I challenge the scare-mongers of Habitat Acquisition Trust to prove their claims.
Their analysis of tree “canopy coverage” was not multi-spectral as it should be for vegetation analysis, and only accurately compares two years, which is not a proper analysis given the variability of vegetation and lighting.
Even if valid, three years is not an acceptable amount of data for trend analysis. The aerial photography presented in Saanich’s GIS is not of good quality, some of it has long shadows with apparent over-exposure to see some detail in the shadows but that washes out detail in lit areas.
I also question its value in principle, as mature trees are tall with most of their foliage volume not visible from above. Note as well that few birds live in forest, and many live in modest trees and shrubs.
Their claims about dead trees fail to recognize the versatility of creatures, who happily nest in many places that are defensible. Spotted owls for example nest in underpasses, on restaurant signs and in canyon walls. And of course birds nest in houses made by that species HAT inherently dislikes, as evidenced in their blaming of humans. Human residences and birdhouses are both better than leaky tree trunks out in the rain and wind.
Woodpeckers are of course looking for bugs in the centre of rotting trees, often making holes that aren’t big enough for many birds. But they eat other things including fruit and nuts. They nest in trees on the periphery of forests. Near buildings, the best is a tall stump of a tree, otherwise they’ll drill holes in buildings.
Reality is that people plant and nurture trees that are future canopy, and even build accommodation for birds.