RSPB Nene Washes Nature Reserve, reintroducing the Corncrake Crex crex to the reserve, Cambridgeshire


There are some exceptions to the offences created by the Wildlife and Countryside Act.


The most notable exceptions to the Wildlife and Countryside Act include:

  • An authorised person (eg a landowner or occupier) may kill or take, in certain situations and by certain methods, so called 'pest species' and destroy or take the nest or eggs of such a bird. This is permissible under the terms of General Licences issues by government departments (see Licences). 
  • It is not illegal to destroy a nest, egg or bird if it can be shown that the act was the incidental result of a lawful operation which could not reasonably have been avoided.
  • A person may kill or injure a wild bird, other than one included on Schedule 1, if they can show, subject to a number of specific conditions, that their action was necessary to preserve public health or air safety, prevent spread of disease, or prevent serious damage to livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, or fisheries (contact Defra for more information). 
  • A person may take or kill (or injure in attempting to kill) a bird listed on Schedule 2, Part I, outside the close season (see Schedules). 
  • A person may take a wild bird if the bird has been injured other than by their own hand and their sole purpose is to tend it and then release it when no longer disabled. These provisions enable people to care for sick, injured or orphaned birds. Additionally, a wild bird may be killed if it is so seriously disabled as to be beyond recovery. Sick and injured birds listed on Schedule 4 should be registered with Defra.
Nest & eggs of Cirl bunting Emberiza cirlus. RSPB Cirl Bunting Project. Devon,

How you can help

Poisoned bird of prey

Have you seen a crime against a wild bird? Use this form to report a wildlife crime to us.