Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Treat For My Feathered Friends

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Decorating our discarded Christmas tree with special treats for our feathered friends has become a family tradition. The wonderful gardeners who have followed this blog since it began (nearly three years ago) may remember the topic from previous years. If so, I apologize for the repetition and suggest you just scroll through this year's pictures. New readers may like to know what this is all about ...

Even before we went to the tree farm back in mid-December, and before the ground froze, H.H. drove a metal stake into the lawn. He located it where it could be seen from the French windows in the garden room. He would plant the used Christmas tree on this stake when the holidays were over. This season we chose a fine Douglas Fir that perfectly fit our small den.

Old Homstead Tree Farm has lots of trees to choose from.


Our Douglas Fir was shaken in a machine and bound with string,


H.H. carried it to the truck.


The Perfect Christmas Tree
When the festivities were over for another year, HH placed the tree on the aforementioned spike in the lawn. It is appropriately located under a garden flag that depicts a Christmas tree.

Ready to be decorated with treats for the birds
 In the winter, when my garden is covered with snow and there are no blooms to enjoy, the birds come into their own. From my favorite chair in the garden room, I can watch, to name just a few: woodpeckers, juncos, cardinals, wrens, titmice, pine siskins, and adorable bluebirds.

Bluebirds visit the heated water dish every day.
Male Eastern Cardinal.
Dark-eyed Junco

Tufted Titmouse

Female Downy Woodpecker
I love making treats for my darling avian friends, so I gathered the materials to make decorations for the tree: peanuts, peanut butter, bird seed, and yarn. I strung the peanuts to make garlands. After making a yarn loop for hanging the cones, I spread them with peanut butter and dipped them in birdseed.

Bird-seed and peanut-butter cones.


Peanuts for the birds. But will the squirrels get them first?
I braved the cold to dress the tree in its new finery. Boy, was it cold!!



Then I went indoors, camera at the ready, waiting for the birds. I was not a bit surprised when the squirrels found the treats first. They pulled some of the goodies down to the ground. Several birds preferred to eat from ground level rather than land on the branches of the tree.

Can you see Pesky Squirrel peering through the branches?
He soon pulls some cones off the tree!
The Junco enjoys eating seeds from a fallen cone.
Look closely and you can see a titmouse on the peanut garland.
I missed a great shot of this cardinal on the branch of the tree. (You'll have to take my word for it.)
The bluebird was not so sure and stayed in the catalpa tree.
As I finish writing this post, the squirrels are busy destroying my handiwork, but there are plenty of birds enjoying it, too.

I will use this post for Saturday's Camera Critters hosted by Misty Dawn. Click on the banner in the sidebar for more information - I urge you to join in the fun!  For me there is only one answer to the Camera Critter's question, If you could do anything for a living, what would it be? - I just want to continue enjoying being retired!!

(I am posting late for last week's meme rather than waiting until the 22nd, because on Friday I am going back into the cardiac unit of the hospital for heart ablation. I request, dear friends, you keep me in your prayers.)

Love,

Pamela x



~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.

31 comments:

Teresa O said...

Dear Pam...I so enjoyed reading about your feathered friends. What a wonderful way to reuse the Christmas tree. I wish you well and will keep you in my thoughts as you go into the hospital for this procedure. Please take care of yourself.

*warm hugs*

fer said...

That is very nice of you!
I am sure they will enjoy

Diane said...

What a lovely idea, Pam. I enjoyed this post very much. Espeically the bluebird photos - we do not have these in my part of Ontario!

Cheers, Diane

Rosey said...

Hi Pam,
How kind of you to provide a smorgasbord of goodies for nature.
Sweet! I like the peanut idea!

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

I really liked your peanut idea. Your garland is a great healthy treat for all the wildlife. And your reuse of the Christmas tree is so wonderfully placed to get really good photos. It will be a good shelter for the birds too. Like a bed and breakfast.

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

And Pam, you are definitely in my prayers. May God bless.

Jo said...

Hope everything goes well for you, Pam, you will be in my thoughts. I remember your previous post about decorating the Christmas tree for the birds. I thought it was a wonderful idea then, and still do. I love your bluebirds, we don't have them here.

Jo said...

I've left you an award on my blog. Don't feel under any pressure to accept it if you don't wish to do so, I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your blog.

PatioPatch said...

Dear Pam - what an enjoyable and creative idea. Your wildlife post-Christmas tree decorations are brilliant and obviously appreciated by one and all.

Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers
Laura

The Redneck Rosarian said...

Pam, this post really lifted my spirits. I can't think of a better use for a Christmas tree. Isn't it interesting how many of our tiny friends depend on us in winter? Blessings!

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

Pam, this is darling. I love the recycling of the tree. I wrote an article for Fiskars about decorating a live tree for the deck for the birds and then planting it later. I love your idea too.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Stay warm.~~Dee

HolleyGarden said...

This is such a wonderful idea! You have given me a new tradition to start! Hope everything goes well Friday - I'll say a prayer for you.

Elephant's Eye said...

May your kindness to the birds circle round and help your kind heart back to full health! Diana

Karen said...

Pam, my best wishes and prayers for a successful recovery, I will be thinking of you.

Love the Christmas tree idea and all the photos of your visiting birds and creatures. What a great idea!

Vetsy said...

Pam, best wishes and blessings for a speeding recovery. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers, you are going to be fine.

I so miss the activity of feeding my little feathered friends in the winter, I use to make them little peanut treats as well, but school has taken up a lot of my personal time...You made me smile today..I enjoyed the photos of your feathered friends.

My rose post is not completed yet, for some reason it makes it to my blog before I'm done with it.

Thamks for stopping by I'll be back to check on you later on..

John S. Mead said...

What cool ideas for your Christmas tree.... I really like that the tree gets "used" in several ways and benefits a wide range of non humans! Thanks for sharing!

Carol said...

Dear Pam, I will hold you in my thoughts and prayers. Your loving care for the wildlife around you is touching and your photos wonderful . . . I especially love the Bluebirds! Thank you for your kind comment on my Bird Review post! Take good care! Carol

Eliza @ Appalachian Feet said...

Awww... the squirrels and birds feasting on your tree are just adorable! I'd expect nothing less on your sweet blog. Best wishes to you!

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

Great idea. I keep my tree, which was fresh cut from a farm like yours, up for as long as it stays flexible and green. My theory is I wouldn't throw out $100 cut flowers at their peak so why rush to get rid of the tree when I like it so much better. When it is finally done, my husband cuts off and stores its branches for lighting fires the coming winter. Maybe I will add an intervening stage where it sits outside for the birds.

Anonymous said...

Always wonderful pics as usual, Pam! Saying prayers for you all day. Take good care...see you soon.

Love, Mary Anne

Why I garden... said...

The cardinal and bluebird are so beautiful. Looks like you have a great variety of birds and wildlife. All the best, and feel free to stop by my wee Irish garden blog.

Pond Pumps said...

Christmas is always very special for gardeners as we all enjoy decorating our Christmas trees to welcome Santa. I liked all the pictures and also even my garden also gets to have the lovely company of birds.

Msrobin said...

You are so kind to make such a treat for our nature friends!

Laguna Dirt said...

you are so sweet to your little animal friends! you might enjoy reading about the woman i just posted about, who fed the local critters for decades. www.lagunadirt.blogspot.com.

Barbara said...

Dear Pam, I'll certainly keep you in my prayers and wish you all the best for your heart treatment.
Your blog post is lovely - what a great idea! So much better than just dumping the poor used tree. And what a great reward to be able to watch all those birds. I am SO envious of your heated bird bath. Mine is frozen solid right now, but as we have no electricity in the allotment I can't heat it.

Carol said...

Pam dear I hope you are doing well! Thinking of you. Lovely to visit you post again. Carol

Cheryl said...

what a charming and delightful idea. It puts the tree to good use and the birds have many treats to enjoy. I love the fact you make the treats yourself.
I am sure the birds will reward you in the summer by raising their young and feeding them in your garden.

Pond Kits said...

Really it is true watching birds amongst the flowers birds enjoying the pleasure of the garden is a very beautiful sight to watch. This enhances the beauty of the garden. I always enjoy the company of such visitors in my garden very often. Those pictures are cute.

chamomilla said...

This is so sweet! And I hope your big heart is strong and healthy!

Teresa said...

I love this Pam, we have done the same thing in the past. Stringing popcorn has always been something we enjoyed as a family. The birds love the cranberries and popcorn even more than we enjoyed it on the tree. The past several years we have been too busy or lazy to string the corn and used tinsel so we haven't been able to shelter the birds. Next year we have vowed no silver tinsel because of the mess and once again the birds will be happy to see the holidays come to a close at our house. I enjoyed your post. thanks for sharing it, oh and one more comment, darn squirrels...but they are entertaining to watch.

Jayne said...

Somehow I missed this post back in December. What a lovely gift for the birds, I really enjoyed your photos.