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Birds can Benefit from Recycled Christmas Trees

Sunday, December 24, 2023

As the holiday season draws to a close, the time has come to take down the house full of decorations and pack them away for next year. Consumers are probably tired of vacuuming up pine needles from the floor, but don’t toss the tree to the curb for recycling just yet. As the ornaments are removed from the Christmas tree, consumers can extend the life of that fresh-cut tree out in the landscape.


Fresh trees that have fulfilled their duty as the centerpiece of holiday decorations can now provide food and shelter for the birds in the landscape. Turning the tree into a birdfeeder can be a fun activity for the whole family. Not only will the tree serve as a food source, but it will also provide a cozy habitat for birds, too.


To get started, remove all of the decorations and lights from the tree. Make sure the tree is free of any non-biodegradable material. If the tree is standing in a sturdy tree stand, move the tree outdoors into an area protected from the wind. Try to place it within view of a window so the family can see the birds that come to eat and find shelter. If the tree isn’t in a sturdy tree stand, place the trunk in a sturdy bucket and fill it with soil or rocks.


As a family, make new edible ornaments for the tree. Smear pinecones with peanut butter and roll in bird seeds. Attach the pinecones to the tree with a piece of yarn. String popcorn and cranberries and use them as a garland.


Birds also like fruit. String red and green grapes onto pipe cleaners. Shape the pipe cleaner into a circle and secure to the tree. Another option is to slice a variety of apples. These can be hung on the tree with regular ornament hooks or string/yarn. Once the birds eat the fruit they can use the string/yarn for nesting material. 


Families can do the same with sections from an orange. The rind from half an orange can serve as a bird feeder. Cut an orange in half and scoop out the pulp. Attach the rind to the tree with string or twine and fill it with birdseed.


Our feathered friends don’t have a lot of food options during the winter months, and providing nourishment is beneficial. Creating a natural and sustainable habitat for the birds is a win-win for everyone. 


The holiday season can be hectic as families take part in multiple celebrations and parties. Taking time to slow down and spending time together making edible ornaments for the birds can create lasting memories for the whole family.

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