I think that Spring is finally here to stay. There is still a chill in the air this week, but the trees are valiantly trying to burst forth their leaves and flowers. A few magnolia trees are ready to blossom as well; a sure sign that winter is behind us. So many birds are frantically building nests, while other animals are still stretching their limbs and waking up from their long winter’s nap. You cannot help but see the rebirth everywhere, from birds to raccoons, and skunks to deer. Bring on the babies!
What is the relationship between all these babies and trees though, you wonder? Trees are admired and required by more than just humans. Not only do trees provide oxygen for all living species, but they also provide food, shelter, and a space to breed for many animals. Some, like certain insects, may never even leave their arboreal homes.
So what animals can you find in and around your local trees? Untold numbers of birds make their nests in trees. They also use trees as shelter from bad weather and predators, perches to rest on, and of course as a source of food. When not flying through the sky, many birds spend the remainder of their time in the relative safety of trees.
Birds are not the only creatures to be found in the tree tops though. Squirrels and chipmunks run up tree trunks with ease, while raccoons can scramble up in a pinch, if the need arises. Skunks are less proficient climbers, but they too enjoy the benefits of trees via leaves, berries, nuts and of course the insects that live inside of trees. Both skunks and raccoons dig out dens, and the base of dead trees makes for a perfect home for that. In addition, larger mammals, such as deer eat twigs and leaves, as do bears.
The list goes on and on as you might imagine, but the point is that we are all dependent on trees for our survival. From the figure on our nickel, the humble beaver, who cuts down trees to make their dams, to fungi and a wide variety of insects, we all need trees in our lives. If you didn’t get out to plant a tree last week on Arbor Day, why not think about planting one today for you and all of the other species that need trees to survive.