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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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Fall yard work...for the birds?

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chickadee on treeThe growing season may be coming to an end but it’s a great time to prepare your garden and yard for fall plantings and successful growth next year.  

It's not just what you plant, but when you do some kinds of yard work or property maintenance that can make a difference for healthy watersheds.  Our yards and gardens are great bird habitat in the city, and timing is everything to help native species like hummingbirds, chickadees and even owls thrive.  

In order to create the least disruption to nesting birds, August 1 through January 31 is the best time for disturbance of vegetation for tree pruning, hedge trimming or vegetation removal, since local birds are finished with their nesting cycle.


Be aware from February 1 – April 15 when working on your trees and shrubs, since Portland has early tree nesters such as hawks, owls, heron and hummingbirds and ground nesters such as waterfowl.  Try to get all your trimming and pruning done before this time to provide a welcome to these early nesters.  After April 15 and through July, many species are nesting so that’s a great time to focus on other yard and garden projects.

 As you plan your fall projects and dream up your healthy backyard for next year, check out these great resources:

 hummingbird nest

For information on natural pest control, composting, and how to avoid lawn and garden products that can pollute our rivers and streams, see Metro’s Natural Gardening Resources

Great discounts, tutorials and support are available from the Backyard Habitat Certification Program.  Join the thousands in the region who have created habitat and made their yards beautiful and at the same time.

Need some free expert advice about that rain garden you’ve been meaning to build or that soggy spot that needs a better plan? Join one of the free rain garden and naturescaping classes offered by East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District this fall, or get information through BES’s Clean River Rewards Program.

Visit the city’s Urban Forestry website for information about pruning trees, tree care professionals, and opportunities with the Neighborhood Tree Steward program.  Have space for a new tree? Check out these opportunities to get low-cost trees.

Environmental Services provides detailed guidance on avoiding impacts on nesting birds for city construction projects.  While specifically geared for that purpose, the guidance may be helpful to others interested in protecting native species during landscaping work.

Photos credit: Lyn Topinka

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