| Categories: Birds, Insects and Pests, Trees

Bird populations might benefit from the Emerald Ash Borer in our Trees

I recently read the 2013 study, titled Effects of emerald ash borer EAB on four species of birds by Koenig, Liebhold, Bonter, Hochacka, and Dickinson from Cornell Lab of Ornithology with great interest.  In Michigan they found both red bellied woodpecker and white breasted nuthatch populations increased in areas of and EAB infestation from 2005 – 2012.  The downy and hairy woodpecker numbers initially declined but increased in subsequent years.  These predators are efficient at their work – with 60,000 or more EAB in an infested tree the predator bird remove on average 44% and as many as 95% of the larvae.  The EAB invasion is dubbed by these scientist as “a catastrophe for ash” and  “a feast for woodpeckers”.   “Predation by birds has been reported as the largest source of EAB mortality in outbreak populations.” The study also included the observation that the populations were increasing due to reproduction versus immigration.

Jim Walsh