Author Topic: Hug a Falcon, Band Your Trees !  (Read 2245 times)

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Offline birdcamfan

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Hug a Falcon, Band Your Trees !
« on: June 16, 2008, 21:40 »
Hey Tracy,
Just a general question about birds in the "wild"...I cannot go out of my front door without being snagged by canker worm webs. (For those outside of Winnipeg, we have a major outbreak). I was wondering if an outbreak of this magnitude is actually helpful to our urban "wild", insect eating birds; supplying food for both adults and young alike. Is this like a huge free lunch for birds or do they turn their noses up at such fare?
Thanks again for allowing us to see nature up close and for answering all of our questions. I love watching the down-town birds. We have a merlin pair come back to Wolseley year after year and their shrieking calls makes me think of (and miss) the daily updates and view into the world of the peregrines.

Offline The Peregrine Chick

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Re: Hug a Falcon, Band Your Trees !
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2008, 14:53 »
Hey Tracy,
Just a general question about birds in the "wild"...I cannot go out of my front door without being snagged by canker worm webs. (For those outside of Winnipeg, we have a major outbreak). I was wondering if an outbreak of this magnitude is actually helpful to our urban "wild", insect eating birds; supplying food for both adults and young alike. Is this like a huge free lunch for birds or do they turn their noses up at such fare?
Thanks again for allowing us to see nature up close and for answering all of our questions. I love watching the down-town birds. We have a merlin pair come back to Wolseley year after year and their shrieking calls makes me think of (and miss) the daily updates and view into the world of the peregrines.

Its an all you can eat passerine buffet Birdcamfan!  And great timing in that there are lots of chicks still in nests as well as just fledging.  Canker worms are also easy for young birds to catch.  Unfortunately, not so good for the trees.  The leaves get eaten, the trees are stressed (have to grow new leaves even though they may be eaten or forego the sunlight they need for photosynthesis), which means more tree illnesses and deaths which reduces the quantity and quality of the habitat which means less birds next year and less birds to buffet on canker worms ... vicious little cycle.  So if you want to save a falcon, put bands on your trees in the fall, and take them off in the spring.  Fewer canker worms, healthier trees; healthier trees, healthier habitat; healthier habitat, healthier bird populations; healthier bird populations, more all you can eat falcon buffets!  ;D

Offline eagle63_1999

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Re: Hug a Falcon, Band Your Trees !
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2008, 15:05 »
It makes sense one part of the ecosystem balance gets out of whack other things get out of whack.  I never thought about how an outbreak of a particular insect can be beneficial in the short term but not so beneficial in the long term. You are a wealth of knowledge TPC.

Offline birdcamfan

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Re: Hug a Falcon, Band Your Trees !
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2008, 16:40 »
Interestingly, our street, like most of Woseley, bands every tree (not just the elms) and have done so for all 20 years that I have lived there. I was walking to work this morning and as soon as I crossed to the north side of Portage avenue there was not a worm in sight! I am glad to hear that the worms are at least appreciated by our feathered friends.
Thanks.

Offline allikat

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Re: Hug a Falcon, Band Your Trees !
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2010, 22:02 »
I know this isn't about falcons but, I wanted to put this topic out to all who have elm trees nearby that need us!



IT'S TIME TO BAND YOUR ELM TREES TO AVOID "DUTCH ELM DISEASE"!!!  Let's do our part and BAND THE ELMS! 


Offline The Peregrine Chick

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Re: Hug a Falcon, Band Your Trees !
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2010, 12:10 »
It does actually have something to do with the falcons ... Merlins and American Kestrels rely on the bugs and birds and small mammals that live in the city.  Many of those rely on Winnipeg's 100+ year old urban forest to survive.  Bird species all have specific habitat needs.  No songbirds means no nests, no nests means fewer meals for crows, fewer big trees mean fewer crows, fewer crows means fewer Merlins as they nest exclusively in crows' nests.  Fewer trees means fewer bugs and small mammals, means fewer nesting cavitities for Kestrels and less prey for they to eat. 

Fewer trees also means fewer other plans such as shrubs (need the protection and many need the shade/partial shade) house prices go down (a mature deciduous tree increases house prices by about $10K), hydro costs goes up (air conditioning in summer, heating in winter as protection is lost), water usage goes up (less shade means more water needed for plants), ear plug sales go up (trees help to reduce sound from air and land vehicle traffic), air quality is reduced (trees are purifiers and carbon sinks) and leaf rake sales drop dramatically. 

Yes there are lots of different tree species in Winnipeg, but the oldest and in most cases largest are the American Elms that are being so hard hit by DED.  Banding your trees (all of your deciduous trees) helps to reduce the cankerworm population (part of their lifecycle requires that they crawl from the ground up the tree) which in turn reduces the stress on the trees.  It is not unusual for cankerworms to strip a tree of all of its foliage which forces the tree to use additional stored resources to grow new ones in order to convert solar radiation into energy for survival.  Add that the stresses of living in an urban environment - road salt & sand, pollution, construction, etc - and a changing climate that, for Winnipeg has meant warmer and wetters winters.  Warmer may mean that the trees do not enter a sort of hibernation state until later, again using more of their stored resources because their leaves have fallen.  Wetter can mean real problems for root systems and moist conditions are never good for funguses, of which DED is one - the fungus is carried by the Elm Bark Beetle from sick tree to healthy tree, the beetle itself just lives in the elms. 

So by banding the trees in the fall and then cleaning off the band and reapplying tanglefoot in the spring, you reduce the number of cankerworms and can catch the fall elm bark bettles and help to keep your trees, elms and otherwise healthier which in turn will enable them to withstand other environmental and not-so-environmental pressures.  Sort of like Vitamin C (see-the-band?) for trees. (like that one, going to save it and use it again I think)

Bands should go on by September 15th (or the first frost, whichever comes earlier) and off around May 15th to catch both seasons of crawlies.

For more information: Coalition to Save the Elms

Hug a falcon by banding your trees!

Offline Kinderchick

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Re: Hug a Falcon, Band Your Trees !
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2010, 14:29 »
My husband banded our trees a few weeks ago already. :D But thanks for the reminder, allikat & TPC! ;)

Offline bcbird

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Re: Hug a Falcon, Band Your Trees !
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2010, 18:03 »
I'm not sure I've ever heard of banding trees against infestation.  If only that would help the BC trees avoid infestation from Pine Beetle, but sadly the beetle flies.

Offline The Peregrine Chick

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Re: Hug a Falcon, Band Your Trees !
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2010, 13:00 »
I'm not sure I've ever heard of banding trees against infestation.  If only that would help the BC trees avoid infestation from Pine Beetle, but sadly the beetle flies.

So too does the Elm Bark Beetle, but during part of its cycle, it crawls up the trees, that's when we catch those little critters ... the banding does more for cankerworms however, catch those guys spring and fall!

Offline Kinderchick

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Re: Hug a Falcon, Band Your Trees !
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2010, 13:47 »
... the banding does more for cankerworms however, catch those guys spring and fall!
That's for sure! Since we began banding out trees a few years ago, our "resident" canker worms have not been able to do much damage to our trees! ;D This calls for a "yippie, skippie", as far as I'm concerned! ;)