Now that spring is finally here, people are cleaning up their properties — trimming trees, clearing brush, tidying decks, blowing away the leaves and cobwebs of what seemed a very long winter.
Sierra Wildlife Rescue would like to remind everyone that cleaning up property, including tree trimming, brush clearing, shrub pruning, and lawn, garden and deck-tidying, can pose hazardous situations for wild neighbors. Because of the loss of natural habitat due to development, wildlife homes are more often being created in and around human habitation.
Numerous squirrel babies and many orphaned baby birds, whose nests have fallen along with branches or trees, are brought to rehabbers during the spring and summer, and those are the lucky ones. Others simply perish, sometimes orphaned by their mother’s death or flight, injured or just too young to fend for themselves. SWR recently received two gray squirrel babies, one so badly injured by the fall from her nest that she didn’t survive; the other was brought back to health by one of our experienced rehabbers.
Clean up property in a way that will avoid harming wildlife. Check carefully for bird or squirrel nests on branches and in tree hollows, or ensure that workmen do so, before trimming trees. Check under roof and deck structures, fallen trees, logs, woodpiles and outbuildings for dens or nests of other animals, to ensure they are deserted before you clean them out. Check shrubbery for nests before you prune it. If you find a nest or den, mother and babies will move on as soon as the young can travel, so wait a couple of months before taking action
Brush piles make exceptionally nice habitat for many small mammals and birds, and are safe if property is cleared around them. It will benefit your wildlife not to disturb them. However, if you feel that you need to burn them, move small portions to an adjacent site before chipping or cutting them into smaller pieces for burning, and look through them to avoid harming any small animals or birds nesting there. SWR has had in many burned baby bunnies from brush piles.
These simple efforts can save homeowners a lot of heartache from inadvertently causing harm to the numerous species of wild animals in the county. For more information on how to support your wild neighbors, or if you find an orphaned or injured wild mammal or bird, call SWR at (530) 621-4661. or visit sierrawildliferescue.org.