What To Do Before Trimming
It is best to avoid nesting season altogether and do your tree trimming from September through January. At any time of year, inspect the area carefully before you begin your operation.
For larger areas and sensitive habitats such as areas of native plants, dense brush, stream sides and stands of trees, it is best to hire a trained biologist to conduct the survey.
Laypersons may attempt to conduct their own nest survey; however in most cases this is not possible or practical. Most birds conceal their nests carefully and will not be visible to the average observer.
- Look on the ground for concentrations of white-colored droppings, then check the vegetation above.
- As you walk through an area, look for birds flying out of vegetation close to you and intensely scolding you; they may have a nest nearby.
- Sit quietly and watch for birds that may be bringing nest material or food repeatedly to one place. Birds tend to place their nests just on the undersides of the tree canopy and where branches join together.
When an Active Nest is Found – Reschedule!
All work that has the potential to disturb or destroy the nest should cease in the immediate vicinity. Fifty feet is a good rule of thumb for songbirds, and 500 feet for raptors. The nest should not be touched or moved.
A qualified biologist or the California Department of Fish and Wildlife can assist in making determinations on how far away to remain from the nest and other measures to avoid disturbing or destroying it. Ideally the nest should remain undisturbed until the young have fleft the nest on their own or the nest is abandoned.