Michelle Bedford photo. The American robin is one of the first North American bird species to lay eggs, and normally has two to three broods per breeding season, which lasts from April to July.

Winter tree pruning is best for nesting birds

Submitted by Warren Warttig

Special to The Record

You may not have known this, but the beginning of October to the end of February is the best time to trim your shrubs and hedges and prune your trees. This period is the least likely to disturb nesting songbirds, owls, eagles and other birds of prey.

Each year, the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) Wildlife Rescue receives dozens of little fledglings because of people pruning during the bird-nesting season (March to the end of September). Although gardening seems like a distant memory, nesting season for songbirds is quickly approaching so please reach for those pruning shears, power saws and hedge trimmers soon!

For many birds, the nest stays where it is for the duration of the nesting season (or new nests are built nearby). Parents raise their brood – sometimes watching over not just one set of babies, but often a second or third brood.

This is where problems can arise. By late spring parts of our properties are looking withered and untidy. Some of those branches are begging to be cut to make things neat and orderly. By deciding to prune too soon, whether with a noisy chainsaw or the simple snip of a branch, we can cause harm to a bird family. Depending on the kind of bird family you’re dealing with, they may flee the area for a while or dive-bomb you to protect the young or abandon the nest altogether.

A good thought to keep in mind in the spring and summer might be “Don’t prune – procrastinate!”

If you can sit back and have another lemonade and leave the pruning until fall, it’s a win-win for birds and the MARS Wildlife Rescue volunteers and staff.

The birds will thank you, and MARS will also thank you.

If procrastinating isn’t enough, here’s something to think about: it is an offence under Section 34 of B.C.’s Wildlife Act to disturb or destroy an active bird nest (also found under the federal Migratory Bird Conventions Act). So let’s make sure we give the acrobats of the skies a great start to their beautiful, winged and song-filled lives.

Warren Warttig is the president of the MARS Wildlife Rescue

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gas leak clears shopping centre in Courtenay

Fire department does not find smell source but turns up carbon monoxide traces

Federal justice minister consults with British Columbians on assisted-death law

During a coast-to-coast tour this week, federal Justice Minister David Lametti has… Continue reading

One last blast of winter tonight for the Valley before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

YANA celebrating its 30th annual Big Love Benefit Feb. 28

“The extra touches that the committee has added this year are going to knock some socks off.”

Comox’s Cooke wins Boating BC scholarship

Highland grad is currently studying in VIU’s marine mechanical tech program

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read