Birds Directive

The Birds Directive (79/409/EEG) as well as its amending acts aims to:

• Protect, manage and regulate all bird species naturally living in the wild within the European territory of the Member States, including the eggs of these birds, their nests and their habitats;

• Regulate the exploitation of these species.

The Member States must also conserve, maintain or restore the biotopes and habitats of these birds. Special measures for the protection of habitats are adopted for certain bird species identified by the Directives (in the so-called Annex I) and migratory species. In the beginning, the Annex I consisted of 74 species, but the number of bird species on the list increased over the years to 175. In order preserve all naturally living birds in the wild and the list of special birds, the member states are obliged to realise sufficient different and large enough habitats. The Member States shall create protection zones and take care of maintenance and spatial planning inside and outside these zones, which equals the ecological demands of the habitats.

It is prohibited:

• To deliberately kill or capture the bird species covered by the Directives.

• To destroy, damage or collect their nests and eggs;

• To disturb them deliberately;

• To sale, transport for sale, detention for sale and offering for sale of live and dead birds or of any part of a bird or any product produced from it.

The Member States must encourage research and activities conducive to the protection, management and exploitation of the bird species covered by the Directives (Fig. 5.1).

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