Eventful second week of February 2-15-19

February 15, 2019  •  1 Comment

When one has trees on their property, it is important to keep an eye out for possible problems. In storm events, things can change very quickly. There are other times when things happen in "s l o w  m o t  i o n." When a problem comes up, it is always wise to consult with a certified arborist to determine the best approach needed for a specific tree. Different species of trees have different requirements as to timing of pruning, etc. When those guys who are "working in your neighborhood" come knocking on the door, eagerly quoting a low price and wielding a chainsaw, but have no certification, just say, "NO, thank you!


In late summer of 2016, one of our largest white oaks died, partly due to a huge honeybee colony inside of it. We wanted to have the crown removed for safety and save the trunk. Our arborist agreed. White oaks are usually very long-lived trees in the right situation and the trunk could stay standing for forty more years, he said. The best time to do this work was in late winter while the other trees were still dormant. This photo was taken just before the work began. 


Black Oak with White Oak prior to crown removal 3-22-18Black Oak with White Oak prior to crown removal 3-22-18

The tree trunk still serves as habitat to shelter and feed birds and wildlife. Now, we fast forward a year to Friday, 2-8-19. What is wrong with this picture? Do you see the tree that is now leaning even further to the left?


Black Oak leaning east 2-9-19Black Oak leaning east 2-9-19


The leaning tree is a black oak. After the heavy snow of January and 3" of rain we had last week, the soil was so saturated that the tree had begun to heave out of the ground. Two of its branches were hung up in smaller trees and that was all that was keeping it from going down over the bubbler, onto the gazebo and the house. This was a nightmare scenario for us, and we hated to lose an otherwise healthy tree. We consulted with our certified arborist and he said there simply was no other choice. The removal of the tree was scheduled. 


Black Oak heaving out of the ground 2-8-19Black Oak heaving out of the ground 2-8-19


The tree was taken down on Tuesday by a skilled crew, with the help of a crane to lower the huge branches, rather than just dropping them. There was minimal collateral damage to the understory trees and shrubs, saving our habitat, as well as our structures!



Dan planed down the middle of a section of the tree and counted the rings - the tree was 79 years old, just a sapling in 1940, before World War II. May you rest in peace, mighty black oak. The Brown Creeper misses you and we do, too. 



On Valentines Day, I had a wonderful lunch with friends. We had fun watching a striking Red-headed Woodpecker in the woods at Nancy's. I got back to see Dan and our neighbor, Steve, loading some of the wood onto Steve's trailer. Right behind them was a beautiful male Eastern Bluebird, catching insects. Then we saw two, and eventually the whole family of six. I took that as a sign that all would be well in our woodland.


Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19

  Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19 Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19

Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19


A Rusty Blackbird came in with a flock of 30 or more American Robins. And, as I turned to the west, there was the Hermit Thrush. It was a gorgeous day that topped out at 63 degrees and it just felt great to be outside watching this influx of birds finding food and all that they needed, here, in our backyard habitat.

  Rusty Blackbird 2-14-19Rusty Blackbird 2-14-19 Hermit Thrush 2-14-19Hermit Thrush 2-14-19


Of course, today is another story with snow and colder temperatures. Ah, well, don't we just love a Missouri winter? It keeps life interesting!


Today also marks the start of the Great Backyard Bird Count. For more about how to participate, check out this link: GBBC


Perhaps you are new to the idea of 'birding' and what that entails. For a look at how to get started, here is a wonderful article written a few years ago by our new State Ornithologist, Sarah Kendrick. Scroll down to page 22 in this Missouri Conservationist issue to read:


Birds are Awesome - A Beginner's Guide to Birding


Look for the Bluebird!

Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19




Jo Alwood(non-registered)
Connie had told me about your Black Oak. It's a sad situation that could have become a nightmare. You have my condolences. Looking at your pictures (love the one showing the tree rings), I was reminded of the Pin Oak we had to have taken down five years ago because of tornado damage. I think I'll repost on Facebook the movie I made about that day. We didn't need a crane, but much of what went on then must have been like what just happened in your yard. Here's the link ... in case you want to relive the dismay of the day: https://youtu.be/R1WfPdhHMng
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