Here are some tips from the RSPB for cat owners who also love birds. Sometimes, as this video shows, we have to intervene more directly and have discovered that keeping a loaded water pistol handy provides a useful deterrent…Cats most enjoy hunting in the half-light of dusk and dawn so we keep ours in overnight.
Dogs love water and also love chasing birds, causing havoc and panic in the process. If you own a dog, please do not let it into the river at this time of year. Please also make sure it’s kept under control at all times and ideally kept on a lead. We had a dog bound through our garden recently and into the stream, destroying a moorhen nest and scaring lots of ducklings. There was no owner in sight and it didn’t have a collar or nametag.
If you’re taking your dog for a walk on commons
such as Greenham and Sneslmore, there are also many ground-nesting birds such as nightjars, skylarks and warblers which can easily be disturbed. Again, please make sure your dog is kept under control and if necessary on a lead.
Dog owners also need to be aware of the problem of dogs chasing sheep
. This can result in criminal prosecution.