Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v14n25)
Right in my Own Backyard - Backyard Birds Legend - by Brandt Carter
posted: Dec. 15, 2017
Backyard Birds Legend
"How Santa Knows Who's Naughty or Nice"
One day, a chickadee lit on my feeder and began singing. His song told me a Christmas tale about the year Santa Claus lost the List. Goodness, Santa didn't know who had been naughty or nice. There was no list!
Three days before the big night, Santa was still searching his house, workshop and stable - no list. The Mrs. could be of no help because she had to bake her stollens and kugels to finish her holiday projects. Meanwhile, Santa bellowed, "Where is the List? There will be NO Christmas. I don't know who has been naughty or nice!"
image courtesy of Brandt Carter
After much rummaging and fretting, there was a peck, peck, peck at the window. Two snowy owls that lived in the hollow of the old tree outside the kitchen window pecked until they got Santa's attention.
"Can we help?" they asked. Santa replied, "Oh, if only. You see, I have no list. Without it, there will be no trip and no gifts!"
The two wise owls put their heads together to try to save Christmas. They knew the reindeer could not help because they had to save their strength for the big night. The snowshoe hares were too small to hop very far. The seals only went as far south as the California Coast - not far enough. The elves were too busy making last minute gifts. Was there no one at the North Pole to help? Was there no magic left - no miracles?
Finally, the aha! Only one group could help: the birds of the world. All the owls had to do was fly far enough south to issue the alert. Because birds inhabited almost every earthly corner, each bird could go to the home of a boy or girl and watch to see who was naughty or nice. Then the birds would report back so Santa could make the List again.
That is exactly what happened. Christmas was saved. Santa wrote the List again because "a little bird told him so". . . That is, who was naughty or nice. Because all the gifts were delivered on time that year so long ago, birds have been very much a part of every Christmas celebration ever since. Feeding the birds a special treat is an important part of the holidays - a sheaf of wheat, seed wreaths, fruit and nuts. And this is why having a bird's nest in your Christmas tree brings luck for the New Year.