City of Arcata
ARCATA – The City of Arcata’s Environmental Services Department would like to remind the community that early bird nesting season begins on Friday, Feb. 1.
The federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal to kill or transport any migratory bird or the parts, nests or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid federal permit.
Since Humboldt Bay and its surrounding areas are home to a wide variety of bird species, it is important that community members check for active nests before trimming or removing vegetation during nesting season.
Contractors are advised to have a qualified biologist conduct nesting bird surveys prior to beginning any project that requires vegetation removal, and the Environmental Services Department has some helpful guidelines for the community to follow below.
• Early bird nesting season is from Friday, Feb. 1 to Monday, April 15. At this time, hummingbirds and birds of prey including hawks, owls, kites, eagles, vultures and falcons begin to nest. Major disturbances to vegetation, especially trees, should be avoided unless there is a thorough check for these nesting birds prior to beginning work. Weeding and mowing lawns are acceptable activities during this time
• Primary nesting season for most birds will take place from Monday, April 15 until Saturday, Aug. 31. Disturbances to vegetation should be avoided during this time unless a thorough check for nesting birds is completed prior to beginning work. Weeding and mowing lawns are still acceptable activities during this time.
• Sunday, Sept. 1 through Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, is the best time to plan for tree removal, invasive plant species management, mowing and brush clearing. Please note that a tree removal permit may be required for trees of 16 inches or more in diameter at chest height.
• To detect bird nests, watch bird behavior. If a bird is carrying nest material or food to the same place in a patch of vegetation more than once, there is likely a nest in the area. Also, look for concentrations of white droppings on the ground, then check the trees or vegetation above the droppings for a nest. Actual nest structures are typically well-concealed and may not be seen if they are located in dense vegetation.
• If a bird is observed repeatedly visiting a nest or suspected nest site, building or sitting on a nest, it is considered “active” with eggs or nestlings. If an active nest is found prior to work, avoid work in the area until the young have fledged. A 50-foot no-work buffer should be applied for song birds and a 500-foot no-work buffer should be applied for raptors.
For more information, call the Environmental Services Department at (707) 822-8184 or visit cityorarcata.org.