Local

March 1, 2013

Prevent nests to keep nuisance birds away

Tags:
Patti Kumazawa
412th TW Environmental Management

Baby Sage Sparrows in a nest amongst some brush.

Despite the pleasures of watching birds or hearing their songs, sometimes living in close proximity with birds can be a hassle – ravens get into trash cans, a blackbird might dive bomb the family dog and house finches may start raising their young right next to a shiny new car.

Birds frequent areas near houses, dormitories and work areas like hangars and offices – just about everywhere on base. They sometimes build nests, lay eggs and raise their young in places that pose a problem for people.

But before residents or workers try to clear birds out of home or work areas they need to know that most birds, their nests and young are protected by federal law.

However, that doesn’t mean nothing can be done. People can take action to stop a problem before it starts. But residents and facility managers need to act early – meaning before birds get a nest completed. They can block access to areas where birds may want to roost or nest. They can also remove nesting material before the nest is completed and then block access. But once a nest is complete and has eggs or young, it is too late to take action.

Nesting season may start as early as February and can last into July depending on the weather.

The key is to identify areas where birds may nest that would cause a problem and prevent birds from gaining access to those areas. This is often as simple as pruning vegetation or blocking access to a nesting site using wire mesh or a solid surface like wood.

“It’s important base residents and employees share the environment with birds because Edwards is home to over 200 species of birds, most of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act,” said biologist Mark Bratton, who works at Environmental Management.

A buffet that caters to local ravens.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 protects birds, their nests, young and eggs from being killed, moved, collected or harmed in any way without permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some of the most common birds seen near base housing and work areas are Brewer’s blackbird, the common raven, the house finch, the house sparrow, the European starling and Say’s phoebe. The most common species to nest near housing areas are Brewer’s blackbirds, house finches and European starlings. They like to nest on flat surfaces that are partially to fully secluded and high up, like on the front or back porch eaves of a house. They can also be found nesting on the tops of brick walls, in holes left uncovered, attic vents, garage rafters, lighting fixtures and many other places in and around base housing.

Ravens, owls and other raptors often nest on power poles, large trees and tall structures that offer protection from the elements. They sometimes build nests in hangars.

If base residents or facility managers do not want birds to nest in their areas, they can screen attic vents, angle flat surfaces, fill brick holes, make ledges inaccessible and prune vegetation to reduce the amount of suitable nesting habitat.

“The key to discouraging birds from nesting is to be persistent. We often remove nests that are clear of eggs or young and see the birds taking new nesting materials to a new location,” Bratton said. “That is why it is important to take measures that discourage birds from nesting prior to and during the early part of nesting season.”

It is possible to remove the beginnings of a nest as long as there are no eggs or young in the nest. Once eggs have been laid in a nest, the nest must be left alone until the nest is clear of eggs and young. The time until the young can fly away, or fledge, depends on the species and can take from a few weeks to a few months.

If people find a nest blown to the ground, they can put it back in a tree. “It’s an old wives’ tale that a mother bird will abandon her babies if the nest is touched by a human,” said Bratton. If a dead baby bird that’s fallen from a nest is found, it may be thrown away. People should always wash their hands after handling a nest or bird.

Anyone on base may call Environmental Management at (661) 277-1401 for assistance in determining whether or not the nest is active.

For a free video with ideas for bird-proofing your areas, visit the Housing Office at 402 Forbes Ave.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs October 24, 2014

M4/M9 Firing Range closure The Edwards AFB Combat Arms Firing Range is closed for M4 and M9 firing until further notice. Any required firing for PCS or deployments will temporarily be accomplished at March ARB, Calif. To schedule training, contact the Combat Arms section at 661-277-2103. It is strongly recommended that all firing be scheduled as soon...
 
 
town-hall

Edwards community holds town hall meeting

Air Force photograph by Jena Romo Col. Eric Leshinksy, 412th Mission Support Group commander, addresses the audience at a town hall meeting Oct. 15 at the Airmen and Family Readiness Center. The Edwards community gathered at th...
 
 
Instagram by Master Sgt. Sonny Cohrs

Online vigilance helps reduce risk

Instagram by Master Sgt. Sonny Cohrs The Air Force reminds us not to post information about deployment departures, locations, and on-going operations. However, even a simple photo of your family pet can reveal personal informat...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Gathering of Eagles honors 70 years of TPS

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Brig. Gen. Michael Brewer, 412th Test Wing commander, offered the closing remarks for the event, reminding the audience that fundraiser is about preparing for the future. The Flight Test Hi...
 
 
commissary

Giving ‘gift of groceries’? Think Commissary gift cards

No matter the occasion, Commissary gift cards are always available to help family members, friends and organizations give the gift of groceries. “Our gift cards are versatile,” said Randy Chandler, the Defense Commi...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Christian Turner

AFMC command chief visits with Edwards Airmen

Air Force photograph by Christian Turner Chief Master Sgt. Michael J. Warner, Air Force Materiel Command command chief, speaks to enlisted Airmen at Club Muroc Oct. 15. Warner held two enlisted calls speaking to junior Airmen i...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>