We moved to our house nearly 20 years ago mostly because of the trees. And now we’re worried that many of them are coming down. And that means habitat loss for the animals who live behind our home.

Our house is in a subdivision in a suburb outside of Atlanta, built on what used to be a farm. We have lots of pines and a dogwood or two and many trees that I can’t identify in the backyard. We back up to a few houses way behind us, with their woods in between.

As more green spaces are cleared for more subdivisions, the woods behind our house have become even more active with animals. We regularly see deer hiding in the brush. The squirrels and chipmunks hold races as they vault along the top of the fence line, and there are so many species of twittering and beautiful birds looking for insects and making nests.

At night, we hear the frog chorus from the nearby pond and there are always some aerial gymnastics from butterflies and dragonflies and other interesting insects.

Way before dawn, when I slip outside to take my foster puppy for a way-too-early-potty break, there are also quiet rustles in the woods. Sometimes my own adult dog will growl and his hair will stand on end. Remembering the neighborhood reports of coyotes (and a couple of bear sightings, even), I scoop up the 4-pound puppy and head back inside.

These woods aren’t all that deep but they provide key habitat to animals we can and can’t see.

There’s at least one doe who makes her home behind the far back corner of our yard. She often stays in the cover of some Leyland cypress trees and we try to avoid that part of the yard so we don’t scare her.

Trees Coming Down

But recently there have been some changes behind us. Houses are being bought and renovated and in some cases that means lots of trees are being taken down.

Yesterday, several tree companies were out there with chainsaws going all day with lots of buzzing and loud ground-shaking thuds. The dogs were frightened by the constant din and crashes. When we went outside for a potty break, they raced away from the noise to the back corner… the deer’s corner.

I can’t imagine what she was thinking with all the noise. When she saw us coming, she took off but her instinct was to flee from the sound. And she darted in the other direction, out into the cul de sac, down the street.

We watched for her last night and this morning, but still haven’t seen her. It seems that the birds have been extra still as the chainsaws have started up again.

I hope this doesn’t sound too terribly tone deaf. Obviously, our home once sat on land that used to be home to horses and cows and all sorts of creatures. I guess everybody's did.

But I hope too many trees don’t fall today.

By Mary Jo DiLonardo