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Christmas trees are for the birds

December 27, 2010

T’was the day after Christmas and all across the land millions of Christmas trees were… well, being dumped. Wait! Your tree brought your family enjoyment throughout the holiday season, and it can continue to be a point of interest near your bird feeders. Used Christmas trees provide the birds with excellent shelter from winter winds and wily predators. Rather than send the tree off to the landfill or shredder, why not “plant” it in the yard and continue to enjoy the tree–and the birds attracted to it–throughout the winter? In snowy areas of the north, your used fir or spruce can simply be propped-up in a snow bank. In warmer areas, plant the tree in a small hole or tie it to a deciduous tree. Enterprising bird watchers may want to gather a few used Christmas trees from the neighborhood and create a tepee by leaning multiple trees together and using some rope to tie the tops in a bunch.

In addition to offering food, providing adequate shelter is the best way to attract more birds to your yard. Evergreen trees and shrubs, like Christmas trees, provide dense cover even after the needles fall off. Birds are guaranteed to make use of recycled trees, just be sure to remove all tinsel and other decorations. Next year, consider purchasing a live Christmas tree and planting it after the holidays and creating long-lasting shelter for the birds. My family’s old live Christmas trees are planted in a grove and are used by nesting Chipping Sparrows and American Robins every summer–a lasting legacy from Christmases long past.

– David Bonter, Project FeederWatch

  1. lori permalink
    December 27, 2010 10:01 am

    We have been putting our tree, right in the stand, in our back yard for years and then we dump bird seed from the top down. Our birds love it and since it’s close to our back door, it is easy to get more seeds out rather than trek to our feeders up the snowy hill.

  2. Linda Moorehead permalink
    January 9, 2011 2:54 pm

    When theholiday are over, we always place our fresh cut Christmas tree near our feeders. We lash ours to the fence and it stays there until the following year. The birds love it especially during snow storms. We purchase Caanan Firs whose fragrance can still be detected in the summer. Wonderful trees. We live in the woods with very little space with sunlight for planting more trees. If we did Caanan Firs would be out first choice.

  3. Phil Bradley permalink
    January 24, 2011 11:58 pm

    I tried this for the first time this year with a Frasier Fir. It is right next to one of my feeder stations. We have a Coopers Hawk that really “loves” the buffet we set. I bet the Goldfinches appreciate it!

  4. Linda Dunn permalink
    February 3, 2011 9:57 am

    We’ve been doing this for years also. We get a rather large tree and we just drag it out onto the deck next to the bird feeder. The birds love it. In the spring when it gets kind of ugly looking we drag it out to the back and put it into a brush pile which then provides shelter for wildlife during the summer months.

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