Safe Nesting Practices
Many bird species prefer to nest in chimneys, cavities in trees, eavestroughs, undisturbed brush piles, and old out buildings as these sheltered and protected areas are perfect spots to raise baby birds. Many times, we only notice this usage in spring and early summer due to increased flight activity, calling, and yes - the waste.
Some of these nesting places chosen by birds may be undesirable, or even dangerous to us. Birds that are nesting and blocking chimneys could prohibit safe ventilation, birds nesting in eavestroughs could cause water and ice damming in the winter, etc.
Fortunately, most birds fledge within a few weeks, and it is usually best (unless posing an immediate safety risk) to wait until the nest is empty rather than trying to relocate the family as this usually leads to abandonment and death of the baby birds.
We all want to do our part to increase bird habitat, and this does mean that we need to be vigilant about monitoring these unsafe nesting places during the breeding season and taking steps in the non-breeding season to render them secure from future use.
This can be true if you are felling or pruning a tree/shrub. It is very important to do a thorough check of the tree/shrub for nesting activity, or even better, do all scheduled pruning and felling in late winter when the risks for disturbing wildlife is at their lowest!
During your fall cleanup/winter preparation, consider the following:
Secure openings and cap chimneys to prevent entry. Capping a chimney will prevent many species of wildlife from roosting or denning in your chimney, like bats, starlings, sparrows, owls, squirrels, wood ducks, and raccoons.
Check chimneys before cleaning and lighting.
Check vent and soffit covers are secure.
Inspect trees, branches and shrubs before felling, removing or burning brush piles.
Clean and remove any nests in undesirable places (eavestroughs) and secure with mesh or other exclusion products to prevent re-nesting in the same area.
Clean out old nests from bird boxes in preparation for next spring!