ArborScape and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) teamed up to create wildlife habitat at the South Table Mountain Campus in Golden, CO.
ArborScape cut down several trees and bucked them up to use as log and brush piles to make cover and foraging habitat for migratory birds. The NREL wildlife biologist and campus operations directed the work to create the brush piles. The project used local standing dead trees to create habitat that the trees could not provide individually. These interlaced stems make good perches and create additional cavities to hold meltwater sources and additional nest and roost spaces.
Cold weather increases a bird’s caloric requirements at a time when food is most scarce, as there are no insects flying around readily available. Seeds, weeds, fruits, and nuts are often used up, removed by human activity, or covered in snow. Brush debris and spent plants therefore also provide cover for wintering insects. Some birds will be able to find these and eat them during the winter months; surviving insects will be a ready food source in spring. Native plants of all kinds are preferable to feeder seeds, for a logical reason: Native plants feed native bugs; native bugs feed native birds. As these insects are driven underground or killed off by cold, bug-eating birds switch to high-energy seeds and berries, so accessible seed heads from wild brush and trees are a vital natural source of food for birds in winter.
Shelter is also crucial to bird survival through our snowy winters. Often multiple birds of a single cavity-loving species will huddle together in communal nests or roosts during bitter nights. Providing brush piles with some foliage is a good way to ensure coverage from the elements.
Early in spring, as winter passes, birds will also use twigs, dead grasses and other debris as nesting material.
At Arborscape we’re committed to conserving our wild and urban environments for our neighbors, community, and future generations, and our business practice includes a comprehensive sustainability policy. Read more about it here: Our Sustainability Policy