Question: When is the best time of year to trim or cut down trees in my yard?
The Puget Sound region is home to a wide array of wildlife species, many of whom make their homes in the forests, and single trees in the region. Trees and forests provide critical habitat, cover and nesting sites to these many wild species, from cavity nesting owls, woodpeckers, and native squirrels, to bat dens in tree hollows and a multitude of birds whose amazing nests grace thick limbs and tiny branches alike.
February through September are the most active nesting months for Washington wildlife, when trees will be teaming with life. Please be aware that pruning or cutting down trees during these months can and does displace, harm or even kill a variety of wildlife species.
PAWS Wildlife Center receives hundreds of baby wild animals each year, many of which are displaced when their nest tree is cut down or their nest site is destroyed.
Before cutting down any tree, whether alive or dead, please consider the following information to prevent unnecessary loss of habitat.
- Plan tree-cutting projects between November and January, well after nesting season is over.
- Inspect the tree for active nests before beginning any work.
- Consider cutting just the bare minimum of branches, leaving the nest section alone.
- Standing dead trees (snags) are great wildlife habitats, often housing several different species. Please consider leaving them standing. If the tree does not present a hazard, the best course of action may be to leave it alone, as all trees provide some form of habitat for wild creatures.
- Many wildlife species are federally protected and the law prohibits destroying and/or disturbing their nests.
- If a nest-bearing tree absolutely must be cut down, first call the PAWS Wildlife Center at 425.412.4040 to find out what steps to take.