Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come. ~Chinese proverb
You may remember last year I wrote about the plight of our ash trees. It was just about this time, in early spring, that we were saying goodbye to 4 of our mature ash trees as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was bearing down on us. As a precaution we were advised to start getting rid of our healthy trees before they became infected. So first we took 20 feet off the top of the biggest tree as it was already invaded by carpenter ants, and we didn’t want it to come crashing down on us. It was more stable without the top. And we were told it would eventually die. Then the other 4 trees were felled to stumps and one snag.
This winter I was preparing myself for the loss of our canopy as we were to cut the remaining 4 ash trees down leaving mostly snags and 2 good-sized silver maples that had been dwarfed by the ash trees around them. Then I read an article that saved me, and our trees for now. This study had found woodpeckers were slowing the spread of EAB.
Since we have begun our wildlife garden, thankfully, we see more and more woodpeckers. The latest is pictured at the top of the post, the red-bellied woodpecker. And daily we have downy and hairy woodpeckers along with nuthatches (pictures above) and Northern Flickers. So we have decided to throw caution to the wind, and leave the remaining ash trees where they are. If they become infected we will cut them down to snags. But we are counting on our woodpeckers to help us.
And I think the critters who visit are going to be happy with our choice. For now they still can enjoy the trees, and in particular they love the biggest one, our “beheaded” white ash. It has lived the longest and continues to give back to nature as food, oxygen, shelter and a perch.
You can see the black squirrel, who visits, loves to sit and watch the goings on in the garden. And numerous birds depend on the sturdy branches for rest or a prime spot to spot their next meal. The bluebirds have been sitting and sunning themselves since this fall braving this cold winter while many other birds are enjoying the view from the new platform at the top of the tree.
This spring, I have been enjoying our newly arrived birds. The sun rises on this majestic ash, and I think that is one reason you will see robins singing and greeting the morning light from their special perch.
And now a new visitor (below) has joined us here although I may be the only one who was excited to see him. If you look carefully under his feet, I think he found a meal. Perhaps a house sparrow or a junco. It’s a Cooper’s hawk. And these are but a few of the many critters who enjoy this special tree.
“And the tree was happy.”
― Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree
© 2014, Donna Donabella. All rights reserved. This article is the property of BeautifulWildlifeGarden.com We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.