Christmas couldn’t come at a better time for the backyard birds. In most parts of the country, winter has set in, and food sources the birds have relied on all year have suddenly vanished. Rough winds and falling temperatures use up birds’ energy faster, and they need additional protein to keep up their strength. What luck that so many gardeners, birders, and other nature lovers decorate a bird tree for the holidays!
The idea behind the bird tree is simple. Choose an attractively shaped, highly visible tree in your landscape and decorate it for Christmas . . . a birds’ Christmas, that is, with seed balls and suet cakes among the non-edible finery. Children enjoy this project, and grown-ups like watching the birds swoop in for a snack or a whole feast. Get the camera ready: there will be cuteness!
So what should you hang on your bird tree? Well, you can’t go wrong with suet. This is pure fat, packed with energy. For birds who normally dine on insects, suet is the best source of winter protein out there. Luckily, it is also dirt cheap. Right now we have a suet-cake feeder marked down to $2.49, which is amazing considering the metal alone must cost nearly that. Pick up a few of these feeders, string them in your bird tree and elsewhere in your landscape, and keep them stocked with suet all winter. The birds will thank you!
Another good winter snack is peanuts in the shell. Rain, snow, and other wet weather won’t affect shell peanuts a
s quickly as other types of seed. Of course, the look of a traditional birdseed wreath is hard to beat!
In addition to these serious protein sources, you must have fun treats on your tree! That’s where these shaped birdseed ornaments and seed balls come in!
Designed just for the holidays, they hang from the boughs of your bird tree and call out to all the neighborhood flyers to come in for a bite. The good thing about these ornaments is that they are so eye-catching, they may actually encourage your neighbors to begin hanging the occasional treat for the birds, too. Let’s face it: anything that helps keep our gardens full of
beneficial visitors and beautiful guests is a great thing! So let’s all decorate our bird trees, keep our feeders full and the water in our birdbaths thawed, and help our friends through the winter months!