As we enter the tail end of winter in most places, plenty of us may already find ourselves looking forward to spring—and as we do, there are several things we should keep in mind.
In particular, when it comes time to prune your shrubs and trees, some wildlife experts would have us remind you to keep your eyes carefully peeled, lest you accidentally destroy some eggs.
In particular, spring is when most birds reproduce, and as an old U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) reminder notes, if you aren’t careful, you may irreparably hinder that process, especially when it comes to some of the smallest eggs—such as those of some hummingbirds, which may be jelly bean size or smaller!
If you do stumble upon a hummingbird nest, the USFWS has some key tips:
- Do not disturb the nest. Hummingbirds already have an extremely high mortality rate, and they need all the help they can get.
- Let the pruning of that particular area wait. If the nest is there, it’s likely at least in part to take advantage of how the foliage or shrubbery may protect the nest from predators.
- Consider putting up a hummingbird feeder nearby for when the babies hatch!
- Do some research and you may be able to tell what hummingbird species is making your yard its home
- Do not disturb the hummingbirds. Yes, this is a point worth making twice; hummingbirds already have an extremely high mortality rate, and they need all the help they can get.
As the authorities noted in their original post,
“Hummingbird eggs are tiny, about the size of jelly beans! Please remember to carefully check for nests before you trim trees and shrubs this spring.”
Hummingbird nests are often incredibly small—as small as the size of an American quarter—and so are easily missed. The female hummingbirds build their nests using moss, leaves, and even spider webs, so they tend to be rather fragile.
So before you start weed-whacking and pruning this spring, take a careful look. You just might be able to save some baby hummingbirds by doing so!
Have you had hummingbird nests in your yard before, or do you have a hummingbird feeder? If you have great stories, we’d love to hear them!