It took three long days, once I added bird seed, for the first intrepid chickadees to notice the lonely little bird feeder high on the open upper deck outside my bedroom window.
The few who were brave enough to venture onto the very exposed deck darted in, grabbed a seed and flew away – presumably someplace safer and more protected – to eat their prize.
Darn. Well, maybe a couple of branches to perch on would help. Off I trudged, limb-lopper in hand, to the edge of the wood line.
Soon, thanks to several electric tie-wraps, my bird feeder had a couple of odd looking but acceptable branches attached.
To make it a tad more festive, I added a couple of loops of colorful beads and a strand of plastic icicles. I figured the birds wouldn’t mind. They didn’t.
I should apologize up front for the poor quality of these photos. The skies have been a cold, flat gray for what seems like weeks, and I’m just not getting a lot of color to show up. Ack. Hopefully, the story will stand on its own.
Once I finally had birds flitting in and out, alighting on the branches and squabbling over space at the feeder – my mood started lifting. Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner?
I wondered if the birds would mind if I added a few more colorful Christmas decorations? Still working on that “Christmas spirit”, don’t cha know. Let’s see …
Well … although the birds barely noticed my plastic Breyer deer, and actually approved with obvious delight the wicker sleigh filled with seed (placed on the shelf under the feeder, giving the birds access to seed even when falling snow buries the feeder itself) – the big, shiny sleigh bells were a bit much for them. The birds boycotted the feeder for several hours!
Finally, one of my trusty, intrepid chickadees checked it out, swooping overhead first, then finally landing atop the feeder. It eyed the new sparkles, head tilting back and forth – then grabbed a black oil sunflower seed and flitted off.
He must have spread the word though, because within minutes, I was back in business.
This told me that although the birds were willing to adapt to changes in the dining area, maybe I’d better not get carried away. I added a few pine cones, a little snowman. It looked OK.
Then the package from my friend in Arizona arrived. Among other items were a trio of adorable little wooden dachshund Christmas tree ornaments!
Motivation renewed, I determined there now MUST be a Christmas tree of some sort for these cute little ornaments. I haven’t put up an actual Christmas tree in years. Oh my.
Limb loppers once again in hand, off I went. Keep in mind, with only limb loppers, and outside temperatures in the teens, I wasn’t exactly willing to wander through the woods looking for something big and lush and beautiful. I figured 3-4’ sounded about right.
Once I harvested the perfect tree (envision “Charlie Brown Christmas” 😉), I headed for the basement, digging through a ridiculous number of Christmas boxes until I finally unearthed the one with my miniature Christmas tree ornaments in it. Success!
I lugged my little tree and it’a trimmings upstairs to the deck, where I completely ran out of steam. Dumping the sad little tree on the snowy deck, I retreated to my bed, where Rhonda and I huddled together under the down comforter to warm up with cocoa and a Christmas movie.
The following morning, frozen fingers and spirit revived, I was determined to see my vision come to fruition.
Getting the tree to stand up-right next to the bird feeder, so it’s little spruce limbs could brush up against the feeder, added a cozy homeyness I hoped the birds would appreciate.
It wasn’t easy to accomplish, and since I was balancing it atop a wire dog kennel (which the birds actually like – go figure), construction included the use of bungee cords and more electric tie-wraps.
Once the tree was secured in place (we’ve yet to see if it remains standing through any sort of wind), I hurried back indoors to once again warm up.
I found myself wishing I’d thought to do this while it was still above freezing outside.
Repeating this outside/inside/warm up rotation throughout the afternoon, I was eventually compelled to call the project complete.
I discovered several fun facts during the process.
No matter how cold it is, you cannot hang ornaments on a spruce tree while wearing gloves. Gloves stick to spruce needles like Velcro.
Once chickadees and nuthatches get used to you standing out there by their feeder, they lose all fear. I had birds flitting around my head, scolding me for my temerity (it’s THEIR feeder, after all!). One chickadee even made my day by landing on my arm. 🥰
When there is bird seed to be had, even pine grosbeaks are willing to put up with Christmas decorations.
This morning, I awoke to find Mother Nature had “flocked” my Christmas tree and feeder. ☃️ It’s a good sign. Merry Christmas!