Don’t forget about the trees this spring

May 2nd, 2012 · by Garrison Frost

When we talk about spring migration, obviously we talk a lot about birds. So sometimes we forget to mention another key participant – trees. For many of the birds coming to California to breed – the orioles, warblers, hawks, and many others – trees are an essential ingredient to survival and success in the spring. That is why we tell people that spring is the absolute worst time to do tree trimming. The reason should be obvious. This is when birds are nesting and young birds are unable to flee. If you do your trimming in the fall, it won’t be such a problem. Another thing to consider is that often dead trees are as important to an ecosystem as live ones. In some cases, a dead tree can even host more life. A whole variety of birds — such as woodpeckers, owls, and hawks – use dead trees, or snags, for nesting, food storage, insect hunting, roosting or perching. So, don’t forget about your trees this spring. (photo by Andrea Jones)

Categories: Audubon at Home · Audubon California · Bird videos · Landowner Stewardship · Pacific Flyway · Pacific Migration · spring migration

2 Comments so far ↓

  • MG

    Wish Audubon could get this “do tree trimming early” message across to the City of Los Angeles Fire Dept and other city agencies. Brush clearance has been going on for the past several weeks as homeowners had to meet the May 1 deadline. This means lots of Laurel Sumac and various other crucial native and non-native shrubs and trees have been trimmed right at the start of nesting season for both early migrators and for local endemics. Around here, California and Spotted Towhees, Titmice, Juncoes, Band Tails, etc. start nesting a bit earlier than migrators. And this crucial habitat is chopped down to meet LAFD regulations. Can Audubon convince LAFD to set an earlier date for Brush Clearance?

  • Sharon Beals

    And the importance of trees native to your local habitat, as well as shrubs and plants and grasses, can’t be overstated. Ninety-five percent of birds are,or become, insectivores, especially during nesting season, feeding these protein sources to their growing young (even hummingbirds need them). Not many insects have been living in tandem with non-native plants long enough to have developed the anti-bodies to the toxins that all plants put out so they won’t be eaten. There are exceptions of course, but you can’t go wrong with native plants, for the insects and the birds.
    Read Douglas Tallamy’s “Bringing Nature Home”.