Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fell 'em in Fall!

Perhaps it's the unseasonably warm late September weather or the fact that WINC successfullly hosted another WILD Golf outing on Tuesday, but this week has been unexpectedly busy for many of us causing this blog post to be late; although very timely. Hope you enjoy!

After a long, cold winter, Wisconsin natives are antsy to get outdoors once spring rolls around; both the furred, feathered and human varieties! Often, homeowners want to start spring clean-up activities in the yard. This sometimes includes cutting down unwanted or dead trees. However, spring is the worst time of the year to cut or remove trees, at least for your wild neighbors. Great Horned Owls start nesting as early as January, often in old hawk or crow nests built in numerous types of trees. As the spring progresses, tree squirrels, raccoons, and many bird species build their nests and raise their young in trees. Cutting down trees in the spring can result in any number of negative outcomes for the animals that call those trees home. Nests can be destroyed, and animals can be displaced, injured, or even killed in the process.

Dead trees (called snags) provide important habitat for many species of wildlife. Woodpeckers often use snags as a source of their insect diet. They also drill holes (cavities) in live and dead trees which they use for nesting. The cavities that they create are important nest sites for a number of other cavity-nesting species that don’t have the ability to make holes in trees; these include chickadees, bluebirds, and kestrels. Snags also provide den sites (both nesting and wintering) for many mammal species. Squirrels, raccoons, and even bears use snags for dens.

If a dead tree is not posing a threat to your home or other buildings, consider leaving it, or only cutting off the most dangerous branches. If you DO need to cut down a dead or unwanted tree, do it in the fall - right now - well after the nesting season is done and before most mammals begin using trees for winter dens. So remember, if you can’t leave it, don’t fell it ‘til fall! You can contact the Center with any questions you may have regarding wildlife in your yard.

No comments:

Post a Comment