Christmas Tree in the Forest
The birds of Eagle Point Provincial Park will celebrate Christmas once again this year at a beautiful spruce tree decorated with edible decorations and lights! This year, the tree is a bit off the beaten path of Rotary-Pembina Nordic Community Trails South. From December 17 to January 3, make the trek with your family or friends! Just follow the signs and edible clues to find the entrance to the Critter Christmas Tree trail and you will discover the Critter Christmas tree too! You may be lucky enough to discover some of our local wildlife feasting at the tree, so bring your camera and binoculars and post your photos on social media at #critterchristmastree.
It’s all about the Birds
Birds that remain in Eagle Point Provincial Park over the winter appreciate the life sustaining calories provided by edible decorations and bird feeders. Seed feeders attract a wide variety of birds – purple finches, pine grosbeaks, evening grosbeaks, house finches, boreal and black capped chickadees, blue jays, Canada jays, white breasted nuthatches and red breasted nuthatches. Woodpeckers may also visit a seed feeder, especially downy and hairy woodpeckers, but they often prefer to visit a suet feeder. Suet* based feeders attract most winter birds, including woodpeckers, jays, chickadees and nuthatches. Boreal waxwings may also visit feeders that have fruit and berries in them. *Suet is raw, hard fat, obtained from beef or mutton. Beef fat is pretty stable in fluctuating weather, so it is ideal for making bird feeders.
You can learn how to identify these birds with a field guide, or visit www.allaboutbirds.org
Make Your Own Edible Decorations
Why not bring your own home made, edible decoration to hang on the Critter Christmas Tree? The birds will love it! Please remember to use animal friendly materials and edibles. Use natural materials for string (hemp, sisal, raffia) and try to avoid processed foods such as bacon fat, white bread, sugary treats, etc. (Most of our winter birds prefer black oil sunflower seeds and plain suet. You can add other seeds to your decoration if you like).
To render your own beef fat, it’s best to grind it up first, then melt it on LOW heat until it liquifies. You can then pour it into molds and freeze for a couple of hours. Once the beef fat has set, you can drill holes in it to thread a string through to hang it up. Try mixing in a bit of small bird seed while it is liquid to add interest for your feathered friends.
For full details on the Critter Christmas Tree and the link to our Christmas Bird Decorations video, visit our website at www.epbrparkscouncil.org/events/critter-christmas-tree-2021/