Sharing Nesting Material with Wild Birds
by Sue Sierralupe
Lots of people have birdhouses but it is rare that anyone thinks of what goes inside of them. Before the baby birds are born, the parents have build a nest for their little ones. They want their babies to have the softest, safest home that they can make. In the wild, birds choose cattail fluff, grass, or animal hair to make their nest comfortable. In the city, these items can be tough to find.
My kids have saved tiny bits of string, yarn, wool and ribbon for the birds. It is a pleasure to find a bird's nest, high in a tree that has traces of bright orange ribbon woven into it's design. It feels good to know that you have helped build a home for baby birds.
A General Procedure for Project
When I was a child, we threw bits of leftover yarn onto the lawn for the birds. In a few weeks, the yarn was gone. There are other ways of sharing nesting material with the birds. If you are concerned that cats might attack the birds while they are collecting your offerings or adults see throwing string on the grass as a mess, you can gather your collection of string, yarn, wool or ribbons in a pot (as seen in the photo above). Be sure that the items that you offer the birds are biodegardable. That means all of the items are natural and turn into soil over time. It would be sad to have baby birds choking on plastic that it found in it's nest.
Remember that spring can be pretty wet so be sure that your containers have drainage holes so that your nesting materials don't turn into a mushy mess. Some of the items that you choose to turn into a bird nest basket won't come with string to hang it from a branch. You will need to tie pieces of sturdy string to these items to Get an adult to help you hang your collection in a tree or on a hook high above the ground in early spring and watch as your offerings slowly disappears. It's fun to walk around your neighborhood looking for nests that you helped to build.
- yarn cut into 3 inch pieces
- ribbon cut into 3 inch pieces
- cotton string cut into 3 inch pieces
- lace cut into 3 inch strips
- dried grass blades
- cattail fluff
- cotton pillow stuffing
- small feathers
Containers to Turn into Nesting Material Baskets:
- strawberry baskets
- onion sacks
- wire suet holders
- woven baskets
- empty hanging planters
- pots with drainage holes