White Pine Tree / Carpenter Ants

Below are pictures of cavities on a white pine tree.  The shape and size of cavity and the ant parts found in stools at base of tree strongly suggest the Pileated Woodpecker (WP).  Since the time of these photos, I personally had the pleasure of the WP revealing him or herself.  As I sat in my truck at this location about 7 AM in the middle of 2009,  one no smaller than 20" landed on a tree about 20' from my truck.  By the time I got my camera, the PW was gone.  Many other sightings in my area with my wife connecting with one 18" two times at our place.  If you look inside the close-up cavity you can see the ant galleries.  Note the wood around the galleries is sound.  That's a result of the ants controlling the moisture content and stalling the decay causing fungi.  Somebody really wanted the ants.  This is one singled out tree in a group setting of white pines in Pennsylvania.  Note that this pine tree was alive and maintaining a symplast.  Its crown shows no signs of decline.  maybe we are seeing the "Self Thinning Rule Of Ecology" in action. 

Note the ant galleries.









The next ecological stage.  After giving it a lot of thought, we created a snag out of the white pine tree.  We did this, so if the cavities compromised the mechanical stability of the tree, the snag would out last the whole tree.  A snag is a trunk (20') twenty feet or taller  without branches.











NEWS FLASH!!    Surprise!
Now the next ecological stage leaves this as a squirrel condominium!!!  

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