Urgent call is made to Lancashire's dogs owners this spring and summer

Lancashire’s dog owners are being urged to keep their pets on short leads throughout spring and summer.

By Catherine Musgrove
Friday, 6th May 2022, 12:30 pm

Lancashire Wildlife Trust has issued the call in a bid to prevent fragile bird nests on the ground from being disturbed.

Birds such as the skylark and curlew are in “worrying decline” according to the Trust, and often hide their nests in long grass.

>>>What to do if you find a baby bird on the ground

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James and Kirstie Brittain-McVey holding their dog Moochie

A spokesman said: “Too often an exuberant or inquisitive pooch, wandering or bounding through grass or heather, easily disturbs wildlife and scares adult birds off nests or tramples eggs. And vulnerable chicks can quickly perish if they are left alone for too long.”

The Trust wants leads to be used when people visit moorland, fields, urban parks and beaches.

The campaign is being supported by James Brittain-McVey, lead guitarist of The Vamps, a dog owner and ambassador for The Wildlife Trusts.

He said: “I’ve learnt, as a rescue dog owner, the importance of keeping your dog under control at all times. And at this time of year, it’s especially important to remember that we can all play our part in helping birds breed successfully by keeping dogs on short leads in wild places – especially when so many species are having such a hard time.”

James Byrne, landscapes recovery programme manager for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “Allowing dogs to run wild in nature reserves can be devastating for wildlife, particularly in spring when species are breeding and vulnerable.

"We’re asking dog walkers to be sensitive by keeping their animals on short leads, sticking to paths, and properly disposing of dog poo. Wildlife is already under enormous pressure – let's all keep dogs in check so as not to make things worse.”

Skylarks

According to the RSPB, in the preferred habitat of farmland, skylarks declined by 75 per cent between 1972 and 1996. The main cause of this decline is considered to be the widespread switch from spring to autumn-sown cereals, which has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of chicks raised each year.

Curlews

The Curlew is one of our most rapidly declining breeding bird species showing a 46 per cent decline across the UK from 1994-2010 with this figure exceeding 50 per cent in Wales and Scotland.