At 1:35 PM on Friday, April 25th, 2008 our backyard willow tree made a fantastic display of what happens when a dead tree mixes with wind and gravity. With a loud rumble, 80% of the tree came crashing down, taking power lines and part of our fence with it but missing every living thing in the yard save a Cupplant or two.
The willow tree was in our city preserve for our entire lives and was host to many wonderful animal sightings. While not native, this tree grew well in our overly wet yard. Numerous bird species used the tree for stashing seeds, perching, and even attempts at nesting.
Other birds that used the willow include: Downy, Red-bellied, and Hairy Woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow-bellied and Great Crested Flycatchers, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and many other birds as well.
The collapse of the willow tree left many squirrels in a quandary, their “aerial highway” severed. Many of the logs will be placed throughout the yard to add to the natural setting we are trying to create. But the snag will stay and the birds continue to use what’s left.