Md. State Parks program seeks old Christmas trees for bird enrichment

Seneca, a Peregrine-Gyrfalcon, at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
Seneca, a Peregrine-Gyrfalcon, at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
Barred Owl at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
A Barred Owl at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources) (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
Barred Owl at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
A Barred Owl at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources) (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
Mature bald eagle at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
Mature bald eagle at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources) (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
Ranger Sarah Milbourne, Mo the eagle, and Governor Hogan. (Courtesy Joe Andrucyk/Office of Gov. Hogan)
Ranger Sarah Milbourne, Mo the eagle and Governor Hogan. (Courtesy Joe Andrucyk/Office of Gov. Hogan) (Courtesy Joe Andrucyk/Office of Gov. Hogan)
Great Horned Owl at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
A Great Horned Owl at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources) (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
A Bald Eagle at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Bald Eagle at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Bald Eagle at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Bald Eagle at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Barn Owl is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Barn Owl is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Screech Owl is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Screech Owl is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Screech Owl is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Screech Owl is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Kestrel is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Kestrel is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Kestrel is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Kestrel is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Screech Owl is seen here at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Screech Owl is seen here at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
(Courtesy John Zuke)
The birds need your help in the form of Christmas trees. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
A hybrid raptor is seen here at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A hybrid raptor is seen here at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
Pictured here is a Red Tail at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
Pictured here is a Red Tail at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Barn Owl is pictured here at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Barn Owl is pictured here at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke) (Courtesy John Zuke)
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Seneca, a Peregrine-Gyrfalcon, at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
Barred Owl at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
Barred Owl at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
Mature bald eagle at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
Ranger Sarah Milbourne, Mo the eagle, and Governor Hogan. (Courtesy Joe Andrucyk/Office of Gov. Hogan)
Great Horned Owl at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy Sarah Milbourne/Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
A Bald Eagle at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Bald Eagle at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Barn Owl is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Screech Owl is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Screech Owl is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Kestrel is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Kestrel is pictured here at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Screech Owl is seen here at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
(Courtesy John Zuke)
A hybrid raptor is seen here at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
Pictured here is a Red Tail at Cunningham Falls State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)
A Barn Owl is pictured here at Rocky Gap State Park. (Courtesy John Zuke)

WASHINGTON — You might look at an old Christmas tree at the curbside and think “recycling.” The folks at Maryland State Parks’ Scales and Tales programs look at that same tree and think “furniture.”

Ranger Sarah Milbourne, with the Department of Natural Resources, explains that recycled Christmas trees are used inside the aviaries at six state parks where the raptors in the Scales and Tails program are kept. Milbourne says the trees provide cover and enrichment for animals that came into the program because they were wounded, and can’t be returned to the wild.

Milbourne says the trees give the birds “greenery, protection, and a sense of the wild.”

Milbourne says the trees will be welcomed by the many raptors in the parks: two bald eagles; kestrels; and barred and barn owls. She says the tiny screech owls — they weigh less than 200 grams (about the same as a cup of sugar) — are especially fond of nestling into the trees.

She says if you want to take part in donating your tree, just make sure that all the decorations — including the tinsel — have been removed.

The closest park for many in the area may be Cunningham Falls, in Frederick County.

The Department of Natural Resources has information about recycling Christmas trees with the Maryland Park Service.

Browse through the gallery above to see images of raptors at Maryland State Parks included in the Scales and Tales program.

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