Dying trees give life
This post begins a series I am calling We Live Here to raise awareness about wildlife habitat and how you can help maintain and preserve it.
This tree may look dead to you but to many birds it looks like an ideal place to raise their young.
It looks like home.
This particular tree is located in a gorgeous open meadow near a riverbank. If a severe storm knocks it down, it can do no harm. In fact, even on the ground it will continue to be useful in every stage of decay. Wildlife will use it for nesting, cover and even as a food source once insects, moss and lichens take up residence.
Unless dead and dying trees pose a safety hazard or compromise the beauty of the landscape, my policy is to let them stand on my property. These trees flash a kind of "vacancy" sign for birds, bats, squirrels and other wildlife seeking cover and a place to build their nests.
Leaving dead tree branches intact is another way to preserve vital habitat for wildlife. Dead branches are often used as perches and important lookouts to guard young from approaching predators or for spotting prey, such as field mice, to feed nestlings.