A Christmas Tree For Birds
Over the Christmas season it is nice to decorate a tree in your garden with some of your garden birds’ favourite foods to give them the essential energy they need during the cold winter months. Children will also enjoy decorating the tree and it’s a great way of introducing them to nature and teaching them about the importance of wildlife conservation.
Choose a tree with lots of horizontal branches so birds can perch easily to feed. Make sure the branches are well spaced so there is room to hang your edible decorations. Although an evergreen tree will give shelter from wind and snow birds may find it more difficult to get at the food.
You want to choose a tree that you can easily view but make sure that it is safe from predators. Pick a tree near your usual bird table and feeders so they can find it easily.
There are many types of bird food you can hang on your Christmas tree. Here are a few ideas:
Strings of popcorn or peanuts in their shells
Whole fruit such as apples and pears
Strings of dried fruit such as cranberries and raisins
Pine cones spread with lard or peanut butter and dipped in bird seed
Bread or toast cut into Christmassy shapes and covered with fat and seeds
Dried sunflower heads
Suet balls and cakes
Small muffins, biscuits and pieces of fruit cake
Small mesh bags filled with nuts and seeds
You can also buy ready made bird seed ornaments or you can make your own bird seed cakes pressed into Christmas shaped biscuit cutters.
To hang your edible ornaments use lengths of string in Christmassy colours such as red, gold and green or use twine for a more natural look. Make sure your string is not made of synthetic materials and once the birds have eaten the food they may collect the string for roosting or nesting material.
Put your edible Christmas decorations up early to give birds plenty of time to find them before the harsh winter sets in. Remove any rotting food and replace the decorations regularly.