Look for the Perching Trees

The Perching Tree

By Jan Jackson –

A clearcut feeding field for wildlife.

Drive nearly any road in Oregon and you see trees. Big trees, little trees and middle-sized trees. But wait. Now you see a stand of little trees with a tall one sticking up in the middle.  What is that all about? Well, let me tell you.

Those lone trees standing in short forests are not there because someone forgot to cut them. They are there because they had a special job to do. One of those jobs was to provide a place for birds of prey to sit.

When trees are harvested by clear cutting, the harvested area becomes a food field for birds and animals (forest fire also provide perching places and feeding fields but at a dreadful cost of wildlife).

Private land owners in Oregon keep their forests alive and healthy by managing them. The Oregon Forest Practices Act of 1972, which regulates tree harvesting, requires loggers to leave at least two perching trees per harvested acre of clear cut. Those two trees can be alive or dead because birds can use either one.

So, while humans use a grocery cart to shop for food, a bird of prey sits on a perching tree and waits for a perfect mouse, gopher or rabbit etc., to show up on the ground below. The clearcut is their grocery store and perching trees help them shop. As one clearcut grows new trees and covers up the shopping area, another one opens up.

Keeping Oregon green and all its wildlife housed and fed is a full time job but one that’s worth the effort.  Meanwhile, as you drive our highways and byways, you can count the perching trees and maybe even see some birds of prey shopping for food (or even an owl or a sweet little olive sided flycatcher).

Birds of prey in Oregon (also called raptors) that might use perching trees:

Turkey vulture

Osprey

White-tailed kite

Bald eagle

Northern harrier

Sharp-shinned hawk

Cooper’s hawk

Northern goshawk

Red-shouldered hawk

Swainson’s hawk

Red-tailed hawk

Ferruginous hawk

Rough-legged hawk

Golden eagle

American kestrel

Merlin

Gyrfalcon

Peregrine falcon

Prairie falcon

For more information, visit Birds of Prey

https://myodfw.com/wildlife-viewing/species/raptors

or Oregon’s Forest Practices Act.https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Documents/WorkingForests/FPAFactSheet.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

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