Repairs to the Forth Road Bridge have been delayed after two kestrels were discovered nesting inside the end of a steel girder.
Workers discovered a nest with six eggs while repairing a section of steelwork under the road deck. Kestrels are a fully protected species, and it is illegal to damage their nests or harm the birds of prey.
Amey is carrying out the repairs, which will recommence once the chicks have flown the nest and the parents, nicknamed Mr and Mrs Younger, have left.
“When we saw the eggs, we immediately cleared the area and instructed staff to avoid carrying out any works that might disturb the nest,” said maintenance supervisor David Gill.
“I’ve heard of kestrels nesting on the bridge before, but it’s pretty unusual. You’d think they might prefer a quieter location.”
The Forth Road Bridge was closed for three weeks in 2015 after a steel truss end link fractured; repairs to the steelwork are still ongoing. An unrelated £9M contract to replace the main expansion joints on the bridge will be awarded this autumn.