Decorating a tree for wild birds and other wildlife is an activity the whole family can enjoy.

While you are enjoying the many tasty treats that abound this holiday season, don’t forget to share some goodies with the birds. If you have a live-cut tree (not artificial) you can take it outside, security it to a post or fence, and decorate it after you’ve finished with it indoors.

 But if you want to celebrate with the birds during the holiday season, you can select an evergreen growing in your landscape. Select a live, growing tree that is strong enough to support animals other than birds, like squirrels, that come to dine. If possible, choose a tree somewhere near a window so that once you have completed decorating, you and your family can sit back and watch as the many beautiful birds and other wildlife come to enjoy their holiday treats.

Here are some ideas for edible decorations that you can make and place on the tree.

  • String popcorn, fresh cranberries, peanuts in the shell, or dried apples on heavy string.
  • Pack pine cones with suet or peanut butter and birdseed then hang them on the tree with heavy string.
  • Hang fresh crab apples by the stem, rice cakes, dried baby corn bundles, dried ears of colorful corn with husks or red seedless grapes tied up in bunches.
  • Birdseed ornaments in many designs and associated feeders are also available for purchase.
  • In addition, peanuts in the shell and whole walnuts can be scattered under the tree.
  • Or make a Bagel Feeder:  1. Split Bagels in half and harden overnight.   2. Spread Bark Butter® on each side of bagel, then sprinkle with bird seed blend.   3. Tie a string through the bagel hole and hang on tree.

Natural rough brown string, cotton string, ribbon and raffia can be used for hanging food-based decorations. Also consider decorating with lengths of natural wool or cotton string. The birds will use this material for nesting in the spring.

Don’t know what to do with your evergreen (not artificial) Christmas tree once the holidays are over? Consider recycling your tree as a habitat for the birds. After the decorations have been removed, place the tree in a corner of your yard. Many birds and other animals will find your tree to be a cozy shelter from the wind, rain and snow.