As spring approaches, the California Wildlife Center warns that tree trimming could leave some young critters orphaned, and locals should wait to do landscaping.
Starting as early as February, many bird nests are active and other animals might be using neighborhood trees as a nursery, according to the center. Landscaping could disturb or harm these animals, causing them to flee nests and abandon the young.
"A huge percentage of the baby animals come to us as a direct result of being orphaned due to tree trimming," said Cindy Reyes, executive director of the California Wildlife Center. "There are techniques you could use to get a baby squirrel back with their mother even if the tree or nest has been destroyed, but normally the parents get so freaked out by the tree trimming process that they don't return."
The wildlife center encourages pruning and trimming trees in October through early January, when trees are dormant. Plus, always look for nests before you start working on a tree. After all, disturbing an active nest is against federal law, according to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
"The nests of migratory birds are protected, so if there is a nest in the tree, the federal law prohibits individuals from blatantly cutting down the nest with eggs or babies in it on purpose," Reyes said. "Now people do it accidentally and that's often the case of tree trimming."