Birds and dead tree removal

What happens to birds that make a home in a dead tree when it’s time for that tree to be removed? Do the tree removal companies consult an arborist or someone similar? Do they even care?

We have a dead tree at work scheduled to be taken down once all the permits are set up. I see woodpeckers flitting around all the time, eating the bugs inside, so I assume there’s a nest or two. There’s also lots of sparrows, crows, blue jays and mockingbirds around that love that tree.
I’m located in Belleair, Florida.

In the U.K., you’re not allowed to disturb many nesting birds with eggs under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

Well, by the middle of July the breeding season in the Northern Hemisphere is basically over, so there might be some species raising second or third broods, but the main event is over for the majority of birds, so you needn’t worry unduly about dispossessing any baby birdies.

My starlings here in Central Illinois are already shifting out of their breeding plumage into their winter plumage.

I have no idea what the tree removal companies do; I had a sweetgum tree removed in the backyard a number of years ago, and the fact that there might be a nest with baby birds in the tree didn’t even cross my mind, let alone the tree removal guy mentioning it. I don’t think it really signifies unless you’ve got an endangered species nesting there, and AFAIK there aren’t a lot of endangered species nesting in backyard suburbia.

There are lots of blue jays, crows, mockingbirds, and woodpeckers in Florida. I wouldn’t worry about it.

Under the terms of the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty, you’re not allowed to mess with active nests.

However, note that “pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to barter, barter, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, export, import, cause to be shipped, exported, or imported, deliver for transportation, transport or cause to be transported, carry or cause to be carried, or receive for shipment, transportation, carriage, or export” does not seem to include “destroy accidentally when you took down a tree”. It’s aimed at people robbing nests for fun and profit (egg collecting in 1918 was big business, as was the collecting of bird feathers for hats), not at punishing people who inadvertently wrecked a nest when they took out their sweetgum tree.

Note that this applies only to the native species, such as jays, crows, mockingbirds, and woodpeckers; it does not apply to the house (English) sparrows or starlings.

FWIW, the Decatur Parks Department removes trees in Fairview Park at all times of the year; the fact that there might be nests doesn’t seem to faze them. Got dead limbs? Down it comes. The possibility of litigation when a tree branch falls on someone’s head during a softball game outweighs any birds’ needs for nest sites.

Did you ask the tree removal company about the issue?

Such a narrow interpretation of the law would make harvesting timber in the forest illegal, would it not? I seriously doubt if lumberjacks account for every nest in every tree as they clearcut 50 acres of forest.

The possibility for liability is exactly the reason my company is removing the tree. It’s location is very close to where clients enter and leave.

I’ve asked the person responisble for acquiring the permits about the possibility of nests, but she wasn’t sure what the process was. If I can, I’ll ask when someone comes to chop it down.

The reason I ask is because Belleair is a (informal) bird sanctuary - signs are all over the place stating this. Seems reasonable that someone contracted to remove one tree on a small bit of property would check for nests. I was curious about the method used. Thanks for the info.

We have had a house being built/remodeled/lain fallow immediately behind us for the past 4 years.

At an early stage we learned they were going to cut down several trees, one of which had an active red-bellied woodpecker nest at the time. Anyone with ears could clearly hear the chicks chirping. We informed the builder, the village, and what relevant state offices we could identify. The cumulative response - nothing. The jerks simply cut down the tree, and no one said boo to them about it.

The good news is they cut the limb with the nest in it off in one big piece, and you could still hear at least a couple of chicks alive in there. Before they came back with the chipper, we picked up that branch and stood it up against the fence inside of our yard. The parents resumed feeding the chicks until they were old enough to leave the nest.