Yesterday, my daughter packed away all of our ornaments, the creche and our Santa collection. Our poor tree looked so pitiful standing there alone when I came upstairs. I took great care of it, however, as I hauled it outside in the stand and reminded it that it was time for the next chapter in its journey.
You see, since I was a child, we have upcycled our Christmas trees to become homes and protection for birds as they come to feast at our feeders. Our trees prop proudly against the trunk of a cousin (yes, sometimes, twine is involved) and provide shelter for birds as they make their way to feeders in the cold wind of January.
As we prepare for sub-zero degrees here in Asheville, I have spent some time outside today shoring up the bird feeders around our yard in an effort to provide nourishment to our feathered friends, mischievous squirrels, and frisky chipmunks.
Here’s what you can do to protect woodland creatures during these winter months.
- Hang feeders in and around bushes and trees with many branches. It know it makes for an obstructed view, but it also protects animals from the wind.
- Add some heartier food sources to your feed–I often buy a winter seed with corn, peanuts and extra sunflower seed mixed in. I also add some fruits and popcorn now and again.
- Sprinkle seed on the ground as well as some birds prefer to feed from there rather than feeders.
- Consider making suet and start hanging it out in late autumn/early winter to provide extra calories and fat. Just be aware that peanut butter is not easily digested by birds and should not be the primary source (can be mixed in small amounts with shortening). See Growing Grace Farm’s recipe here.
- Keep water sources available as animals still need hydration in the winter.
- Upcycle dryer lint around the base of trees with feeders on them so that birds can line their nests.
- Don’t forget to add more seed outside if the snow has covered your feeders or ground food.