CAVE CREEK, AZ- This time of year, love is in the air for many birds that call the Valley home, but pruning your palms can interrupt the circle of life. 

Tucked away in Cave Creek is a sanctuary for birds of prey. 

"[I] fell in love with barn owls-- that's kind of what started us," said Bob Fox, the executive director of Wild At Heart. "One thing led to 300 and here we are."

[WATCH: Trimming palm trees in Phoenix area could kill nesting birds]

The birds he considers his babies are hatching their own this time of year. He told us that many choose palm trees to begin their families because of the cover.

"Songbirds, doves, reds, etc.-- on lower branches. Screech owls-- a little higher. Barn owls-- above that," Fox said.

But when they're trimmed, it's possible the family tree will go down too.

"We've literally had situations where they'll take a whole skirt down and, literally, the babies will be crushed in that," Fox said. "Broken legs, broken wings. It's very, very sad."

But you have to be careful. If you let the palm trees get overgrown, you could attract other creatures. 

"Scorpions, crickets. Depending on if you have a lot of moisture, earwigs at the bottom, springtail," said Eric Papadeus with Pest'R Us Exterminating. Even so, he said he's waiting to trim his palms until September because they contain a special delivery.

"If you look up here, you see a darker nest up here, which we do not touch," Papadeus said. He and Fox agree -- if your palms are overgrown and in need of a trim, check first to make sure you're not disrupting an entire family unit.

"They're really, really valuable and important to our ecology," Fox said.

Award-winning journalist Lindsey Reiser is a regular contributor in the evenings on CBS 5 News at 10 p.m.

Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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(2) comments


The palms need to be pruned regardless of who or what is living in them. A palm tree farm that had been abandoned went up in flames near my house a few years ago - practically took out the whole block. Birds will survive elsewhere.


Pruning tress could disrupt nests? Ah gee, that's too bad. The birds will have to rebuild somewhere else, we want our trees looking nice.

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