A Christmas tree is more than a Christmas tree if you recycle it to help wild birds after the holidays. There are several ways you can turn this ultimate Christmas decoration into the ultimate assistance for birds once you are ready to take it down.
- Instant Brush Pile: The fastest, easiest way to reuse a Christmas tree is to turn it into an instant brush pile for winter shelter for sparrows, quail, doves and other backyard birds. Simply put the tree outdoors for birds to use, ideally positioning it in a sheltered location such as a fence corner or alongside a shed or garage to block even more wind. Birds will quickly find the discarded tree and use it for winter shelter and roosting just as they would any shrubbery.
- Build Bird Feeders: You can turn a Christmas tree into several easy bird feeders even if you have no woodworking skills. Trim the trunk free of branches, then saw the trunk into 6-12-inch lengths. Use a 1- or 2-inch drill bit to create several cavities in each length (either partially or completely through the wood), and attach a hook or screw to one end of each segment. Fill each cavity with suet or peanut butter and hang it outside for woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees and other birds to enjoy.
- Erosion Control: Birders who live near a coastline can donate their used Christmas trees to support erosion control programs along vulnerable beaches. Winter storms can devastate nesting habitat for shorebirds and wading birds, but trees that are properly positioned can keep sand in place and stabilize dunes that are critical for wildlife. Check with local or regional wildlife or natural resource management offices for suitable programs.
Before You Recycle Your Tree
After the holidays you may be ready to get rid of your Christmas tree as quickly as possible, but before you recycle it for the birds…
- Be sure all ornaments, lights, garland, tinsel and other decorations are fully removed. These items can be dangerous to birds and are inappropriate if you want to help wildlife by recycling your tree.
- Learn where approved areas for recycling options may be in your area. Not every beach needs erosion control, but trees may be collected in one spot to be taken to where they are needed most. Nature centers or other facilities may also have limited needs for extra brush in winter and could accept trees to use.
- Ask your family members, friends and neighbors about their Christmas tree disposal plans and encourage them to use their trees to help wild birds as well. The more trees that are used to benefit birds, the more protection and sustenance they will provide, and the more people will be aware of how to help birds with this easy type of recycling.
Make the spirit of Christmas continue long past the holiday season when you reuse and recycle your Christmas tree to help birds!