Among the evergreen trees surrounding our home is a Western Hemlock that appeared to be dying. We asked an arborist to come and remove it and he was willing to take it down, but encouraged us to leave a ‘snag’ for wildlife. If we didn’t like the look of it he’d come back and remove it later.
According to Conservation Northwest “Standing dead trees, called snags, provide birds and mammals with shelter to raise young and raptors with unobstructed vantage points. Large downed trees also provide important habitat for wildlife. Hundreds of species of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish benefit from snags for food, nesting or shelter! ”
We have plenty of other trees in our yard and weren’t sure a snag was necessary but decided to take his advice and leave it standing. It would be nice to have a woodpecker take up residence there.
It looked kind of funny and we wondered if we’d made the right decision.
And then last week after dark I saw the form of an owl perched on one of the limbs. Though I’ve heard their calls in the night, I’d never seen one in the wild – outside of a zoo or other wildlife sanctuary.
I stood (with my umbrella in the rain) and watched him as he stared at the ground below. He took no notice of me while I stood beneath taking pictures of him. Why should he? He owned the night.
Honestly I was thrilled – and a bit unsettled too.
It’s a bird of prey.
And while I’m happy if he takes the rodents making mole hills in our yard, I’m also concerned about creatures larger than that.
I will need to remain vigilant.