this mother hummingbird and her well camouflaged nest.

This mother hummingbird and her well-camouflaged nest so they can be missed, even by the most careful inspection. (Photos submitted by Cindy Kamler)

It’s almost springtime in the Eastern Sierra.  As you read this, birds, squirrels and other animals are nesting and preparing for their newborn and newly-hatched babies in your trees, shrubs and hedges. Every spring and summer, hundreds of baby animals are injured and orphaned, many of them victims of tree-trimming and pruning accidents. Sometimes we can return them to their nest or an artificial nest. Others can be be reunited with their parents.  The injured are treated. Wildcare is trained and ready to help.

ALWAYS be nest-aware when pruning and trimming! Animals will be using your trees, bushes, shrubs and hedges as a nursery until late October!

Most wild animals have their first brood of babies in the spring, between March and June. However, our erratic winter has led many birds and mammals to nest much earlier. At Keough’s, a pair of Common Ravens have been on their nest for more than 4 weeks. Their eggs are most likely already hatched! Yesterday, a friend who was tree pruning, just barely avoided a disaster when he spotted a hummingbird nest that contained one egg! (Mom eventually lays two.)

These young cottontail rabbits are well well hidden and could all too easily fall victim to a lawn mower.

These young cottontail rabbits are well-well hidden and could all too easily fall victim to a lawn mower.

Continue to be aware as spring arrives.  Nests are camouflaged intentionally, so they can be missed, even by the most careful inspection. Many species will have a second brood in July or August if food supplies are sufficient, meaning that “baby season” often stretches into October in many areas.  It really is best to avoid trimming and pruning between March and October.

Other wild animals nest, den or burrow in brush, grass, stumps or rock piles. Some birds, such as the California Quail, nest on the ground. Tree squirrels nest in leafy clumps in trees. Cottontail rabbits and jack rabbits nest in grassy areas;  ground squirrels in firewood piles or downed trees.

As residents of the Eastern Sierra, we share our sky and ponds, forests, fields and desert, canals and lakes with a wide variety of wild brothers. These animals decorate our skies and please us with their songs. Importantly, they all–predators and prey–strive to keep nature’s balance. We can help them or harm them. Let’s help them. Call Wildcare Eastern Sierra at 760-872-1487 for help or advice.

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