All wild birds in Scotland are given protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). Some more rare, threatened or vulnerable species, such as Schedule 1 species are given extra protection, eg against disturbance during the breeding season or protection of nests all year round.
Bird breeding season is normally April to August when all birds and nests are protected. Surveys should take place ahead of works to prevent delays if breeding birds are found. Timing depends on the species present for example geese require winter surveys and divers require spring/summer surveys.
Licences are only required where actions might otherwise constitute an offence. SNH issue licenses which permit certain actions where wild birds may be a threat to public health or safety or there is an overriding public economic and social concern. There must be no satisfactory alternative.