Page last updated at 18:44 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 19:44 UK

Dog lead threat to amorous birds

Dog walkers in Berkshire have been asked to keep their pets on leads to help protect amorous birds and their unborn offspring.

Nesting birds on Greenham Common are easily scared by roaming dogs and often fly away until the threat has passed.

This leaves their eggs at risk from predators or to go cold and not hatch.

A team of wardens will be on the common until the end of July, when the breeding period finishes, to offer advice to dog owners.

Paul Hendry, from West Berkshire Council, said: "Dogs by their very nature... are running about and will disturb what is on the ground.

"That causes the birds to fly and it is possible the eggs will become cold and not hatch."

Jacky Akam, from the local Wildlife Trust, added: "We are just trying to help people understand just how vulnerable they are.

"If they can help by keeping their dogs on a lead until the end of July then we will continue to have a fabulous area for nesting birds."

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