With spring on it’s way, you can help birds build their nests by putting out nesting material. This is a fun and easy way to attract birds to your backyard and get kids interested in backyard wildlife.
Nesting material is anything birds can use to build their nests. Depending on the type of nest, the construction and material will vary. Keep this in mind as you gather your materials – the more variety you have, the better chances you will have attracting birds. I know I have found bird nests with bits of plastic or other junk, so my hope is that we can provide them with something more natural. You can also purchase bird nesting materials if you just wish to use that or mix it with your own materials.
A holder is not absolutely necessary, but may help to keep materials from blowing away, etc.
You can either buy a holder, such as a suet cage, or you can upcycle something like a mesh bag (the kind that fruit like oranges might come in). I was able to find a suet cage from Walmart for about $2.
- Yarn, string or thread
- Human hair or animal fur
- Cattail fluff
- Moss or lichen
- Straw or other plant stems
- Pine needles
- Shredded paper
- Cotton balls
Place your nesting materials in your dispenser, making sure that it is easy enough for the birds to remove pieces.
Alternately, you can simply drape materials, such as pieces of yarn, on bushes, shrubs, and so on.
Use materials that are not treated – for example, do not use pieces of fabric that have been treated with fabric softener or natural materials (grass, etc) that have been treated with pesticides. If you use animal fur, be sure that it does not contain something like flea or tick treatment.
Cut materials, especially string, twine, yarn, etc. into small lengths. This makes it more manageable for the birds and helps prevent them from becoming tangled in the materials.
Try to keep your materials in a dry place if possible, if you have an area that is sheltered from rain.
Encourage kids to look for nests, and you can take this activity further by identifying and keeping track of types of birds and their nests.