It has been nearly a month since Christmas came to end, but the gracious spirit of the holiday -- and its chief symbol -- are still alive and well in one town in the English countryside.
Workers in Cramlington were preparing to take down the town's public Christmas tree last week, already stripped of its lights and ornaments, when they discovered a blackbird had taken up residence among its branches. The animal, unseasonably early arrival to the region, had already constructed a nest and laid three eggs.
According to the Telegraph, members of the town council contacted the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for instructions on how to proceed. They were advised to leave the tree up until the mother bird and her chicks move away on their own -- meaning last Christmas will be more than a memory there well into February.
Although the notion of leaving their Christmas tree up for so long has been met with a little embarrassment, folks living in Cramlington seem happy to let the feathered squatter finish her business undisturbed.
"I'm very pleased that it's being protected," said one local. "I'm keen on wildlife and I'm very pleased that the dear old bird and its eggs are being looked after so well by the council. I think it's great."