The Willow Tree Collapse

What's Left of the Willow Tree
What's Left of the Willow Tree

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 has been near-dead for several years before it collapsed
Willow Tree at the CNP

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.

Red-headed Woodpecker that tried to nest but left after a few weeks
Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-breasted Nuthatch that stored seeds in the willow
Red-breasted Nuthatch

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.

Besides birds, one of the coolest animals to use the willow was a Northern Flying Squirrel
Flying Squirrel

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.

7 thoughts on “The Willow Tree Collapse

  1. Good post and nice shots! I haven’t seen a flying squirrel since I was a little kid and my aunt rescued one. She kept it in a mitten. 😀 We have a tree that is suffering and probably not long for this world, but I fought to save as much of it as we could last year. Good thing I did because a week after some severe cutting and trimming, baby squirrels emerged that I didn’t know were nesting in there. The birds love the tree and I would miss seeing them there! I dread the day when it’s gone. I’m hoping by then I will have moved away and won’t know about it!

  2. I stopped to watch the birds on a declining black willow every day this winter. They must play host to lots of little insects.

  3. Could it ba a possibility that the Read Headed WP sensed the tree would fall and so forth decide not to nest there?….it has left me thinking….either way the tree served its purpose for years on end and will still do important stuff for birding.

  4. Sorry about the damage to the fence & power lines–glad it didn’t take out any of your feeders or other, living things, though! We’ve been considering planting a willow in a low, wet spot in our front yard. About a year ago I was scared out of my chair by the BOOOM of one of our dead trees falling, too (no damage to anything.) Since then, the lower part (which remained,) has sprouted all kinds of new branches (that “our” birds use as a lookout on their way into our feeding area.) Nice to see it wasn’t truly “dead” all along.
    Awesome on the flying squirrel!

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