This Silver Maple once had large, sprawling branches that reached completely across the house. To prevent future roof damage, I had the upper part of the tree removed in 2005. The lower portion I left as a place to hang feeders and as a source of dead wood for foraging woodpeckers. For about two months after having it cut, I performed a weekly removal of sprouts growing from the cut stumps. It only took a few minutes each week and without leaves, the tree quickly ran out of energy and died. Insects soon colonized the dead wood and the woodpeckers went to work.
Woodpeckers and various mammals have spent a lot of time foraging in this part of the tree.
Where the bark has long since fallen away, the exposed wood has taken on the weathered appearance of driftwood.
The insect supply in the tree must be diminishing, because the woodpeckers now use the tree as more of a feeding platform to which they bring food.
First there is a visit to the feeder to get a sunflower seed.
Sometimes there’s a line waiting for access to the best holes.
A single seed is removed from the feeder and taken to the tree.
Chickadees often come in and clean up once the Downy has moved on. I don’t know how much longer this tree will last, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having it outside the window.
Note: The six resident woodpecker species at Blue Jay Barrens are: Red-headed, Red-bellied, Northern Flicker, Downy, Hairy and Pileated.