Latin: Cardinalis cardinalis
Photo: Blue Jay and Redheaded Woodpecker. Photo: Ella Clem.
Along the rivers of the Great Plains, woodlands are abundant with birds that thrive in the treetops shelter. These forests significantly increase the biodiversity of the plains, providing shelter from the wind, cooler temperatures, and water for plants and animals. Cavities of decaying wood provide microhabitats for insects, birds, and mammals to live and forage. Dead trees are critical to the woodland ecosystem and signal its overall health, as they provide nutrients, release nitrogen, and store carbon dioxide.