My children love to bird watch at their grandmother’s house. She has feeders in the yard, beside the patio, and attached to the windows with suction cups. Her backyard is a seed and suet smorgasbord! She has several species of birds, finches especially, that swoop in and out of her yard all day.
At our home, however, we mostly have robins and wrens because, well, I’ve neglected them. Poor birds.
This spring I decided it was time to make amends and attract our own feathered friends. In our wooded area we have a sizable squirrel population that also enjoys bird seed, but we could help birds build their nests.
This is a “found things” project. You can create your bird nest supplier out of any basket type thing you may have lying around. The requirements are: it must have large-ish holes, it must be able to withstand the weather, and bonus points if it can hang from your awning or a nearby tree branch. (A strawberry clam-shell from the store, last year’s Easter basket, etc.)
I found a basket that the girls have been neglecting and sent them off to find cloth scraps. They returned with a lonesome sock, some fabric pieces from a rug, ribbon, scraps from under my sewing table, and I added a few twigs from a plant I watered to death.
(This part is great for kids who can wield scissors independently.)
My oldest cut the sock and scraps into 1/2″-1″ wide strips and then threaded them through the holes of the basket. My little one threw the rest of the fabric pieces on top and I tied on the string handle. We also collected some dental floss and shredded a brown paper lunch bag.
To encourage the birds to take a scrap and weave it into their own nests, use something with a lid (like a strawberry container).
My only advice is that if you use a container without a top, don’t be surprised to find that a bird has moved into this nearly-completed nest. It looks pretty cozy already!
More additions for your supply basket:
- Hair from your hair brushes or pet fur (not gross to birds, hair is a great insulator!)
- Yarn scraps
- Thread/Embroidery thread
- Twigs or pine needles from your yard
- Any other natural material you can find
DO NOT Add:
- Lint from your dryer (sounds like a great idea but could actually make birds sick or choke them)
- Food or other material that will break down in the rain/sun
- Metal (like aluminum foil)
I hung my basket in our dogwood tree so it will be within easy view of our front windows. (My oldest daughter will be documenting the species of birds visiting our yard as part of her nature study this spring.)
***Fun fact*** If you have Jackdaws, Crows, or Blue Jays in your neighborhood you can leave shiny things on your porch/patio and they will snatch them up to add to their collection.