Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

By Maryanne Jackson real estate Broker CNE, CPRES.

Photo: Cooper's hawk, Freestock creative commons

March 6, 2020 (San Diego's East County)

 Dear Maryanne,

I woke up to a commotion in my driveway. I looked out and noticed tree trimmers trimming a large tree on our property with branches that grow over to the neighboring side. This tree is providing privacy and shade to me! Most important of all the tree is home for a hawk; she has a nest and babies currently in the tree.

I ran out and yelled for the tree trimmers to stop as they were climbing the tree on our side. My concern is we had not discussed this with our neighbors. Shouldn’t we have a voice in the company selected and the time of the service? We want to protect the hawks and we also want to make sure the company is licensed and bonded. What can we do now?


La Mesa, Ca.

Dear R.M.,

First thing to do is contact wildlife protection officials (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - federal, Calif. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife - state) and let them know there is a nesting hawk in the tree. All nesting birds are protected under state law and birds of prey are also protected federally. Find out what they recommend in a situation like this. I bet there are many cases like yours.

Secondly, try and discuss with your neighbor about coordinating times for tree trimming when the nest is not occupied. 

Contact the landscaping company to verify their credentials. Chances are the owner is not aware of the nest and may order his crew off the job until the nesting season is over and the hawk is clearly not there.

While the neighbor has a right to trim branches overhanging his property, he and the tree trimming crew do not have the right to enter your property or do trimming on your side of the property line without permission. You do have a duty as a property owner to be sure that your tree does not pose a hazard to your neighbor,  but you also have a legal requirement to protect the birds during nesting season.

Send real estate questions to: or call 858-740-7858

All questions are answered on a first come first serve basis.

Maryanne Jackson Real estate broker

CA. DRE# 01784021



Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.