In the spring and summer many species of birds will set up nests in shrubs (catbirds and common yellowthroats) and on tree limbs (robins, orioles, or vireos). Chickadees, nuthatches, or woodpeckers may be nesting in tree cavities. These nests may be hard to spot from the ground. To protect birds, wait until the fall to cut or prune trees and shrubs if possible. Birds such as house wrens, phoebes, and Carolina wrens often get creative and build nests on decks, porches, or sheds.
Fields may be habitat to ground-nesting birds, such as bobolinks or Eastern meadowlarks. They use these areas to build their nests and raise their young. You can help by doing a walkthrough before mowing, but nests may be difficult to spot. It’s best to wait until later in the summer to do your first mowing to make sure that birds have matured and can escape from mowers and tractors.
Native bird species — including their eggs or young — are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which makes it illegal to intentionally remove or destroy a nest. However, you may remove a nest with no eggs, abandoned nests, or nests of non-native and non-migratory birds, such as starlings and house sparrows. Many songbirds are done nesting in a few weeks. If you wait until chicks fly away, nests can be removed if needed.
For more information about what to do when encountering young wildlife, visit DEC’s website.
Read more about birds in New York State here.
Photo of robin in nest provided.
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