Accidental Nest Removal and Disturbance

This time of year, migrating birds choose British Columbia’s beautiful trees and forests as a spot to lay their eggs and start their families. This beautiful journey often has challenges, one being nest removal and nest disturbance.

The removal and moving of nests from its natural habitat pose challenges for nestlings and fledglings who desperately need their parent’s support to meet their basic needs and to learn critical skills at this sensitive stage.

Nests should never be removed – It is illegal to remove a nest, and a permit from Environment Canada is required to ensure the safety of the wildlife.

A Robin’s nest that was accidentally removed.

Last year, Wildlife Rescue received over 110 birds due to accidental nest removal or disturbance. When nests fall accidentally or are unknowingly removed by humans, the chance of survival increases when action is taken quickly.

In 2019, a concerned family brought a bushtit nest to Wildlife Rescue hospital after the nest had fallen onto the ground from a large tree trunk on their front property. The family was worried that the fall might have injured the nestlings inside and called the Wildlife helpline for support. To ensure survival for these babies the nestlings needed to be reunited with their parents within 24 hours or they would have far less chance of survival on their own.

Staff helped weave the nest back together and less than 14 hours later, they brought the nest with the babies back to the exact location. Within a few minutes, the parents returned to feed their babies!

An intricately woven Bushtit nest

Tips for Helping Nesting Wildlife

  1. Protect Nests in Your Yard – Avoid trimming or mowing the lawn this time of year as many babies and parents are using this as their home to raise their young
  2. Keep a safe distance – Parents can abandon their nests when they feel threatened by humans making close contact. The scent of humans leaves a trail for predators to follow.
  3. Act Quickly: If you witness a fallen nest on the ground with babies and no parents in sight or are unsure about the circumstances call for help. The quicker the nest is placed where it belongs and the parents and babies are reunited, the higher their chances of survival.

Of course, if you see a bird that has exposed bone or blood, bugs or insects covering it, no feathers, or a bird that is sleeping, human intervention is required. Call Wildlife Rescue’s Support Centre at 604-526-7275. To help us return your call quickly, please leave your contact information and observation. We will make sure the bird is treated with the kindness and compassion it deserves!

Donating to Wildlife Rescue is another great way to contribute to the safety of ground-nesting birds. Your support will help wildlife stay wild – click here to donate.


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