When people come here and step outside, I see them gaze at the massive, tall White Pines that inhabit the surrounding woods. Generally, it is later on in the conversation that they inevitably mention the tree in front of those on the East side. Then comes... "why don't you get rid of that ugly dead one?"
That's when I explain that the cedar, number one, isn't dead. If they looked carefully, there is new growth at the tippy top ever since we saved it from the invasive Bittersweet Vine, known in my book as the Connecticut strangler. (see the cut end in the far right corner...that's how thick the vines were!)
Usually that's when they make a face, as if to say "who cares if it has new growth, it's ugly...just get rid of it." Meanwhile, I just continue on...
"So we saved it and besides it provides habitat for them. Go ahead, ask me WHO?"
By that time, I'm really on a roll.
"Do you know that dead wood, whether it be a snag (a dead tree), logs that have fallen to the ground, or a brush pile all provide habitat for birds...for many small mammals?"
When you remove "snags", those little Caroline Wrens, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Creepers, and Eastern Bluebirds to name a few may be left homeless along with the countless tiny critters that we don't see come to our feeders.
It's the old food chain theory. Remember that from grammar school? Well, it's right in your yard...an everyday occurrence..and they need food, shelter, water and a place to live. It's their world too!
And yes, there are ways to build and construct snags and brush piles. YIKES...who knew that? However, I was fortunate in being referred to this DEEP website which has tons of links (thanks to my Great Mountain Forest getaway and that super smart gal...the one I call Nancy).
So, the next time you want to burn a brush pile so your yard is neat and tidy, think of the birds that could hide there...or the Eastern Cottontails or the Red Squirrels that could use it when being pursued by the hungry hawk...or the shelter it provides during the winter months.
|Messy to Me but HOME to Them|
And the next time you want to mow your entire yard and fashion it after a golf course, think of how those taller patches that provide food and cover for the local wildlife, regardless of how small or large.
For instance, I finally convinced the Pres to mow only a strip along the gravel road, and let the adjacent patch grow up with it's Milkweed, Goldenrod and other native wildflowers.
One of my many endeavors over the next few years will be to improve the wildlife habitat in our little niche.
Sharing the learnings with you and those at
but my space with them because
it's their world too!