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Monday, January 4, 2010

Turn your Christmas Tree Into a Feast For The Birds

Winter Bird
"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." ~ Maya Angelou

Turn your Christmas Tree Into a Feast For The Birds

Create a feeder for the birds from an upcycled Christmas tree.

Are the needles falling off your Christmas tree? If so, it's time to think about recycling the tree. Want to keep the tree out of the trash and the birds caroling all winter long? Make a a post-holiday DIY birdie buffet from an old Christmas tree.

Backyard garden bird feeding helps many species of birds survive the winter. Science Daily reports that US and UK households provide over 500,000 tons of food for garden birds each year.

Why feed the birds in winter?

Feeding birds helps lessen the time it takes birds to find food. Birdfeeders may reduce the risk of predation, since feeder birds spend less time foraging and have more time to watch for predators.

Why upcycle a Christmas tree for the birds?

The tree can provide food for wildlife during the cold winter and give protection from cold winds. It also becomes an enjoyable birdwatching stage.

Watch Video: How To Keep Your Birdfeeder Squirrel-Free

Make a DIY Birdfeeder From An Old Christmas Tree

1. Take off all the tree decorations.

2. Find a location where you can enjoy all the action. Make sure the birds are safe from flying into windows.

3. Attach tree to a secure location (a fence or to another tree) using rope or bungee cords.

4. Redecorate the tree with safe and healthy bird food (see below).

What should you feed the birds?

Fat, protein and carbohydrates are what birds need to survive cold winters. Foods like peanuts and birdseed also include vitamins and minerals, which can also produce healthier eggs and chicks. Read Sara's bird feeding guide here.

6 Tips for Winter Bird Feeding:

1. Once you start feeding wild birds, continue throughout the cold season and into the spring.

2. Locate your bird feeder in a sheltered area away from rain and wind to keep feed dry.

3. Keep your feeder a safe distance - at least eight to 10 feet - from protective shrubbery and lurking cats.

4. Most human food is unhealthy for birds, especially salty and sugary snacks.

5. Clean feeders regularly to prevent diseases. Scrape bird droppings and moldy food off feeders and rinse or wipe clean with a natural disinfectant solution of one part vinegar to twenty parts water.

6. Store the seed in a tight, waterproof container to keep it dry and out of reach of rodents.

How do you dispose of the tree after the winter?

Christmas trees can be chipped up in a chipper and turned into useable mulch. The mulch cover can be used to help insulate soil, conserve soil moisture, and keep weeds at bay. It also helps to return nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.

Want to identify bird species at your feeder?

Both iBird and Peterson's famous Field Guide to the Birds are handy downloadable apps for the iPhone/iPod touch.

More for the Birds:

Christmas Bird Count

Use Your Christmas Tree in the Garden

Birdwatching: Not Just For Dorks Anymore

How to Attract Birds to Your Yard

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