For the birds: Birds need them - we need them - let’s save the trees

Friday, August 2, 2019

Golden-crowned Kinglet in tree
Photo by Elaine Chuang
By Christine Southwick

All our local birds need trees. Our yard birds are classified as Perching Birds since their feet have evolved to clinging to tree branches.

Most of the birds in our area eat, sleep, and breed in trees. Northern Flickers, Downy, Hairy, and Pileated Woodpeckers, and Red-Breasted Sapsuckers are prime examples.

Did you know that Black-capped and Chestnut-backed chickadees, plus Red-breasted Nuthatches, are just some of the birds that use old woodpecker cavities for their nests

That’s already eight cavity nesters that need good-sized local trees for food, raising their young, and for shelter and sleeping.

Red-breasted Nuthatch high in tree
Photo by Elaine Chuang

All kinds of birds build their nests in our local trees: Robins, Steller’s Jays, Yellow Warblers, et al. 
  • White-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Spotted Towhees use trees as look-out posts from which to watch for predators near their nests.
  • Golden-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Merlins, Band-tailed Pigeons, and many other birds need tall evergreens in which to lay their eggs
  • Red-breasted Nuthatches have been known to build their nests 120 feet high in conifers, Cedar Waxwings and kinglets often nest 60 feet up.
  • Willow Flycatchers, Olive-sided Flycatchers and Pacific Slope Flycatchers pass through our area during northern and southern migrations and use treetops from which to fly out and catch the bugs needed to fuel their journeys.

Birds glean tiny bugs off trees, helping to keep trees healthy. Their lilting songs lift our hearts and reduce our stress levels. Birds and bees help pollinate trees.

Pileated Woodpecker on old tree
Photo by Elaine Chuang

How do we humans benefit from trees? Why should we keep them? 

Trees reduce noise, moderate temperatures, reduce dust and help clean the air. Trees, especially year-round conifers, deflect rain and snow from falling directly to the ground, thereby slowing runoff and diminishing stormwaters and flooding.

Many people don’t know that Shoreline Parks only have 20% of our city’s tree canopy, while 71% of the tree canopy is owned by private homeowners. Therefore, tree-cutting homeowners directly reduce Shoreline’s tree canopy, and affect their related neighborhood.

Red-breasted Sapsucker with sap holes
 (these holes do not hurt trees)
Photo by Elaine Chuang
Trees need to be kept. Thin a tree, don’t cut it down.

If a tree is sick, don’t cut it flush to the ground, leave a ten foot or higher snag. It will cost you less, and the woodpeckers will start using the snag.

Other birds will soon claim the used woodpecker holes.

Give birds places to live and improve our breathing/noise/and climate change issues.

Keep the trees! 
Help save the Birds!


joettafort August 3, 2019 at 12:01 PM  

I really liked your article! We did have to remove a tree, but left a snag. The arborist also left short branches so my grandson could still climb it.

Anonymous,  August 3, 2019 at 12:10 PM  

Christine, Thank you for reminding us of the values of trees. Well Done! Patty Hale

Joanie August 3, 2019 at 4:26 PM  

HA! Maybe you could send this article directly to the Shoreline City Council and Sound Transit...the Shoreline School Board too???

Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the FeedBurner email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP