Nesting Season Causes Frustration For Homeowner

A Bakersfield woman refuses to trim her palm trees even though the the city has ordered her to do so.

Lezlie Combs said it's nesting season and it's illegal to disturb nesting birds.

City code compliance sent a letter to Combs two weeks ago ordering her to trim all the dead fronds from her palm tree.

"They can be a danger to the public. So this is something that we enforce," said Wanda Neal, code compliance supervisor.

City officials said falling fronds can hurt people and overgrown trees can be homes for rats, but Combs said that this is the wrong time of year to be trimming trees because it could kill mating birds.

"They are making their nests now. They'll be breeding and laying their eggs and then the birds will hatch. They will become fledglings and fly away in three to four months," Combs told 23ABC.

The letter from the city stated that Combs had 12 days to get the work done or face hundreds of dollars in fines. That deadline has already passed.

Combs said she called a few different tree services and asked what workers do when they find nests while trimming.

"I asked one gentleman what happens when you climb up the tree and he said that he will discover several birds' nests and they just cut them down and they fall and die," Combs said.

Code compliance said exceptions can be made for nesting birds but only under certain circumstances.

"As long as she she provides information from the biologists that indicates what certain breed is in the trees, we have no problem giving her an extension," Neal said.

Combs said she contacted the State Fish and Game Department, but she is not sure how long it will take to get a biologist to come look at her trees.

Combs said she will not trim the trees until late summer, so the birds will have time to raise their young.

"I want them to acknowledge that springtime is not the time for notices like this. Everyone knows spring is the season for love," Combs said.

To find Birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

  • http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/RegulationsPolicies/mbta/mbtandx.html
  • Depredation Order 21.43 (Crows, Cowbirds, Grackles, Crows, Magpies)

    This lists the birds that are able to be shot without the need for a Federal Depredation Permit. The link includes the instruction and requirements of the annual report for each species taken due by Jan 31st of each year.

    http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=12a5ab5462dbdbbf71c8622463486bc4&rgn=div8&view=text&node=50:6.0.1.1.4.4.1.3&idno=50

    § 21.43 Depredation order for blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, crows and magpies. A Federal permit shall not be required to control yellow-headed redwinged, rusty, and Brewer’s blackbirds, cowbirds, all grackles, crows, and magpies, when found committing or about to commit depredations upon ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in such numbers and manner as to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance: Provided: (a) That none of the birds killed pursuant to this section, nor their plumage, shall be sold or offered for sale, but may be possessed, transported, and otherwise disposed of or utilized. (b) That any person exercising any of the privileges granted by this section shall permit at all reasonable times including during actual operations, any Federal or State game or deputy game agent, warden, protector, or other game law enforcement officer free and unrestricted access over the premises on which such operations have been or are being conducted; and shall furnish promptly to such officer whatever information he may require, concerning said operations.

    ***NON TOXIC SHOT ONLY

    Permits for NON-Depredation Order Birds

    3-200-13 Depredation Permit

    If the bird is on the 10.13 list and not covered by Order 21.43, they need to apply for a Depredation Permit. This includes getting a Form 37 from USDA-Wildlife Services. (Phone number is included). For 37 is NEEDED with a USFWS 3-200-13

    http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-13.pdf

    *** Geese would need a 3-200-13 permit***

    Canada Geese Nest and Egg Destruction

    Eggs and Nest between Mar 1 - Jun 30 - apply for an e-permit.

    https://epermits.fws.gov/eRCGR/geSI.aspx

    Adult Geese, chicks, or eggs out of season,(before Mar 1 and after Jun 30) need 3-200-13 Depredation Permit.

    Nest Destruction Policy Nests are considered active when an egg or chick is present. Nests may be destroyed, even during the building phase, provided an egg or chick is NOT present.

    http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/mbpermits/PoliciesHandbooks/MBPM-2.nest.PDF

    Birds that can be taken at any time Any Non-Native bird can be taken at any time without a permit. This includes Rock Dove (Common Pigeon) European Starlings English Sparrows

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