Dead Trees Or Snags Support A Plethora Of Wildlife

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This Will Change Your Attitude About Dead Trees in Your Yard, Forever

Dead trees or tree trunks, create a snag and that is a good thing.

A snag is a dead or dying tree.

This may not sound very attractive to the average homeowner, but it is a very beneficial thing to have in your yard for wildlife.

Traditionally it has been the practice of homeowners to cut down trees in their yard after they die.

A bird head peaking out of a dead tree. Dead Trees or Snags Provide Good Shelter for Wild Birds


It may still be necessary if the tree is too close to the house and there is risk of it damaging the home or causing harm to people.

But, cutting off the top and leaving a tall stump, may be sufficient to save the house from damage and to supply a useful snag for wild birds and other wildlife.

A home to raise young, food sources, a place to hide from predators, food storage, and shelter from inclement weather are some of the benefits of dead trees.

great blue heron nest in dead trees with two blue herons at the nest. Great Blue Herons Use Groups of Snags
to Nest in Colonies

Who Else Benefits from Dead Trees?

A wild animal with horns perched on top of a dead tree. Wild Animals
A blue bird perched on top of a dead tree. Birdlife
dogs using dead tree to sit on.
A gentleman sitting on a dead tree stump writing in a book. People

We all know the many and wonderful benefits of trees that are living.

But we don’t always think about the advantages of standing dead trees as necessary for sustaining wildlife.

Many wild birds will use snags for multiple purposes.

Wild birds are not the only creatures who use snags either.

There are many animals and insects that get an abundance of use from snags.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, 1200 species of wildlife benefit from dead or downed trees which are in various stages of decay.

large multi-branched snagSnags Provide Food, a Home to Raise Young,
Shelter from Weather & Predators

What are the Benefits of  Dead Trees or Snags?

  • Cavities and slits provide roosting spots to spend the night for Flying Squirrels, Kestrels, Bats, Owls, Woodpeckers, Brown Creepers, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Swallows, some Finches, and other wild critters.
  • Most cavity-nesting birds will seek out a hole or make their own in a tree to raise their young like Owls, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Chickadees, some Sparrows, Wrens, Flycatchers, and more.
great horned owl with owlet in tree homeBirds Use Trees Inside & Out
For Making Their Home
  • Many varieties of bird species use the branches and tops of snags for perching, which allows them good viewing to spot rivals, predators, and food.
woodpecker on dead treeSnags Are Perfect Perches
For Wild Birds
  • Rotting trees decay because of the action of fungi, mosses, microscopic organisms, and insects, which in turn supply nesting material and a good food source for wild birds and other wild creatures.
Moss and fungi growing on a dead tree stump.
  • Storage bins for winter food – four legged-animals and birds use snags to store food.
snags used as storage bins by birdsA Snag Full of Winter Nuts
  • Soil exposed where a tree is uprooted provides a dust bath in the dryer months.

Hardwood trees make better nesting sites and softwood makes a better food source. Providing both will balance the need for housing and sustenance.

A picture of a dead tree. Dead Trees Generate Homes for Wildlife

How to Create a Snag?

You can create snags if there are no natural ones available in your area or yard.

Only if the tree is showing signs of dying, I would not recommend doing this to a healthy tree.

  1. Cut the top off a tree, leaving at minimum fourteen feet standing.
  2. Create a jagged top as this will allow for rot to develop faster than a smooth top.
  3. Cut off long branches, especially near the base of the trunk to provide a foraging area.

Attracting wildlife with dead trees at every stage of the decaying process provides a variety of life-giving benefits to forest wildlife.

Snags also ensure that the next generation of young trees will have the nutrients necessary for life.

snag with plants and shrub life growing all over it. Snags Grow Beautiful Natural Things

Why Not Make Your Dead Tree Attractive?

A snag already has a beneficial purpose, so give it another reason to be saved from the ax!

A tree stump creation can be established as a focal point in your garden. It could be a piece of garden art!

You can achieve this in many different ways by letting your ingenuity shine.

To get things started here is a list of ways other people have found to save their dead trees for birdlife.

Please let us know if you come up with a unique idea. We would love to share it here

The ideas below will get people thinking about how to use these precious natural resources for better use.

List of Ways to Turn a Snag Into a Miracle:

1. Use a dead tree to hold a bird feeder.

A picture of bird feeders hanging from a dead tree stump with birds eating from them.


2. Turn a stump into a planter.

wood anemone growing on dead treeA Snag Is A Perfect Host
For Wildflowers Like Wood Anemone

3. Create a Fairy habitat.

4. Stumps can act as game tables.

5. Make it fun! The birds won’t mind. ?

Dead tree stumps turned into faces wearing hats. Making Dead Trees Fun Instead
Of Waste Is Environmentally Successful

6. Invent a conversation piece.

tree stump wood art with a wizard looking face carved into the stump.

Snag a tree for the birds!

What is There to Know About Bird Housing?

  1. Nesting Habits Vary a Lot  Wild birds prepare for and raise their baby birds in many different ways. Some birds are solitary in their method and others are communal.
  2. Other Types of Wild Bird Shelters For roosting or homes for cavity nesters are a good way to keep birds in your yard for great bird watching.
  3. Intriguing Bird House Info It only stands to reason that if you are setting the table for wild birds with bird feeders, they would choose to nest “down the hall”, so to speak, in a backyard birdhouse.

What Types of Bird Houses are There?

  1. Gourd Houses are #1 Native North Americans were the first to craft gourds
    into birdhouses to attract wild birds and studies indicate they are the
    #1 choice with wild birds.
  2. Roosting Boxes for Bedrooms Provide valuable shelter for birds at any time during the year for night time habitation.
  3. Snags/Dead or Dying Trees Provide many elements of the necessities of survival for wildlife, such as food, escape from predators, nesting sites, roosting spots.

What You Need to Know About Building a Bird Home?

  1. How to Build a Bird House: The Right Way How to build a birdhouse that
    will actually be used requires a little knowledge but it is not
  2. Building Bird Houses that Get the Movers Hired You can put up a bird home but will the birds like your location, is the style suitable for them or their neighbors?

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