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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Red-bellied Woodpecker excavating a nest in a dead tree

We recently had a violent thunderstorm (seems they are getting more frequent here, in NH) and lightening struck one of our big pine trees. We have to have it taken down, so an arborist/tree-cutting service came out to talk to us about having some tree work done. Near the lightening struck tree was a tall dead pine. He asked us if we wanted that taken down too. Our answer was no! It provides homes and feeding spots for woodpeckers. We decided to just trim some of the scrubby dead branches near the top of the dead tree and leave the bulk of the trunk.

It will make lovely condominiums for many birds. First, woodpeckers will live in it. They're called primary cavity nesters, because they excavate their own nest holes and are first to live in them. Then will come the secondary cavity nesters, such as titmice, nuthatches, bluebirds and Tree Swallows, who do not construct their own nests, but rely on the primary cavity nesters (or you putting up bird houses) to get a home.

If you want to attract more birds to your property, leave up, whenever possible, dead trees. They are a goldmine for the birds.

Photo © Lillian Stokes, 2007

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We have 3 dead oak trees that need to be taken down. It's really very sad, as they are large, mature trees, but 2 years in a row with major caterpillar infestations killed many of the old oaks in our neighborhood.

Maybe we can leave some part of the trunks to accommodate the cavity nesters... as long as it's safe. And maybe it'll save us some money too! I'll have to keep this in mind as we seek cost estimates from tree service companies.