Crews to thin trees at refuge

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LEWISTON – Foresters should begin culling dead timber from the Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary this week in an effort to improve wildlife habitat.

“We were waiting for the first snows and real cold, and we have that now,” said Susan Hayward, president of the Stanton Bird Club. It’s part of ongoing maintenance of sanctuary.

“This is nothing new,” she said. “It’s something we’ve done for years and years,” she said.

Forestry crews will concentrate on removing dead or dying red oaks and American beech trees, making more space for healthy trees to grow.

Many were damaged during the 1998 ice storm; others are infected with beech bark disease.

The remaining trees should grow better, dropping more acorns and beechnuts, and that’s good for forest animals.

A few old, dead trees will be left as nesting places.

“People don’t always realize that our job is to promote Thorncrag as a wildlife sanctuary,” she said. Nuts from those trees are used as primary food source by 31 different bird species, including grouse, chickadees, finches, sparrows, woodpeckers and jays.

Most of the work will occur along the yellow and white trails.

Hayward said the work should begin this week and should last for up to three weeks.

Workers will post warning signs at the gate when they are present.

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