The old apple tree is dying. We planted it after we moved here more than 20 years ago and throughout its productive life, it has been a favorite of birds, squirrels, and, in spring when it is in bloom, of bees. But never has it been more popular with the birds than now, when it is dying. Plants under stress attract insects and insects attract birds and so the tree is almost never without its visitors these days.
But it's not just the woodpeckers that favor the dying tree.
Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees, Blue Jays, Carolina Wrens, and Tufted Titmice pass through the branches of the old tree throughout the day in a continual colorful parade. It was there a few days ago where I saw the first year Baltimore Oriole that was visiting my yard. This fall or winter, the apple tree will have to come down before it becomes in danger of falling. Then I'll have to find a worthy replacement for this long-time resident of my backyard. The birds will demand it.