IT is quite a coo for bird lovers, but contractors on the new central library have had their feathers ruffled over a delay that could stretch to more than a month.

Work on the £10m building has been halted after a collared dove, one of the most common birds in Britain, was found to have made its nest in some rafters.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, a nesting bird cannot knowingly be disturbed.

Depending on how far into the nesting process the bird is, building around the nesting area could be delayed for up to 35 days.

On March 7 the main contractor on the building site stumbled upon the collared dove, which had made its nest, and laid eggs, in the rafters on the Town Hall side of the building in Regent Circus.

Project manager Chris Green said: "A lot of people have said to me - why don't you just shoo it away?

"But, I don't think that's the right thing to do. We have a contingency plan and this will use up a good deal of that plan.

"But I'm still confident that we can meet our planned opening date."

Derek Lyford, group leader of the North Wiltshire RSPB, said: "I think these builders have been extremely unlucky.

"The collared dove is a multi-breed bird, which means that under the right conditions it can breed at any point during the year.

"Obviously it's very good to see bird protection being taken seriously. But in this case it does seem that the law is a bit of an ass."

Yesterday it was revealed that a £12m road scheme in Notting-hamshire had been delayed by seven months, at a cost of £1.2m, after a ringed plover was found to be rearing its young there.

The difference is that the ringed plover is a schedule one protected species while the collared dove is one of the most common birds in our gardens.

Coun Justin Tomlinson, Swindon Council cabinet member for leisure, culture and recreation said: "We always knew this building would be popular with local residents.

"We had not taken into account the local wildlife too.

"Thankfully this won't cause a major problem, but obviously for the next few weeks we will have to work around the collared dove."

The library project is predicted to open in the autumn of this year.

The temporary library is currently located at the Paramount Building.