It's baby season! This time of year, it is so important to keep critters in mind when you're outside doing yard work. Wildlife mothers picked spots in your trees and bushes because they were safe, comfortable places to keep their babies hidden until they're old enough to fend for themselves, so here are some tips for helping Animal Mommas keep them safe until then.
If you are planning on hiring someone to trim back branches or remove a tree in your yard, always ask about what they do to prevent damage to the wildlife calling the tree or bush home. You should only hire someone who has a detailed answer about how they search for the wildlife, what they do when they find the wildlife, and what they do with the wildlife if removal is necessary. Not all tree companies even care to look, so if it important to you to keep the animals safe, it should also be important to those you hire.
If you decide to do the work yourself, always check for warning signs of a nest in your tree. The most obvious sign is when you Squirrels, Songbirds, Woodpeckers, Owls, Hawks, etc frequently in the tree or bush. If they call it home, they will certainly be in and out fairly often, especially if they have little mouths to feed. Look for areas in the tree where there is a pile of leaves bunched together, or a basket weave of branches and grasses. Holes in your tree are a wonderful place for small animals to call home, so always carefully check inside. Also look around the tree for pellets left by Owls and Hawks, and if you're ever in doubt, call a professional.
Wildlife Rehabbers are always willing to lend a hand to save the lives of these critters. You can contact your state's Game and Inland Fisheries or Natural Resources divisions for guidance, or check out your local veterinarian. Whatever you decide, please don't ever start chopping away at anything without checking first! You don't want to be the reason b=why an entire generation of squirrels didn't survive to see fall!