[Tweeters] poor woodpeckers

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Thu Sep 27 10:07:04 PDT 2007

I just heard today's BirdNote on woodpeckers, fun listening as  
always. Then I came home to see that the neighbors behind us, at the  
lip of the Thornton Creek ravine, were cutting off ALL the dead wood  
on the bigleaf maples behind their house, all trees in our viewshed.  
These are the trunks and branches where both flickers and Pileated  
Woodpeckers have nested for years and where, when I heard a Pileated  
call, I could often look out and see it up there silhouetted against  
the sky. I know Red-breasted Nuthatches and Black-capped Chickadees  
also nested there. Now these nest sites are all gone, and I see  
nothing but green leaves. I suppose they got the trees pruned for  
safety reasons, although most would have fallen into the ravine, not  
on their house. These are neighbors very concerned about the world,  
including the environment, yet they blithely got rid of all this  
nesting habitat without a second thought. This was a reprise of  
another set of neighbors next to us who trimmed off all the dead  
branches of the maple in their yard that had always been attractive  
to trunk-pecking birds, Olive-sided Flycatchers, and other birds that  
liked open views. We actually asked them not to do it, but our  
request fell on deaf ears, as they were more concerned with branches  
falling on their children. This is of course a valid concern, but it  
certainly doesn't paint a rosy picture for cavity-nesting birds in  
settled areas. Sadly, another problem without an apparent solution,  
short of a city ordinance that if you cut down dead branches you have  
to put up bird boxes to replace them!
Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115
dennispaulson at comcast.net

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