Penn Acres

Using your own real tree as a birdfeeder sounds and looks pretty. You might want to consider the following.
Using straight peanut butter with the seeds apparently can cause problems with small birds being unable to swallow it or get it off of their beaks . I f it is used really thinly it is probably fine. Using melted beef suet and adding a few spoonfuls of peanut butter and then adding or sprinkling on the seeds has been advised.
Bags of ground suet (ground beef fat) is often obtainable at this time of year in the meat case of your grocery store as it is a main ingredient in christmas steamed puddings. It melts easily in the microwave as you would melt margarine.
I have not been able to find it at other times of the season any more.
We also have used the commercial suet cakes-I am mistrustful of them a bit. If I lived closer to a "wild bird store" i would have a look at theirs.
Occasionally we are able to get chunks of animal fat and nail it to a board or hang in a mesh onion bag.
We also use large cones and pour on the suet mix and pour on seeds right away.
I really hope your tree attracts some birds, it is so neat. I think- "i am sort of a "bird nut" The binoculars and bird books sit on the window sill by my chair all year round and a pair and books in the van.

Many commercial trees are sprayed with a "dessicant" to prevent some drying out. also many are sprayed with fungisides and pest sprays. Presumably all are "safe'. We have notices that even the trees we have purchased from a very small christmas tree-u-cut farm down the road a few miles seemed to have a powdery substance that made my husband cough while he was crawling around in it last year. this year I forgot to phone and ask before they went for the tree and only thought about it when we took it down yesterday. My husband said it didnt bother him at all and he didnt see or smell anything. Perhaps it was an actual powdery mildew last year.
I worry about any extra tinsel on the tree-getting wrapped around their legs. we used to put our "bush cut trees" out with bird seed cones on years ago and I was really careful about getting it all off but now I am not so we throw it onto the "burning pile" until spring
.We often have chickens and they are notorious for getting pieces of bag string tangled on their feet when they scratch around.

Our hanging cones attract chickadees-(black capped and mountain ) nuthatches, and downy woodpeckers.
they are in a large bush pussy willow outside my kitchen windows.
We have four other bird feeders that we use black oil sunflower seed in daily that always have the above birds
plus flocks of evening grosbeaks (smaller group this year) sometimes there are 20 or more-the "piggys" of the bird feeder world. We have gorgeous raspberry pink (the males) pine grosbeaks more abundantly this year . juncos-who actually usually show up more towards the end of spring but I think got "trapped" here with the early heavy snow -they scrabble around in the feeders looking for broken bits of sunflower kernals. Being "ground feeders:. I did buy a big bag of mixed small seed this year , more for them but they will have to eat it in the feeders as it is too dangerous for them to feed on it on the ground under the spruce trees with our cats. We go through about 4 -40 lb bags of sunflower seed a year.
We also get a few Hairy woodpeckers -quite scarce now, although we did see two pair lst spring about a mile from our house. they seem to prefer thicker forest and quieter, they used to come in all the time We get regular visits from the huge Pileated Woodpeckers -noisy flocks of birds at the feeders-especially just before a snow storm seem to bring them and the flickers in to investigate the commotion abut our feeders dont work for them. Occasionally if we get some chunks of fat and Allan is ambitious he will get a ladder and nail chunks of it to a tree agout 12 + feet up and they will hammer away at that.
Again the girls take it all for granted having grown up with it but we draw attention to them and they always run and call me if they see the Pileated woodpeckers come in-they have a huge spruce tree two feet outside their bedroom window and were delighted last year when one would come and poke around under the bark They are well aware of the birds; for all of their seeming indifference; and point out geese and ducks feeding etc more than many of the other kids we have had travel with us.
We feed the ravens on the compost pile-all of the household scraps-we bang the dish a couple of times and hear an answering "Klonk" from nearby. It is neat to notice that if there is a small amount; the two "tree owner" ravens and their last year offspring come in and quietly feed but if on occasion I have cleaned out the frig and there is huge amounts they will call and "invite" some of the others over. Had to quit that the last two summers because of the prevelance of visiting bears but all is quiet now.
grace-where it is snowing again- and i am reminded to go and get some of the small seed for the juncos from the feed room. The girls have settled their differences for the moment and are playing -quad racing-split screen on the playstation.

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Dawn Adams

>Using your own real tree as a birdfeeder sounds and looks pretty. You might want to >consider the following.

Thank You! Our peanut butter was put on very thinly...just for holding on the seeds. I did have some beef fat just the other day and was holding on to it for something similar then someone chucked it. I sunflower seeds and niger seed. I've heard most of the mixed feed you buy is usless filler for the birds. I did not know what you mentioned about the Xmas tree however and I think we'll change our plans. I do have a commercial suet thingee out front and of course, if the seed mixes are mostly filler, my suet thingee likely will be too.
Anyhow...mostly you've made me realize I should read up a little more. :)

Dawn (in NS)
Thank you for the info-

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