It is spring and the birds in my yard are either sitting on a clutch of eggs or are in the process of building their nests. A fun way to help and interact with the birds in your neighborhood is to provide nesting materials for them. In the past, I thought any kind of yarn or thread would do, but after some research I found that some materials they can get entangled in (such as long pieces of human hair, thread or yarn) , choke (think dryer lint) or can attract predators (think colored yarn).
Here is a list of biodegradable, safe nesting materials you can supply for your wild birds. Put the materials close to a feeder (or somewhere they easily can spot it) and up high enough to avoid predators. You can get creative and make a simple holder to hang at eye level. It’s fun to watch them pick up your offerings and fly away.
Bird Nest Building Supplies
- Twigs or sticks
- Dead leaves.
- Grass clippings or dead grass.
- Natural fibers:Yarn, string or thread in short lengths.
- animal fur.
- Cattail fluff.
- Moss or lichen.
Three days ago I left out nesting offering on basket. This consisted of pine needles, bits of straw, twigs and pet fur I had brushed out of my dog and cat. In a matter of 3 days the clump of pet fur is almost gone and the other materials hardly touched. It makes sense- wouldn’t you want a soft and fluffy nest too? The biggest delight was the morning after I left the materials, when I opened the front door there was a chickadee on the edge of the basket with a beak crammed full of fur. I had made that momma bird’s day!
If you want to be known as a popular spot for luxury nesting materials, use that discarded fur your pets leave around the house, or just brush them for a supply. They will appreciate that. No pets? I’m sure you friends and neighbors will supply you with plenty on request!
Nests around my home, Artwork by the author