For the Birds

Happy little birds make the best ornaments!

I attended the dinner Monday night to conclude the first annual Christmas Bird Count conducted by the local Weminuche Audubon Society. The event was a great success with around 50 volunteer counters who are eagerly awaiting for the data to be compiled and reported.

It was while working on the website for the Christmas Bird Count that made me think about the birds…or actually a tree for the birds. Our home is very small, and a point of contention each Season is if we can have a tree and how big. I dreamed up the brilliant idea of a full-size tree on the porch and decorated for the birds. So in November, I picked up a permit from the Forest Service and we went the day after Thanksgiving to find the perfect specimen. I set it up in a stand, tied it off so the wind wouldn’t knock it over, decorated it with lights and treats…

My ideas for ‘ornaments’ came from Wild Birds Unlimited. I first had tried to make my own version of the Grapefruit feeder. My idea was to use tangerine rinds which I’d juiced and used in the Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. I thought I could dry the rinds and hang them with birdseed in them. Unfortunately, not even  a week into drying, they showed major signs of mold and I literally had to toss that idea.

Corn Cobs
Jay in the feeder

Every time I though about photographing the tree, the light was behind it. Which isn't ideal, but I still got some nice photos.

Here was one of the later 'refills' on corn cobs. The wind and huskies also did a number on the lights which I'll have to do a better job stringing next year.

The jays really liked these globe feeders. Now that I'm taking the tree down, I've moved them and no one has tried to eat from them. I'll have to rethink where I hang them.

I had bought the two clear, globe-shaped feeders and some corn cobs at my local Feed Store. I also picked up a few pretty pine cones when we cut down our tree. After the birds picked away the corn from the cobs, I slathered them and the pine cones with peanut butter and rolled in seeds. I’ve had to ‘re-fill’ the ornaments about every week. That is, the ones my huskies didn’t eat.

Another decoration that did not live up to my expectation was the popcorn & cranberry strand. I popped 2 bags of old popcorn and strung them with cranberries. This didn’t make a very long strand, but I placed it on the tree to see what the birds would think. Never touched it. I think a husky tried to swallow it, broke the string and that was the end.

I’ve started to take down my decorations and put them away. I’ve left the tree for now, and I think I’ll refill it once more as I love to watch the birds: chickadees, jays, juncos (but the nuthatches won’t touch it). I really enjoyed it and may have started a new Christmas tradition. Next year, I would like to find more non-edible ornaments that will weather outdoors. That way I can decorate down where the huskies can reach and put the treats up high for the birds. Maybe I’ll look at making some sort of ornament out of recycled materials (like old plastics & metals…plenty of time to daydream for next year).

Disclaimer: This post has very little to do with Subalpine’s business. I must confess, I haven’t found the time yet to build a personal blog, and have a lot of neat ideas, projects & pictures to share. I’m hoping by posting this, it will kick start me to get something going in that direction. Call it a New Year’s Resolution.