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  • osstewardship

What good are cottonwoods?

There are many Black Cottonwood trees found throughout the Okanagan valley. Although they do not have high timber value, they do have many other benefits. Large, old Cottonwood trees are valuable nest platforms, especially if the trees have broken tops. As the tree ages, they become even more important, the amount of insects they hold increases and provides a frenzy of food resources for many species of birds. Woodpeckers and other "primary cavity nesters" (birds that carve out holes in trees) use black cottonwoods extensively for their nest holes , which also makes these trees important for "secondary cavity nesters" (species that use holes in cottonwood trees, but do not excavate them) as they end up living in the holes created by primary cavity nesters.

Secondary cavity nesters include birds such as screech owls, and Lewis' woodpeckers. To learn more about our beautiful local birds click here for our Beginner Birding webinar series!

Riparian cottonwood forests are one of the many ecosystems which are declining rapidly due to development. Cottonwoods themselves are considered undesirable by some because of the allergy inducing seed fluff that spreads in spring time. These are extremely important wildlife habitats and play important roles in riparian buffer zones which greatly contribute to water system health and productivity. If you have a wetland or riparian zone on your property, click here for information on caring for your wetland and/or shoreline.


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