Dead tree a preferred perch for raptors
I've been watching this old oak tree for years. It stands by itself on a hilltop along a highway I travel frequently. The weather has been hard on it in recent winters. It has lost several branches, and I'm not sure it's going to leaf out this year.
Today, when I passed by the old oak on my way home from work, several buzzards were resting in its upper branches. From the top of the tree on top of the hill, they have an unobstructed view for miles around. The lack of leaves is a plus.
I an still hoping that the tree will eventually get some leaves this year. But if it has died, I hope the landowner will leave it standing for the birds. Raptors (birds of prey), such as the turkey buzzards in the photo, enjoy perching on dead trees, and the location of this one is perfect for them.
Other users of dead trees
Cavity nesters who need dead trees include woodpeckers, bluebirds, nuthatches, chickadees, house wrens, tree swallows, screech owls and more. Birds that build nests in the branches of dead trees include eagles.
Other wildlife, such as squirrels, deer mice, weasels, raccoons, and bats, use hollows in dead trees for shelter. In fact, the Natural Resources Conservation Service states that dead trees provide homes for more than 400 types of birds, mammals, and amphibians.
Related post: Woodman, spare that (dead) tree
This article is my contribution to the 100th Festival of I and the Bird which will be published on May 14, 2009, on the Nature Blog Network's blog.