For those thinking of trimming their trees or bushes this spring, officials with the Peninsula Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommend waiting until fall or early winter in order to protect nesting baby birds and other wildlife.

As spring season brings baby birds and other young animals, the PHS/SPCA provided several tips for protecting nesting wildlife.

Before trimming trees or bushes, residents should ensure that there are no bird or squirrel nests and also look for rabbit holes or bird nests before mowing the lawn.

Additionally, leaving pet food outside should be avoided and trashcans should be secured with tight lids to ensure wild animals aren’t attracted. This action could prevent animals from establishing nests or dens in basements or garages, PHS/SPCA officials said.

A baby opossum is pictured at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA Wildlife Care Center. Opossums, skunks, rabbits, birds and other animals are busy raising their young this time of year, wildlife officials note. (Photo courtesy of the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA)

Homeowners should also secure all crawl spaces and air vents and pet owners should make sure dogs are on leashes.

If a baby bird or squirrel is on the ground, residents should try placing the animal back in the nest or leave it alone as mother animals will continue to protect their babies even below the nest, according to the PHS/SPCA.

The PHS/SPCA ultimately advises that it is best to leave a mother animal and her litter alone even if the litter was born in a spot that is not ideal. The mother will likely move. Closing the entrance or locking the mother out could harm the baby animals.

If the baby animal is in danger or appears abandoned, San Mateo County residents can call the PHS/SPCA Wildlife Care Center at 650-340-7022 or bring the animal to the center at 1450 Rollins Road in Burlingame.

The nonprofit animal welfare organization rehabilitates 1,200 to 1,400 animals yearly and takes care of sick or injured animals that may be refused at other shelters.