO Regional Representative, a Bird Club Chairman, a BTO Ringer etc).
Renewing a Schedule 1 Licence
Please contact the BTO's Licensing Officer, jez [dot] blackburn [at] bto [dot] org (subject: Request%20for%20more%20information%20about%20Schedule%201) (Jez Blackburn), for an application form and a Schedule 1 Report Form, which is a report of any activities you undertook with your previous licence. Both must be submitted to the licensing officer for a renewal to be issued. Please note that applications should be received before the end of February to be given priority for renewal for the same year. No renewal can be granted until a report has been submitted (including nil returns) for the previous season.
Schedule 1 species list
Capercaillie (in Scotland)
Divers (all species)
Harriers (all species)
Little Ringed Plover
Crossbills (all species)