Slash: A Mixed Use High Rise Development for Birds

Tammy Brown

What is Slash?

When our wildlife plan suggested we create brush piles and maintain “slash” I had no idea what slash meant. Well, below is a photo of slash, an architecturally stunning, mixed use high rise for birds in a prime location in the Little Piney area of the Lost Pines, Bastrop, Texas!

Maintaining slash means leaving dead trees for birds, insects, and small critters to live in. ¬†Wood peckers create large holes as they search for insects or make nests, leaving these spaces free for other cavity nesters to occupy. This tall specimen of slash is near the main trail at Little Piney; I see it everyday. I have seen a turkey vulture perch on top, spread his wings, and slowly turn around in the sun as if to proudly show off his wingspan and feathers. I’ve seen redbellied woodpeckers hammering away after bugs. But, I think the Eastern Bluebird family scene today was the best.



Eastern Bluebirds Occupying First Floor Apartment

I caught a flash of blue flying up to this tree and followed it with my binoculars. I saw an Eastern Bluebird land near a dark spot at the top of the tree which turned out to be a cavity. Fledglings appeared as Father Bluebird supervised and protected. He even flew at a Red Belly that perched on top, and the woodpecker flew away.

Eastern Bluebirds Nesting Behavior

I’m very happy to see the Eastern Bluebirds nesting in a natural cavity, even though I provide seven nest boxes much closer to the ground. I can see how my newly painted nest boxes with predator baffles might pale in comparison. I can imagine Mother Bluebird saying “I want something cozy and rustic with a view, and safe from raccoons and snakes!” If you’ve never seen a bluebird pair house hunting, it’s quite a ritual. The male chooses a spot and tries to convince the female that it’s a good place to build a nest. The male calls to his mate and flies back and forth, trying to persuade her to follow and take a look inside. She is very reluctant and often refuses, and they move on to the next place.

I’m always happy to find a nest after observing a shopping couple. In fact, I’m delighted to have a new nest in Box 1 this late in the summer!


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