During the holiday season, we buy special foods, bake treats, and plan big meals. It can be nice during this time of celebration to spread the joy with our local wildlife as well. Not only will they benefit, but you’ll enjoy it too.
Choose an outdoor tree to decorate. If you have an evergreen tree, that will look the best choice, but any tree (or shrub) will do. If you have pets, it’s best to try to choose a tree away from where they normally are.
You can either buy or make decorations, or use a combination of bought and home-made ones. Making them can be a lot o fun, especially if you have kids to help out. Here are some good decorations.
1. You can make a beautiful bird-food garland. You will need a needle and thread, popcorn, and cranberries. Push the needle through the popcorn (pop it first) . Alternate stringing on popcorn and cranberries. I usually string on a cranberry every three inches or so. This will make a garland that looks beautiful and festive, and provides a variety of food types that hungry birds can come nibble on.
Alternatively, you can use bread chunks and any other type of berry.
Then just hang on your chosen tree outside .
2. Instead of baubles, hang out entire sunflower heads. This will give birds a place to perch as they nibble out the seeds. I grow sunflowers during the summer, and save some of the dried flower heads to hang out for the birds during the eaner winter months. You can also buy fresh sunflowers to hang out.
3. Slice up an apple. String ribbon or string through each slice and use it to hang it from the tree. These not only make festive decorations, but supply important nutritious food for wild birds. You can do this with almost any type of fruit, but apples have the advantage of both looking pretty and festive, and lasting better in cold weather.
4. You can buy or make “fat balls” that will last for long periods of time and feed multiple birds.
Use your imagination to come up with more decorations. Just look around your kitchen for a few snacks the birds might enjoy. Making these treats and then hanging them out makes a fun festive activity for the whole family.
Afterwards, make a nice mug of hot cocoa and sit by a window bird-watching. You may be surprised by the variety of birds who come to enjoy your holiday feast.