How your Christmas tree can become a backyard bird habitat

Many people on P.E.I. may be wondering the best way to dispose of a Christmas tree.

Instead of putting them on the curb right away, a spokesperson from the Nature Conservancy of Canada is recommending Maritimers toss the trees in their backyards.

Some birds that are not used to eastern Canadian winters may be stuck here for the season following post-tropical storm Dorian, according to Andrew Holland, the conservancy's national communications director.

Birds arrive in the fall, perhaps blown off course.

"And some of those could still be around," Holland said. "So they're not necessarily used to our tough winter climate and our winds because they're just uncommonly found in this part of the region."

Holland said leftover Christmas trees can make good habitats for birds such as goldfinches and chickadees.

"Recycling it in your backyard, it will break down organically," Holland said.

Let it rot

He suggests drilling holes in the trees to attract insects. That makes a better environment for the birds.

"That'll move things along too in terms of breaking down that tree," he said. "And actually, it'll benefit carpenter bees and other pollinators who can use it.

"By putting it in your backyard through the coming weeks and months, that can help birds get through the winter."

Holland recommends leaving the tree on the lawn until the middle of May and then taking what's left to the curb.

Decorate with food

Holland said people think about feeding birds at other times of the year, but not so much during the winter. He said people could have fun by decorating the tree again once it is taken outside.

"Decorating it with some peanut butter inside pinecones, you know, stringing some peanuts on it. It might help some birds find some warmth for habitat but also a food source."

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