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Dead trees provide homes for many animal species. Birds and small mammals use them for nests and for foraging. Here is a link to articles about the value of dead trees or snags, to wildlife. We have been dismayed when people talk about cutting down all the dead trees. After the fires, wildlife habitat is very much diminished. We have chosen to live in an area we share with wildlife, and we, like many other people, are encroaching on their homes. We feel like we should try to provide as much habitat as possible.

Since the fire we have more than our share of dead trees. You’d think we’d have all the dead tree habitat we could ever want. However dead trees full of branches can be very top heavy and as the roots begin to rot, they are easily toppled in a wind storm. One of our trees was uprooted the day after the fire during a freak wind event. So we want to preserve some of our dead trees in hopes that they will stand for many years providing homes and food for woodpeckers, nuthatches, bluebirds, chickadees, squirrels and other animals. Maybe even a pair of Red-tailed Hawks.

We hired a tree worker to limb and top a few of the trees so that they would be less likely to fall. Some of them were close to the road and perhaps posed a safety hazard. Others were in the draw below our house.

Watching Owen work was fascinating. He climbed up and down trees using ropes and a harness while carrying a full array of tools including a small chainsaw. It was pretty amazing to see him moving nimbly high above the ground cutting branches and felling the tops of the dead pines. It looks like very dangerous and hard work and he made it look like fun. I think he was having fun. We only asked him to do the climbing and cutting. We will do the clean-up work. With the way the snow is falling today, I imagine we won’t get to the clean-up til next spring.

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