1 AUGUST 1952, Page 14

The Poplar Tree

Few birds seem to trust the poplar tree in this area. Sometimes a thrush or a blackbird makes use of the lower branches, but for the rest the poplar tree is hardly ever the choice. Do birds know trees that are safe and those that are unsafe ? Rooks are often credited with such knowledge. The poplar is not a safe tree. It looks beautiful as it stands in the morning sun. It sways in the breeze and whispers to the passer-by, but, when the first high wind comes, one of its branches may split down. It gives hardly any shelter, so there is little chance of man being beneath it in a gale. Last year on the road behind the glen one of the tall poplars-split. It blocked the way for a little while but it was quickly removed, for a poplar tree is light, its wood being buoyant and easily carved into boats by small boys. The stump of the tree that remained had a black-and-brown scar down it, and it was evident that the crack had been increasing over a long period. I could remember the tree as it had been and it had always looked sound.