You Can Help Birds Build Their Bird Nest

Bird Nest

Have you ever found an old bird nest?
Did you a take a close look?
You will be amazed at what you find.

Birds will use many things to build a nest. A few of the odd items that I have found are:
  • spider
  • flower petals
  • butterfly wings
Bird nests are simple, but also an amazing example of engineering. Consider that birds will primarily use only their beaks for construction.

So what can you do to help?
A good start is providing bird food, fresh water and bird house or nest box.
After mounting the nest box, place some wood chips in the bottom. Some birds will use the chips to start their nests; others will build on top them. Be careful to use only natural wood chips with no stain or coloring added.

Here are some other materials that you can provide:

  • Dried grass
  • Yarn
  • Spanish moss (available in most garden centers)
  • Dog hair (that's right, dog hair)
  • Human hair
  • Short strips of cotton fabric
  • String
  • Pine needles
  • Feathers
  • Short thin twigs

All items, such as yarn and cloth, should be around 3 to 4 inches long. Long strands may entangle adult birds and nestlings and cause them to be strangled.

It is very important not to offer plastic or nylon in any form, including fishing line. Once you have gathered the materials that you will be using, get an empty suet feeder. Then put as many items as you can into the basket and hang it near your bird nest box.

Bird nest building can take from a week to several weeks. Be sure to keep the basket full.

Providing the right nest box and nesting materials will help the wild birds, with nest construction. But there is more that you can do.

Consider how hard the parent birds must work to build their nest. They will make a thousand or more trips while searching for materials. All of this work uses a lot of energy. You need to make sure to keep your bird feeders full during the nest-building season, which lasts from early spring until late summer.

Including your children in this project will be a lot of fun. They will be fascinated seeing the parent birds pulling the materials from the suet basket and taking them into your bird house.

At the end of the season, once the birds have left the nest, you will need to clean out your nest box. Everyone can enjoy inspecting the nest to see how the materials were used in the construction.
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