Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Dogs Trust are urging dog owners to keep their pets on a lead during nesting season, spanning now until August.

The campaign seeks to protect ground-nesting birds, including skylarks, lapwings, meadow pipits and nightjars, as well as other birds such as robins and dunnocks that nest close to the ground.

The presence of dogs can unintentionally be disruptive, leading to birds deserting their nests and the loss of eggs or chicks.

Geoff Dobbins, Northumberland Wildlife Trust estates manager said: "I love exploring wild spaces with my dog.

"However, as a nature lover I am aware of the devastation just one dog can have on ground-nesting birds, a pond, a herd of sheep, or the excess nutrients from dog waste that enter the soil."

Dr Jenna Kiddie, head of canine behaviour at Dogs Trust, said: "When visiting rural areas, owners should keep their dogs under control and ensure they do not worry other animals or stray from the path, as well as dispose of their dog's waste appropriately.

"We would advise keeping your dog on a short lead, and close to you, especially whenever livestock are nearby. It is important to remember that chasing is normal dog behaviour, and that any dog is capable of chasing, irrelevant of breed, type, age or size.”