Stumps Why So Tall?

Reader Contribution by Bruce Mcelmurray
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 Most people would look at our tree stumps and all they would see are tree stumps.  But when you look closer you will notice that they are somewhat taller than most stumps.  That is because the dead or thinned trees were cut when there was still snow on the ground.  There is a very good reason for cutting trees then and that is because we do not want to cut trees during the nesting season.  The song birds have not migrated back when we cut those trees and nest building has not yet begun.  Often I am on snow shoes when those trees were cut.

One might ask why we do this  and that would be a very proper question.  The simple answer is because those nests are so well concealed that it is difficult to see them and I don’t want to cut down a tree unknowingly that will potentially have a nest with bird eggs or baby birds in it.  There are two ultimate reasons which I will attempt to explain. 

We have a variety of song birds that migrate to our property each year.  We have Robins, Wrens, Hermit Thrush, Fly catchers, Junco’s along with several other varieties.  They have nested here safely for several years and there are very few predators except for us humans and our potential negligence.  They  keep our bug population in very good balance.  For those who occasionally hike past our house they wonder why such pesky bugs as those biting flies,  and mosquito’s are absent for the most part from our area.  It is simply because the birds keep them in balance for us.  

We therefore do not want to do even the smallest infraction that will disrupt that cycle.  They have spring water, plenty to eat to feed themselves and their  babies and plenty of woods  with flying corridors to maneuver where they do not have to compete with each other to thrive.  That is  one reason.  The other is purely selfish.  When I take our dogs out just as it is barely becoming first light I am privileged to hear the most beautiful and moving symphony  imaginable.  First I will hear one or two birds with their morning song begin and  then gradually more and more will slowly join in and together they sing the day into being.  The multitude of stars are still in the morning sky, and the birds all come together to make the most beautiful sounds any human ear has ever heard.  I have attended the Boston Philharmonic and heard them play music that will carry you into ecstasy, but until you have heard the birds sing in unison with their different songs, you have not been  part of something being created for the very first time.  It is a moment that only lasts for a few minutes and not always  every morning, but will move you so deeply that you will actually look forward to those early morning symphonies and don’t want to miss the opportunity to be there when they happen. The melody, haunting call of the Hermit Thrust, the smallest cheep, all coming together to enthrall you. 

The dress is casual, the price is free, and the memories last a lifetime.  So those are my reasons to keep the song birds coming back to our specific area each year.  It is really for utility in keeping our bugs under control, but mostly it is for that rare  morning when their song speaks to the core of your very being.    The  harmony of many birds singing together with the blanket of stars above you.   A moment you will not regret getting up early to hear.  That is why our stumps may be just a little higher than most other area’s.