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Habitat Protection & Tree Trimming Resource Packet
Section I - Response Instructions

Section I - Instructions for Nesting Birds: Disturbance Responses
(What we can do when a call or communication is received about a nest disturbance incident)
Commonly Asked Questions and Answers to Nesting Bird Issues
Q. How do I learn what to do about nesting bird issues?
  A. Read the Urban Sanctuaries Book thoroughly.
Q. What does the law say about destroying bird nests?

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the CA fish and Game Code both prohibit anyone from harassing, harming, or killing any native North American bird (except those excluded as game birds) and prohibits destroying or collecting eggs. Essentially they protect almost all active nests from being disturbed or destroyed.
Q. What is an active nest?
  A. A nest is usually considered "active" when it contains viable eggs or chicks.
Q. Can a person destroy an inactive nest?

Yes, for instance, a homeowner can wash down a swallow's nest when it is not nesting season, and in some cities, anytime before the swallows lay eggs. However, it may require permission f rom DFG or proof that the nest is inactive.
Q. Are there times when the law allows an "active" nest to be destroyed or disturbed?

Yes, active nest destruction can occur with permitts such as in cases of public safety. Also, disturbances can occur when birds nest in areas with existing/ongoing disturbances — such as over a highway or bridge.
Q. What is the best way to stop someone from destroying an active nest?
  A. • Take lots of pictures.
    • Ask them directly to stop—threaten to call the Dept. of Fish & Game, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Coastal Commission, Audubon, local animal control, and/or the Press.
    • Hand out info from the Urban Sanctuaries Packet/Book
    • Follow through on the threat(s) if necessary.
Q. Where do I find the contacts for DFG, USFWS, and so on?
  A. In this Tree Trimming packet (see bottom of first page)


Sea & Sage Audubon Society
PO Box 5447 • Irvine, CA 92616 • 949-261-7963