Seasonal Backyard Science – Every Tree Tells A Story

Seasonal Backyard Science – Every Tree Tells A Story

Music; Ambience: peeling off bark – walking in snow

If you go for a walk in the woods or your own backyard, every tree – even the dead ones – has a story to tell. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“Now, here’s a worked over tree if ever there was one. We’re looking at a dead hemlock tree.”

Naturalist John Hanson Mitchel is the author of a Field Guide to Your Own Backyard.

“This thing has been eaten and bored into and fed upon and nested upon by any number of insects and mammals and birds and worms. The outer bark is just hanging, you know, back, and then – and then I’m digging into what once was the hardwood here. And it’s all splintery, but it’s so old it’s just – you can just rip it off like that. And you see these holes if you look inside here. They’re – they’re holes, and then down at the bottom of the tree there are all these strips of bark that whatever went in here. One of the main attackers is a pilliated woodpecker. This is a very big woodpecker with a fine red crest that’s about the size of a crow, actually, and they love to eat carpenter ants. And you’ll see them – they come to a tree and, unlike most woodpeckers who, you know, just will bore straight in and bore a hole, these things hammer out these great square shaped holes looking for ants. That’s one of their favorites. And I dare say they’ve been at this tree. So have the boring beetles. So have carpenter ants. So have all manner of woodpeckers. Also looks like some human being has come through here and torn a few strips of bark off, too.”

Our thanks to John Hansen Mitchell. Please visit us on the web at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Seasonal Backyard Science - Every Tree Tells A Story

Examining a fallen tree can reveal a lot about the animals that have used it.
Air Date:12/22/2010
Scientist:
Transcript:

Seasonal Backyard Science - Every Tree Tells A Story

Music; Ambience: peeling off bark - walking in snow

If you go for a walk in the woods or your own backyard, every tree - even the dead ones - has a story to tell. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"Now, here's a worked over tree if ever there was one. We're looking at a dead hemlock tree."

Naturalist John Hanson Mitchel is the author of a Field Guide to Your Own Backyard.

"This thing has been eaten and bored into and fed upon and nested upon by any number of insects and mammals and birds and worms. The outer bark is just hanging, you know, back, and then - and then I'm digging into what once was the hardwood here. And it's all splintery, but it's so old it's just - you can just rip it off like that. And you see these holes if you look inside here. They're - they're holes, and then down at the bottom of the tree there are all these strips of bark that whatever went in here. One of the main attackers is a pilliated woodpecker. This is a very big woodpecker with a fine red crest that's about the size of a crow, actually, and they love to eat carpenter ants. And you'll see them - they come to a tree and, unlike most woodpeckers who, you know, just will bore straight in and bore a hole, these things hammer out these great square shaped holes looking for ants. That's one of their favorites. And I dare say they've been at this tree. So have the boring beetles. So have carpenter ants. So have all manner of woodpeckers. Also looks like some human being has come through here and torn a few strips of bark off, too."

Our thanks to John Hansen Mitchell. Please visit us on the web at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.