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Think twice about pruning and
mowing during nesting season

Oregon State University, News and Communication Services

For the birds' sake, home gardeners need to take it easy with the pruning shears and mowers in the spring and early summer.

Yards provide major nesting habitats for many nesting birds in the late winter through early summer, according to Dan Edge and John Loegering, wildlife biologists with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Resident birds, such as owls start nesting in the late winter.

"Birds of prey begin nesting in winter and their young typically do not fledge, or leave the nest until mid- to late summer," said Edge.

Migratory birds, including hummingbirds, start to come back from their winter holidays in February and usually begin nesting efforts in the early spring.

"Depending on the food supply, most songbirds will attempt to nest two, three or even more times during the nesting season," said Edge. "Birds can be nesting until mid- to late summer."

To avoid destroying bird nests and nesting habitat, Edge recommends that home gardeners consider the following:

-Wait until mid- to late summer or early fall to have trees limbed or trimmed, as dead or thick branches provide great nesting habitat.

-Hold off major pruning of shrubs until nesting season is over.

-Leave tall grass in less traveled areas for ground nesting birds. Or before you mow, carefully check for well-hidden bird nests.

"Nests are very well camouflaged," said Loegering. "The best way to tell if there are any nests is to watch for birds that flush out of the tall grass or out of a shrub. Then check the place where the bird flew from--there may be a nest."

By Carol Savonen, 541-737-3380
SOURCES: Dan Edge and John Loegering, 541-737-1953

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