California Wildlife Center Blog
Life-saving tips for animals and trees!
Spring is (almost) in the air and you might be thinking about doing some tree trimming? But wait…here are some facts to consider before you proceed. The urban environment we enjoy is unique and very important to our feathered friends. Birds nest in the bushes and trees in our yards between early February and August.
Did you know?
• Hummingbird nests are active by February
• Squirrels nest two times each year, primarily in March and September
• All other species of birds begin nesting in March and continue until late August
• Cutting, trimming and pruning during Spring and Summer can lead to diseased trees and intrusion of pests that harm trees.
• According to the law: Birds and active nests are protected from harm or harassment by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. California Department of Fish & Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will issue citations and levy fines to individuals and companies that blatantly disregard the regulations.
California Wildlife Center receives hundreds of orphaned and injured babies due to tree trimming every year. Birds and squirrels are injured or killed when their nests are unintentionally destroyed by pruning trees and shrubs during the nesting season. But, with a little planning and caution, you can prevent this tragedy and help your landscape flourish at the same time!
Here are some helpful tips that can help both trees and wildlife:
• Keep trees healthy! The safest time to prune and trim is October through early January when trees are dormant…coincidentally avoiding the disruption of active nests! Proper trimming keeps trees and shrubs healthy and improves wildlife habitat
• Keep nesting birds safe! Hawk nests are large and visible, but the majority of songbird nests are small and camouflaged. Tree trimmers may not see nests until too late. Also, loud activity of tree trimming can disturb birds in surrounding trees.
• The single most important thing you can do to protect wildlife when pruning is to LOOK BEFORE YOU CUT. If you MUST trim during Spring and Summer, hire arborists, landscapers and tree trimmers who are “wildlife-friendly” -- concerned with the health of your trees and the birds that nest in them.
• If you see a new or occupied nest – simply postpone your pruning until the young are grown. Remember to check for nests in any wooded debris or in dead trees before removal as they can be prime nesting spots.
• If you disturb a nest – place it securely back in the tree or shrub that it came from. If the nest is too damaged to return, but the eggs are intact or the babies are alive, place the nest in a small box or margarine tub with holes for drainage (don’t use a berry basket as little legs could get caught in the mesh). Secure the container to the tree as close to the original location as possible. Then, watch from a distance to see if the parents return. This could take several hours – be patient.
• If the parents do not return - and the nest has babies, keep them warm, dark and quiet and contact CWC’s Animal Care Hospital at (818) 591-9453.
Also, please check out our Emergency Guidelines if you have found a:
• Baby Squirrel
• Baby Hummingbird
• Baby Songbird
Please, save a life (or two or three) and trim wisely!
Thank you for caring and being wildlife-friendly.
P.S. Interested in going that extra mile to help wildlife? Applications are now being accepted for our Volunteer Program.