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Local wildlife conservation groups urge residents to pause tree trimming during nesting season

Rachel Showalter

Bird nesting is in full swing across the Central Coast and local wildlife conservation groups are asking residents to limit tree trimming during the spring and summer to help prevent harm to nesting species.

Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay and the Morro Coast Audubon Society are asking people to stop trimming trees and shrubs on their properties from about March through August.

“It’s a problem that wildlife rehabilitators face everywhere," said Pacific Wildlife Care Center Director Vann Masvidal.

Masvidal said animals injured or abandoned in that process can require a lengthy rehabilitation.

“When they lop a branch off they are quite surprised to find a nest of some sort of either a baby bird or also tree squirrels are often animals that are impacted by that sort of thing,” Masvidal said.

He said Pacific Wildlife Care treated 20 animals last year as a result of untimely tree trimming.

He said, ideally, trimming should be done between October and January to avoid disturbing nests. Certified arborists agree — that’s the best time for most trees. Although trimming is still done in the spring and summer months.

“We do trees every day — multiple trees a day — you know, we really don’t come across too many situations dealing with wildlife,” said Blue Diamond Tree and Landscape Owner Eddy Wasniowski.

Though, he said, when trimmers do come across a nest, they do their best to leave it alone.

“We’re easily able to decide on other limbs to cut and have regrow and we could just nip that limb back,” Wasniowski said.

Masvidal said it’s rare that Pacific Wildlife Care gets nestlings from certified arborists. He said some tree companies even work with the nonprofit to help renest birds.

He said the biggest impacts typically come from residents just doing yard work, so the group is asking people to put a pause on that until the fall or winter.

If you do disturb a nest or come across an injured animal, call the Pacific Wildlife Care hotline at (805) 543-WILD.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.