Nearly two dozen assorted cardinal honeyeaters, golden white-eyes, Micronesian starlings, kingfishers, rufous fantails, and sparrows lost a feeding ground, resting place, meeting site, one day this past weekend when, while I was out, an overzealous tree-trimmer cut off almost half of the branches on a flame tree growing in my yard. Admittedly, the branches that were cut stretched out over the neighbor’s empty lot, and it’s my understanding that it’s OK to cut branches leaning into your yard, even if the tree is not yours.
But most of the branches were way up high-higher, even, than my two-story house from which I took immense pleasure-up on the second floor-in watching the bright red cardinal honeyeaters come and eat, the golden white-eyes flit through the branches, a group of starlings hop about chirruping to each, an occasional kingfisher sitting haughtily on one of the branches, more rarely even the pretty little rufuous fan-tails coming by, and the ever-present sparrows. Some of them came every day, and I always stopped to admire them-the bright colors of the cardinal honeyeaters, the blue of the kingfisher, the spread of the rufous fantails peacock-like tails, the song of the larger starlings-I even learned to distinguish all their songs.
I know I can’t sue my neighbor for destroying habitat-after all, it was on his land, and I don’t think the birds are among the endangered species or for cutting branches off my tree-since they reached out over his land too. But I wish he’d been less zealous and that those tree-timming classes were more widely available.
The Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council will host a tree trimmer training this Wednesday and Thursday in Garapan. Please contact Ken Kramer, RC&D Coordinator, at 236-0893 for more information.