Imagine Northeast Iowa

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Time to Give Your Christmas Tree to the Birds as Shelter
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Time to Give Your Christmas Tree to the Birds as Shelter

It’s time to take down the beloved Christmas tree and at the same time do something nice for nature by donating your old Christmas tree to local bird life. The tree can provide a shelter for birds, and is makes a great place to put out food for them. The food station would provide shelter while the birds are feeding. Set out your old tree and hang edible decorations such as suet, clusters of bird seed, and peanuts. You could also decorate your tree with strings of popcorn, cranberries and raisins for the neighborhood birds. The food may attract a range of colorful and entertaining birds to your backyard, making the winter pass by quickly.

If left in the home, the Christmas tree will dry up and could become a fire hazard. Outside the tree will stay green all through the winter. Your old tree can be a haven for your birds in the cold temperatures and also can be a pleasing addition to you’re the landscape .

For the most shelter, place the old Christmas tree on the south or east side of your home, away from the cold north and west winds of winter. Anchor the tree securely by setting the stump into the ground and securing the top of the tree with twine to nearby buildings or trees. Then get out some suet and bird seed and watch the birds flock to the shelter of the tree while eating and keeps them away from predators. Soon you will have benefitted the birds and they will reward you by letting you enjoy their antics. You might want to get a spotting scope, binoculars, or camera out to record your luck of luring birds to a sheltered place with food.

We enjoy putting out a tiny artificial tree and adding treats to it and even some Christmas ornaments to make it look festive. We also have put up a few different feeders close by so the birds can have shelter close by the food station. If you are having trouble luring the birds to your backyard wildlife area, it could be as simple as the fact that you do not have any cover for the birds to hide in close by your food source.

Once the birds begin to find your place, you can enjoy watching them. The birds already know my routine of putting unsalted peanuts still in the shell each morning at about the same time on the tree. You will be surprised how they seem to tell time and will be waiting nearby right around feeding time.

I like to feed them before I have my morning coffee so I can watch the colorful birds come to my feeder. We also enjoy watching them on the cold afternoons when we play scrabble, cards or while I’m baking. We also put out a heated dog bowl full of water since the rivers have frozen up. When we get visitors to our Northeastern Iowa home, they also seem mesmerized by seeing the birds close up. And on those cold winter days that we will have this week, it makes the winter more bearable for both the birds and us as we tend to stay inside more and we enjoy the slower pace of winter from our active activities other seasons.

If you know someone who has a bit of the winter blues, you might help them get started feeding the birds and suggest using their old Christmas tree as a bird shelter near their feeders. Also you might want to get them an Iowa bird guide, because soon they will be curious what types of birds come to their feeders in the winter. Happy birding!

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