A porcupine rests near the top of a pine tree at the Turnbull Wildlife Refuge on Monday.
This photo, taken by Cindy Miller, highlights how the behavior of one species impacts other animals.
Porcupines, which are common throughout the refuge, chew at the top of pines and eventually kill the top of the tree, refuge biologist Mike Rule said. As the dead spot decomposes, a cavity is formed and big brown bats nest in the hollowed-out space.
According to research done in the late 1990s, roughly 80 percent of all the big brown bats found at Turnbull lived “in dead top trees that were likely caused by porcupines.”
While the top of the tree may be dead, other branches will continue to grow, creating additional habitat for red-tailed hawks, bluebirds and several species of woodpeckers, Rule said.
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