Sunday, 30 November 2014

We Have A Snag

In February 2014, a pileated woodpecker started pecking holes in one of our towering pine trees.  This was not the first time a pileated woodpecker had done this.  The same tree was visited two years prior. 

Our Pileated Woodpecker

For a few weeks we watched as the woodpecker tirelessly pecked holes in the tree.

Pecking a Hole

Watching The Woodpecker - February 2014

The wood pieces became souvenirs for the children.

Collecting Wood Pieces

We watched as the hole grew bigger.  When the woodpecker was finished, the hole resembled an oval. 

The Finished Hole

We did some research and discovered that oval holes are nest cavities and small round holes are feeding cavities.  You can see both in the photographs.  We became very excited and waited for the spring.  Perhaps the woodpecker and his mate would come back and lay their eggs in our tree.

We waited and waited, but the woodpecker did not come back.  As winter turned to spring, we became worried about our tree and consulted an arborist.  Unfortunately, the ice storm of December 2013 coupled with the holes pecked by the woodpecker had compromised the structure of the tree. It would have to come down.

In May 2014, the tree was cut.  

Cutting Down the Tree

After reading an article in the June 2008 Cottage Life magazine called Welcome to Dead Wood, we decided to save the lower portion of the trunk.  Our decaying tree is now known as a snag.  

Our snag in progress.

If you have ever gone for a walk in the woods, you will have come across a snag.  These decaying trees provide homes and food for a variety of insects, birds and mammals.   As we watch the fields and woodlots in our community become subdivisions, the wildlife that live here are losing their homes. Where will they go?

A Weathered Snag in A Forest

Our snag is receiving lots of visitors.  We have seen small birds enjoying our snag.  Our little red squirrel is also making use of our snag. 

What's in the snag?

In the fall, our little red squirrel began storing pinecones in the snag.  I hope he remembers where they are this winter.

Pincecones In Our Snag

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