Medium to Fast
Full Sun, Partial Sun/Shade
Acidic, Clay, Drought, Loamy, Moist, Sandy, Well Drained
Wintering moose find the sheer abundance of paper birch in young stands important, despite the poor nutritional quality. White-tailed deer eat considerable amounts of paper birch leaves in the fall. Snowshoe hares browse paper birch seedlings and saplings, beavers find it a good second choice food and porcupines feed on the inner bark. Voles, shrews, Redpolls, siskins and chickadees eat the seeds. Numerous cavity-nesting birds nest in paper birch, including woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and swallows. Pecking holes in the bark, the yellow-bellied sapsucker finds the paper birch a favorite tree. Hummingbirds and red squirrels then feed at sapwells created by sapsuckers. Ruffed grouse eat the catkins (flowers) and buds.
The paper birch received its name from the nature of its bark. Long ago, people would peel layers of the thin, paper-like bark and write on it as a way to send messages. More descriptive names include white birch and canoe birch—recalling its favor among Native Americans and early fur trappers as a resource for sleek, sturdy, and lightweight watercraft.