Protect nesting birds while doing yard work; scare coyotes away

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Q: How do I protect nesting birds while pruning or removing trees and vegetation in my yard?

A: To protect nesting birds, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends working in your yard outside of nesting bird season, which for many bird species in California is February through August. However, nesting season can vary based on location and species of bird. In some parts of the state, birds nest year-round.

If you must work when birds could be nesting, consider hiring a consulting biologist to conduct a nesting bird survey before doing any work. If nesting birds are present, a biologist can recommend an appropriate buffer area where you can refrain from doing yardwork. You could also delay your yardwork until nesting is complete.

A killdeer in Redding protects its gravelly nest. Note the two eggs under the bird.

Many California birds nest in backyard trees, bushes and even on the ground. Nesting birds are particularly sensitive to human disturbance and may abandon their nest, eggs and/or young due to human presence and noise. Additionally, pruning or removing vegetation can inadvertently crush, destroy or remove active bird nests.

The California Fish and Game Code contains several sections outlining protections for birds, their eggs and nests.

Q: What can I do to scare aggressive coyotes away from my property? My neighbor told me it's illegal to do much of anything to haze them away.

A: A great place to start is CDFW’s Keep Me Wild: Coyotes web page at It has good information on how to prevent coyotes from being attracted to your property in the first place or view this short video about living with coyotes at

The CDFW’s goal, and an important part of our mission, is to help people and wildlife coexist. That includes native predators like coyotes.

While they can be a nuisance if humans don't take certain precautions, coyotes like this one help control rodent populations in California.

Coyotes occupy an extremely important niche in our ecosystem. They help keep rodents under control and regularly scavenge carrion/remains of dead animals, which helps keep neighborhoods clean.

In California, people can legally haze coyotes away from themselves or their property if approached. We recommend standing tall and shouting aggressively at an approaching coyote or one that is too close for comfort. Using an airhorn, whistle or shaking a can with small stones or coins can also scare a coyote away. Remember to remain calm and slowly back away from the coyote, but do not run. California does allow landowners or tenants to lethally remove coyotes that pose a risk to public safety or cause property damage, but actions must comply with all local and state laws including county or city prohibitions on the discharge of a firearm. Also see the California Code of Regulations. If there is an immediate danger to public safety, or if a coyote has bitten or scratched a human, please take whatever measures are necessary to get to a safe location and call 911.

Q: Are recreational crab traps allowed to be fished once Dungeness crab season ends?

A: The Dungeness crab recreational season closed statewide on July 30. Crab traps to take crabs other than Dungeness are allowed north of Pt. Arguello in Santa Barbara County to the Oregon state line.

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Crab trap rules that went into effect Nov. 1, 2021 still apply and can be found at

We also have some useful FAQs regarding these new crab trap rules at

Stay tuned in October for notices regarding the use of crab traps prior to the start of the 2022-2023 Dungeness crab season currently scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.

Email with questions for the CDFW.