A Christmas story set in May as holiday tree in Shelton becomes a home

A mother robin has built a nest — now filled with two eggs — in a cut tree from Christmas that the Kosturko family had placed in their front yard. (Photos by Brad Durrell)

A mother robin has built a nest — now filled with two eggs — in a cut tree from Christmas that the Kosturko family had placed in their front yard. (Photos by Brad Durrell)

 

The Kosturko family has a tradition of keeping its Christmas tree around for awhile after the holiday.

 

Once the holiday season ends, Tom Kosturko likes to place the tree — freshly cut in mid-December from Jones Family Farms — outside in their yard on Rolling Ridge Road.

“We get so attached to the tree, I hate to just throw it out on the street as garbage because of what it symbolizes,” he said, describing himself as a big fan of the holiday season.

By March, as snow in the yard begins to melt, the tree is usually dry and brown and Kosturko discards it.

 

Unexpected outcome

This spring, however, the family tradition has led to an unexpected outcome.

The tree didn’t turn dry and brown, but remained as green and fresh-looking as ever. Easter came and went, and the tree — kept in a stand in a landscaped area near the front of the house — still looked good.

“It still looked as nice as the day we brought it home,” Tom said.

 

‘So alive and so beautiful’

Early May arrived, and Tom’s wife Susan began asking him to remove the tree so the yard would look more presentable when they hosted a family gathering for Mother’s Day.

But Kosturko said the tree still looked “so alive and so beautiful, I did not have the heart to get rid of it.”

The Christmas tree with the robin’s nest in the center) is near the Kosturko’s Shelton home, held upright by a tree stand that is somewhat hidden from view.

The Christmas tree with the robin’s nest in the center) is near the Kosturko’s Shelton home, held upright by a tree stand that is somewhat hidden from view.

And then he noticed something. A red-breasted robin had made a nest in the tree. Soon, the nest was home to light blue-colored robin’s eggs.

 

‘Divine intervention’

“Now the Christmas tree has to stay, perhaps a divine intervention from Mother Nature or somebody else perhaps,” Kosturko said.

“I told my wife that the tree stays where it is as long as needed for the mother robin and her babies, since now it is their home and soon-to-be nursery,” he said.

Susan Kosturko, who admits keeping the tree outside in the yard after Christmas is a unique tradition, is no longer nagging her husband to remove it.

“My husband is so happy that I won’t touch it,” she said.

 

Watching over the situation

A view of the former Christmas tree with the robin’s nest, near the house, from inside a living room window.

A view of the former Christmas tree with the robin’s nest, near the house, from inside a living room window.

The tree is just outside a large window in the living room, so the family can easily monitor what is happening with the mother robin and the robin’s eggs.

The mother robin doesn’t come around that much anymore, but the eggs appear to be doing just fine.

They try to keep the shade on the window shut most of the time, partly because they have a cat and don’t want to scare the mother robin.

“We don’t know when the eggs will hatch,” Susan Kosturko said.

Anyone driving by the house wouldn’t even know the tree isn’t a live evergreen planted in the ground. “It looks like it’s always been there,” Susan said.

 

New lyrics for classic song, perhaps

Tom Kosturko said it may be time to revamp the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, based on what has happened in their yard this year.

“No more a partridge in a pear tree, but a robin in a Christmas tree instead,” he said.

Another view of the robin’s eggs in the nest.

Another view of the robin’s eggs in the nest.

Susan Kosturko described her husband as being “an outdoors guy” who likes to hike and bicycle. He spends a lot of time walking with his children on Shelton’s trails and rec path.

In general, he’s a bigger bird person than she is, Susan said.

The Kosturkos have two children — Adam, 15, a Shelton High sophomore, and June, 13, a Shelton Intermediate eighth-grader.

Tom is a dental equipment salesman and Susan is real estate appraisal office manager.

 

 

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