As you walk through the forest you will see a lot of dead trees. Some, like the snags that you see here, are still standing; many are lying on the forest floor. These dead trees have an exciting role to play in the ecology of the forest. The standing dead trees or snags provide very important habitat for a number of species.
As you walk through the park, take a careful look. You will notice round holes along the sides of the snags. These were made by woodpeckers that depend on dead trees for nesting sites.
Other animals, including Flying Squirrels and Screech Owls, make use of abandoned woodpecker nests.
The decomposing trees on the forest floor provide food and shelter for many more species of nesting birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Some species of native bees, major pollinators of flowers and flowering shrubs in the forest, use fallen trees for their home. Spiders, beetles, worms, and microbes feed within the decaying wood. Mushrooms flourish on logs, helping with the decomposition that releases important nutrients back into the forest ecosystem.
West 11th Street Park is especially well known for our many species of woodpeckers, including the increasingly rare Red-headed Woodpecker and the huge Pileated Woodpecker. Without the dead trees, these wonderful birds would be gone.