Home > Ask Our Experts > Can a Neighbour Shoot Birds That Fall Into My Garden?

Can a Neighbour Shoot Birds That Fall Into My Garden?

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 1 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Can A Neighbour Shoot Birds That Fall Into My Garden?


Our neighbour has been using his shotgun to shoot birds sitting in our trees. We both have 2 acre gardens in a village. He has remained on his land, but the pigeons and magpies fall dead in my garden. My children and I find it quite unpleasant to find these dead animals. Is he allowed to do this?

(C.S, 16 April 2009)


It is a criminal offence to trespass onto land belonging to other people for shooting purposes unless you have gained permission from the land owner beforehand. In this scenario, your neighbour has not actually trespassed onto your land, and does not technically need to ask your permission to shoot as a result.

Bullets Entering Private Land

However, shooters need to be aware of the fact that their bullets may come off objects and land on your property. If your neighbour is shooting at birds that are sitting in your trees, there is a definite possibility that his bullets will fall onto your land (as well as the dead birds). This is considered to be illegal if you do not give prior permission for shooting to take place on your land, as a bullet entering your private land is deemed to be much the same as trespassing. Based on this, you would have grounds to lodge a formal complaint, particularly as the dead birds are located on your land.

Shooting Birds

Although birds such as pigeons and magpies are often considered to be fair game due to their reputation as pests, it is not necessarily acceptable to shoot them unless you have authorisation to do so. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) allows certain “pest” birds to be shot under their Open General Licence, but you still need to have authorisation for this. If your neighbour does not have this authorisation, he is technically not allowed to shoot the birds, even if he is not setting foot outside of his own land while shooting.

In the UK, the 'pest' birds covered by the DEFRA Open General Licence include feral pigeons, Canada geese (not in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland), carrion crows, herring gulls, house sparrows (not in England), jackdaws, magpies, rooks, starlings (not in England) and woodpigeons. To shoot them, you must be sure that they are definitely pests, and that there is no better way to stop them from remaining as pests in the future (for example, scaring them away or proofing). Possible reasons can include spreading disease and destroying your crops.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
So, does that mean I can prosecute a shoot manager who allows shot to land in my property?
JE Hoyes - 1-Feb-13 @ 8:31 AM
I keep goats and a neighbour (not friendly) has put deer on his property. We now have the problem of them coming onto our land and one in particular is mixing with our goats.We do not have guns or licenses can we ask a friend who has to come and shoot the nuisance deer?Do you know what are our rights we need to protect our goats and I can't seem to find information anywhere? Many thanks
Cherry - 26-May-11 @ 8:30 PM
It depends on what else is around you and who owns the field. You will need authorisation before shooting - contact your local shooting club for information about what you can and can't do. You can also check out this information: Shooting rules and regs.
RuralSports - 24-May-11 @ 9:39 AM
It is a shotgun and I do have a licence.
will - 22-May-11 @ 6:14 PM
hi, i am 15 years old and live in lancashire in england and i was wondering if i could shoot in my garden, it is about half an acre, and behind it is a big field
will - 22-May-11 @ 6:12 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Mr. S
    Re: Shooting Rules and Regulations
    I have a neibour who thinks it’s ok to use a shotgun at 9.30 am on a Sunday within 50mts of my house, time the law was changed !
    24 November 2019
  • Nippy
    Re: Shooting Seasons
    Hi i live on a estate in the country side, they have many shoots going on and shot keeps coming down on us while ion the garden ,is there anything…
    13 September 2019
  • prof.LC
    Re: Types of Riding
    There are many styles of riding including english and western however my absolute definite favourite is bearback this is a style where you ride…
    2 June 2019
  • prof.LC
    Re: Types of Riding
    Horse riding is a great sport or/and fun activity for pretty much any age.
    2 June 2019
  • help
    Re: Arguments Against Hunting
    I ran over a fox in my 2002 Nissan on the way to the church so then I picked it up and give it to my cussion robbet he took it back to…
    21 May 2019
  • i am stuck in the ge
    Re: Arguments Against Hunting
    help me to decied what gender I am plz because I don't know if I am male or female
    21 May 2019
  • MrC
    Re: Shooting Rules and Regulations
    It's pretty obvious from these comments and my own experience that the law regarding shooting in the countryside needs updating.…
    7 May 2019
  • mr happy
    Re: Arguments For Hunting
    i will find all you fox hunting stuck up pricks
    29 April 2019
  • Nana
    Re: Shooting Seasons
    Is it illegal to shoot on a Sunday in scotland?
    11 November 2018
  • Jackass
    Re: Arguments For Hunting
    I’ve lived in a city all my life but I support the hunters simply because the saboteurs are such as self righteous bunch of virtue…
    10 October 2018