After arriving at the Targhee National Forest in Idaho I hoped to photograph birds at the Magical Sapsucker Tree but instead found the tree destroyed with part of it standing and the other part at a campsite, that was the part that had active nests the last time I was in this area. It was a tree that brought me much delight as a bird photographer but more important than that…
It was a tree that provided safe haven for several species of cavity nesting birds.
It would not have taken much for a person to fell this tree because the heart of it was soft from a fungus and the cavities themselves also weakened it. The fungus is why some cavity nesting birds pick the trees with it because it makes removing the wood inside easier. I tried to hope that it has fallen on its own but the more I look at the cell phone images I took in the rain I am more than convinced that someone chopped the tree down.
There are visible woods chips near the trunk on the ground and a few places where I see sharp edges that would not appear if the tree fell on its own. They would have splintered not snapped off as a hard, sharp edge.
I want to look at the tree more carefully but that camping area is full for the weekend.
This is the part that was at a campsite nearby, some of you might remember the initials and the numbers 2004 I complained about having in my images because the nesting hole was so close to them.
This tree was chopped down on purpose and I am more than heart-broken about the loss of the tree and the lives of the birds that may have been in it when it fell, I am furious. I was angry and since I try to keep my blog PG rated I will just say this about it…
Since this was felled by the hand of man I would love to force the person or people who took it down to listen while each of us who care about birds and wildlife give them a piece of our minds about destroying a tree with active nests in it. Then turn them in because they violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
So we went looking for other trees that have nesting cavities in them and I found at least two that are active. So far at one of those trees there is a Northern Flicker nesting cavity and at the other one I have seen a Red-naped Sapsucker…
And a House Wren. Not much time was spent at either tree because of lighting conditions but I hope to spend more time at them both (from a respectful distance) to see what else might come to them.
I am heart-broken about losing the Magical Sapsucker Tree but I am glad to have found a few more where the chicks are thriving and are safe so far. Finding more nesting cavity trees helped a tiny bit to soften the blow of the other one being needlessly destroyed.
Life is good, sad and frustrating.