Birds and Blooms Blog

Get the latest birding and gardening tips from our expert bloggers.

Home Decor: Bird Christmas Ornaments

Thanksgiving is over and I am busy putting up our Christmas tree.  One of my favorite types of ornaments are birds of which I have a nice variety of.  However, I do like to add to my collection each year.  I’ve done some searching for new bird ornaments that maybe you would like to add to your tree or give as a gift to the birder in your life. I have included links where you can go to purchase the ornaments - many are available online too.

Gift Ideas Bottlebrush Cardinal Ornament

This cute cardinal is dressed as an elf for Christmas and is made from bottlebrush.  He is available at Pottery Barn, who also has a broad selection of bird-themed ornaments including sequined birds.

Christmas Ornaments Natural Glitter Owl Ornament

Who wouldn’t love to see this little owl perched in their Christmas tree?  This Natural Glitter Owl ornament is available at Pier One.

Gift Ideas Holiday Fabric Bird Ornament

Every year, Target has a large selection of bird Christmas ornaments and I always have to make room on my tree for them.  Just in time for this season, they have Holiday Fabric Bird ornaments for a cheap price – only $3 each.

Blue Bird Christmas Ornament

I love using blue ornaments on my tree.  This year, Kohl’s has a very pretty blue bird, which would look great hanging from any Christmas tree.

Pearl Owl Ornaments

For those of you who like the more traditional glass ornaments, how about this set of 3 Pearl Owl ornaments from JCPenney?

These are but a small sampling of the many bird-themed ornaments available this year.  In addition to looking great on your tree, they make great hostess gifts too!

Do you add bird decorations to your Christmas home decor?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rob Ripma

All of us here at Birds & Blooms hope that you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! In honor of the holiday and all the turkey that will be eaten today, here’s a photo of a male Wild Turkey in full display.

This Wild Turkey was photographed by my friend Brian Zwiebel in Sierra Vista, Arizona several years ago. You can see more of Brian's amazing photos on his website.

This Wild Turkey was photographed by my friend Brian Zwiebel in Tucson, Arizona several years ago. You can see more of Brian’s amazing photos on his website.

Turkey Tales From Our Community

Jill Staake

Here comes Thanksgiving!  Tomorrow, 88% of Americans will dine on turkey, consuming more than 46 million of them along with all the fixings. To celebrate these beloved birds, I asked our Birds & Blooms Community members to share their favorite turkey tales, along with photos of backyard turkey visitors. Want to chime in? We’d love to hear your stories and see your photos too… join the conversation here.

Darlene shares, “I have lots of turkeys in my back yard all year long. I love spring when they bring all their little babies. This picture I took a few weeks ago. It was the week turkey [hunting] season opened. They must know that they are safe in my yard.”

Turkey Tales Darlene

Community member Steve had this turkey drop by the field next to his yard this past spring, where he thinks she may have had a nest.

Turkey Tales Steve

Member growinggranny_va_z7 made us chuckle: “When I lived in Alabama our property was above the lake and my sisters was on the lake next door. One afternoon she called me and told me there was a turkey swimming across the lake. I told her to quit drinking and headed outside. Not too long after that, up her driveway came a huge turkey, walked right past me, across the road and disappeared into the pasture there. I hated to admit that to her – but I did!”

Speaking of turkeys on the driveway, member Judy (fisheddyNYzn5A) snapped this photo.

Turkey Tales Judy

See more photos and turkey tales on our Community forums, and share your own as well. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Backyard Garden: What Are You Thankful For?

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year that sometimes gets overshadowed by Christmas.  I must admit that this sometimes happens to me.  This year, I have decided to focus on things that I am thankful for in the garden.  I invite you to take a moment to think about what you are thankful for in your own garden.  It might be a new piece of garden art, or maybe you enjoyed a visit from a rare bird.  A new set of patio furniture or a fire pit can be reason to be thankful.  Maybe you tried out a new plant that has rapidly become your favorite.

In the midst of the busyness of this week and preparing all sorts of food for Thanksgiving, I took a few moments to write about what I am thankful for with a garden theme…

Gardens of Vizcaya

1. Visiting the Italian-themed gardens of Vizcaya in Miami, Florida earlier this year.  These lush tropical gardens surround a grand estate right on the water.  I always enjoy viewing gardens in other regions and seeing all of the plants that are so different from those that I grow at home.

New apples on tree

2. Making applesauce from our first ever crop of apples from our apple trees.  Usually, we pick our apples from my mother’s trees, but this year, our young apple trees produced their first crop!

Salvia microphylla 'Lipstick'

3. Discovering a new variety of a favorite plant.  This plant has a new home in my backyard garden.  I’ve been wanting this Salvia microphylla ‘Lipstick’ ever since I first saw a picture of it.  Imagine my delight when I found it for sale at our local botanical garden’s plant sale this fall.

Hardy to zone 7, this small, shrubby perennial produces tubular shapes flowers that are irresistible to the Anna’s hummingbirds in my garden.

Tuscan planters

4. The gift of three large Tuscan pots from a restaurant that decided to redecorate their exterior.  When I first laid eyes on these pots, they were resting off to the side of a patio.  When I commented on how beautiful they were, they offered them to me for free.  I could hardly believe my good fortune.  It did take a lot of work and muscle, courtesy of my husband and nephew to get them delivered to our house.  Right now, they are sitting in front of our shed, but I have big plans for them – I’m torn between planting a large succulent such as agave in them or maybe a flowering shrub like bougainvillea.

Olbrich Gardens

5. Traveling through the upper Midwest and touring many beautiful, botanic gardens.  This past summer, I took a road trip that led through Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Along the way, we made stops in Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Mackinaw Island before driving through the upper peninsula of Michigan.  Then we drove down through Green Bay and visited Door Country in Wisconsin before heading to Madison, where we spent an entire morning exploring Olbrich Botanical Gardens.  The peonies were in full bloom and this was definitely my favorite garden that we visited.

I am looking forward to what this coming year will bring in the garden and beyond!

What are you thankful for in the garden this year?

Looking for Bird Species on Lake Erie

Rob Ripma

Each year, Black Swamp Bird Observatory offers several boat trips on Lake Erie to see the various bird species that occur out on the lake. I’ve been a leader on these trips for a few years and was happy to be leading another trip on the lake this past weekend. Although the day started out with some freezing rain, once it cleared up we had a great time birding. We’re always looking for waterfowl and gulls on these trips and we found plenty of both of these families this year. Our highlights from the trip included Long-tailed Duck, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Red-necked Grebe, Surf Scoter, and many others!

One of our big highlights for the day was finding a group of 4 Surf Scoters.

One of our big highlights for the day was finding a group of 4 Surf Scoters.

The most common gull that we find during our boat trips is the Ring-billed Gull.

The most common gull that we find during our boat trips is the Ring-billed Gull.

There are also plenty of Bonaparte's Gulls to be found.

There are also plenty of Bonaparte’s Gulls to be found.

Berry Ornament Place Card Holder

Use this craft as a place card holder on the Thanksgiving table. Guests can then take this berry ornament home to hang on the Christmas tree.

From Our Community

A prayer please for Sherry's Charlie,

She is taking him to The ER,  she said something is not right, can hardly walk and this morning he seems like he's drunk and slow.
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Good Morning in the VSR-11/28

I am up, dressed and ready to head out to NY. It looks like it will be clear all the way up...sure hope so. I will see you…
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