Ode to a Dead Tree

Ode To A Dead Tree
From Laura Jorden

In the Pleasure of Dead Trees, Justin Isherwood describes  the ongoing contributions of a tree to its habitat after its own life is over. “There is nothing so alive and abundant in nature as a dead tree. It reminds me of a frat house; over crowded, unkempt and prone to late night parties, not to mention the local cops know the address by heart. A dead tree I have learned is better to watch than a live tree.  If you want art and drama in the front yard, all the passion and pathos of ruined civilizations, tend a dead tree.

Dying trees are full of drama and are alive until they finally become mulch in the ground because nature has a way of putting everything to use. Cavities become hollowed out by deer mice, insects, squirrels and woodpeckers. These cavities then become homes for all sorts of other birds.

Trees can be a source of childhood memories.   I remember growing up with a 200+ year old white oak tree in my backyard.  When I was youngster it was the biggest thing I had ever seen. Even today I have not had the privilege to see a larger tree. I loved that tree and the squirrels and owls that lived inside it. I remember when my father built a huge box around it to protect it from the mower blades constantly hitting the huge roots. When the house sold the first thing the new owners did was cut the old tree down.

It seems to me that whenever people move into an area, down come the trees only to be displaced by an ever demanding lawn.  When all the rose bushes and elderberries and mulberries have been removed, flowers and non-native bushes and plants take their place. Lawns are fertilized,  silently  growing and waiting for the lawn mowers to keep them trimmed to perfection.

If you love birds and nature be open to looking at things differently.   Consider not using chemicals and let a few old trees end their days with you.

Well that’s my plea for dead trees and for homes for our feathered friends.  Every spring we send out a message to not cut down trees down in the spring. We are constantly receiving calls about downed baby squirrels, baby birds, and baby owls that have been displaced by tree cutting.  If, for safety reasons you must remove a tree, please consider putting up a nest box in its place to ensure that returning birds will have a home.

Here are just a few of the many cavity dwelling birds in our area:

Tree Swallows Wrens Warblers Great Horned Owls BarredOwls
Chickadees Nuthatches Screech Owls Wood ducks Flickers
Bluebirds Barn Owls Mergansers Woodpeckers