Habitat Alteration at Sunset Park

By Alex Harper
Beginning in the autumn, you may see trimming of the lower halves of the mesquite trees in the north central part of Sunset Park. The trees surround the Safekey Building and the fruiting mulberry trees that can attract birds and birders in April and May.
According to park managers, there are two main purposes of trimming the bottom portions of the mesquite trees in this area. The first is to reduce the amount of fuel for fires. A fire in this area during the summer of 2022 incinerated a portion of the grove.
The second purpose is to increase visibility in the grove. Park staff and law enforcement would like to be able to see anyone camping in the grove.
Per the park management, only the bottom halves of the trees will be trimmed, and upperparts of the trees will remain intact. No trees are intended to be removed, and there are no current plans to alter any habitat elsewhere in Sunset Park.
Our chapter has made additional efforts to meet with park managers at several parks in the region that support birds. These parks are some of our most prized by birders, and include Floyd Lamb at Tule Springs and Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve. We believe that it is necessary to work with park managers to help highlight the importance of these parks to birds and other wildlife, and anyone who enjoys observing birds and the natural world.
In doing this, we may help park managers and staff identify, maintain and restore habitat, as well as help them make decisions that affect birds and their ecosystems.