I feel so cozy and happy under this tree. It's fun breaking through the hanging branches to get "inside," and it makes me think of those bead chain curtains we had in the 70s!
But look straight up, and the story is a bit different. The sweet thing had her water source cut off a few years ago and as a result started suffering, but don’t be too sad, because she’s still hanging on nice and strong, and her dead branches are favorite perches for the local birds. Best of all, she is beloved of our Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and White-breasted Nuthatches.
Only the uninformed see a half-dead tree. Birders see a woodpecker magnet...or a place White-breasted Nuthatches and Brown Creepers like to hang out.
Look half-way up on the right. Do you see our lovely Red-bellied Woodpecker? I could hear him knocking as I took the photo.
In the winter, we will often walk into the kitchen and be eye level with a Red-shouldered Hawk or a Copper's Hawk sitting patiently on one of the dead branches as he scouts out his next meal. Being eye level with a huge bird like a hawk is a little unusual. I would miss that little surprise (and it's always a surprise no matter how many times you see it) if we cut the tree down or trimmed up all the dead branches. So when a neighbor once asked me, “So, what are you going to do with that tree?” I’m sure you knew my response. I wasn't blogging back then. If I were it would have been "I’m going to take photos of it and blog about how wonderful it is!"
Safety first! Last autumn we had hurricane-force winds rip through our part of the country for 5 or 6 hours straight (very strange sensation when you’re land-locked). Roofs were destroyed and electric lines were down everywhere. Many were without electricity for 9-10 days, but our dead willow branches held on strong. A few came down, so I feel the rest are safe. Additionally they are way out in the yard, so if they do come down, they are not going to crush a house or anything.