DIY Bird Shop: Nesting Materials
Spring is here! Although birds continue to migrate north, many call Pennsylvania home and are looking for nesting places to raise their young. The nesting material birds use varies among species and habitats, but can include mosses, grasses, twigs, pine needles, leaves, animal fur, feathers, mud, spider webs and more! Help birds find what they need by creating your own one-stop shop of nesting materials to hang in your backyard.
Gather Your Supplies:
- Mesh vegetable or fruit bag (like those from onions or mini oranges) or a metal suet cage
- Natural nesting materials, such as small twigs, mosses, leaves, dried grasses, mud balls, feathers found outside, etc.
- Tweezers (optional)
Place nesting materials in your mesh bag or suet cage, making sure to let some of the materials poke out to entice birds to check it out! You may have to use tweezers for this step.
Tie up the top of the bag, leaving a loop, or close the suet cage.
Hang your bag or suet cage outside and then watch to see which birds take what materials! Try to find their nests and observe them—from a distance—throughout the year.
While some sites suggest placing household items like hair, yarn and dryer lint outside for birds to use as nesting materials, these are actually hazardous to them—so don’t do it. Human hair is long and strong! It can cut the circulation off in a bird’s leg or wing or even sever it (yikes)! Yarn can also entangle birds, and it can hold moisture that could chill baby birds or promote mold. Dryer lint could hold moisture too or disintegrate in the rain, compromising the integrity of a nest, or it might contain chemicals and scents from your detergent and fabric softener. Animal fur from your short-haired dog or cat, for example, is okay as long your pet has not been exposed to flea or tick treatments. When in doubt, leave it out of your nesting materials!