When a tree dies, it remains an important element in maintaining the health of the forest. While it is still standing, it provides food and shelter for many animals. Birds, such as woodpeckers, excavate nesting cavities and search for insects that make their home under the bark. Flying squirrels, owls, and other birds, occupy the holes made by the woodpeckers. The broadheaded skink lives almost exclusively in dead trees. Once the tree falls, it provides a home for ground-dwelling animals such as chipmunks, salamanders, and woodland white-footed mice. Fungi and bacteria help decompose the tree, which recycles nutrients and organic material back into the soil. These nutrients replenish and enrich the soil, maintaining a healthy forest. The illustration depicts the following animals that occupy a Midwestern deciduous forest red headed woodpecker, white breasted nuthatch, screech owl, eastern spotted skunk, raccoon, deer mouse, fox squirrel, eastern gray squirrel, big brown bat, eastern chipmunk, gray tree frog, timber rattlesnake, broadhead skink, tiger salamander, land snail, elm bark beetles, black carpenter ants, springtails and wood-boring beetle grubs.
December 12th, 2017
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