Flock of Birds Near the National Christmas Tree
This photograph, taken by Matthew D'Agostino on December 5, 2019, shows a flock of birds above the National Christmas Tree during the pre-show of the 97th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. While the birds were not a scheduled part of the evening's performance, they served as a reminder that the event took place on protected natural parkland: the Ellipse on President's Park, managed by the National Park Service.
The lighting of the National Christmas Tree is a cherished holiday tradition in Washington, D.C. When President Calvin Coolidge lit the first tree in 1923, the celebration attracted more than 6,000 spectators. The opening ceremony and nightly holiday concerts have annually drawn hundreds of attendees.