From YardMap‘s Facebook page:
In an increasingly fragmented and anthropocentric landscape it can be difficult and time consuming to locate enough high quality building materials to make secure and well insulated nests.Many birds will resort to using dangerous materials like plastics, garbage or even cigarette filters. Leaving out piles of natural building materials will help provide birds the supplies they need as well as saving them time and energy that is better spent building, incubating, and raising their young.
Offer broken-up sticks of different sizes, wool or cotton batting, feathers, coconut fibers, untreated animal fur, horse hair, moss, mud in a bowl or puddle, even spider webs and snake skins!
Check out our nesting materials Pintrest board for more ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/cornellyardmap/offer-nesting-materials/
For excellent nest information and an opportunity to take a very active part in the nesting going on in your yard visit: nestwatch.org.
Every year I see the birds gratefully take the dogs hair I leave for them in my garden. There will definitely be some soft nests around here 🙂
It a sweet thought that our pets are helping keep little nestlings warm!
I love this. 🙂 We are fortunate in that there is all kinds of good nesting material out and about, but I am surprised every now and then to see a bit of plastic bag built into a nest.
Thanks, Robin. I’ve noticed Baltimore orioles will use strands of blue tarp. Since plastic is petrol-based, I expect it can’t be all that great for their sensitive little bodies.
What a great post. I get lots and lots of hair from my Sheltie—he is brushed nearly every day. Noortje Russel mentioned leaving it in the garden. Eliza, is that what you do?
I hang pet fur in an old onion bag near the feeders, which is very popular!
I also wash and crush egg shells to offer them calcium for their own egg building needs. Blue jays love these particularly.
Do you scatter the shells under your feeder? Or some other place?
I’ve spread them on the ground, put them on a platform feeder and they’ve even found them when I sprinkled them in the garden. I’ve seen the jays hunting around the compost pile for them, too. They can’t seem to get enough of them!
Well, I usually put them in my covered compost pile, but I’ll start spreading them beneath the feeder and see what happens. Thanks so much for the tip.
My pleasure. Do you get a lot of bluejays? I recall seeing a lot in the Maine woods. Do you get towhees, too?
Yes, lots of bluejays and to me they are never annoying. No, as far as I know, we do not have towhees in central Maine. At least, I have never seen one. What a handsome bird!
My sister lived in inland Wells in the 70s and we would see them all the time.
Interesting! Perhaps they don’t come as far as central Maine. Or, perhaps they don’t like our yard, which is in the woods.
They like open undergrowth of laurel, oak and pine, where they scratch around like chickens. This was in the 70s…maybe their numbers are down? It seems your habitat is similar.
Not much laurel here, or if there is I don’t recognize it. Plenty of pine and oak trees. I’ll be on the lookout for this bird. I’ve been seeing others—cardinals and red-bellied woodpeckers that are recent arrivals to Maine.
I love seeing cardinals and red-bellies (their call sounds like ‘dirt-dirt-dirt’ to me). It is amazing to think that they used to be considered ‘southern’ birds!
I’ve only seen those red-bellies in the last year or two. Now, we have them regularly at our feeder. The creep north. Sometimes, we even get creatures that don’t cause harm 😉
Love it! There’s plenty of debris around for the guys this year 🐦
I usually hang an old onion bag stuffed with fur I brushed from the pets, which is very popular. I expect urban and suburban birds would appreciate nesting material more than where I live that has abundant choices. But easy is always welcomed!
Now that is a great idea!! I’m off to find those dust bunnies and share some love 💛
I love this so much. ❤
Kind of related to your birdhouse posts 🙂 There have been some great ideas in the comments, too.
I hang our labradors hair up with clothes pegs and have a place for moss and birch twigs for the birds to collect. As well as being really helpful its a satisfying thing to do Eliza.
So true, and thanks for the great ideas, Julie!
I’ve put out human hair–as I shed a great deal and have gobs of the stuff. It’s kind of strange to see a nest with shredded plastic woven in, which I’ve noted once in a while. All the nice dog hair would make a comfy nest, I think.
Horse hair and strips of grapevine are also favored, I’ve noted. It can be a bit of a scavenger hunt coming up with different material. A great activity for kids of all ages! 😉
Yup! I left the outside chair pillows out that need to be replaced this year, they are getting the stuffing out of the holes. Great post Eliza. It’s always nice to help our feathered friends!
We love our little buddies!
Such wonderful ideas to help our birds in nature! Thankyou Eliza.
Thank you, Karen. I love helping our feathered friends (they eat lots of bugs for us!)
Oh, this is a good reminder for me to put some things out for our bird friends! Thank you!
Glad to share!
Reblogged this on Kate McClelland.
I have just finished crocheting a blanket and have lots of little ends I will place in the garden so the birds can use them. Thank you so much for posting.
Thank you, Adele. I hope the birds will be happy to use them, the fluffier the better it seems. They always use up all the fur I put out.
Finally a use for the dog hair. Great article Eliza
Thank you, Dorris!
We do our best, but draw the line at nicking our roof insulation 🙂
Guess they’re trying to send a message… “more please!”
I like these postings, Eliza. You always post things that make it all seem “do-able”.
Glad to hear it … that’s my hope when I post!
When I was young, we used to hand orange yarn and white string for oriole nests. Now I brush our ever-shedding Zoe outside and release her clumps of hair to the wind. But I may try the onion bags. And egg shells, who knew? Not me–I’ll give them a try too.
There’ll be happy birds in your neighborhood!
a lovely reminder, Eliza. I know someone who puts outs scraps of coloured yarn and then enjoys seeing the multilcoured nests around!
We have a bird haven here on our property, Eliza, something that I intentionally “saw” over 26 years ago when we basically had nothing but weeds growing. Now on our property we have over 1/2 acre of wild, trees, bushes everything that a bird would want to both build a nest and live. Lots of berries, lots of insects and lots of LOVE from me and our cats. There are times I just stand there in awe listening to hundreds of birds singing. What a feeling that brings. Just wow!!! ❤
Sounds heavenly! ‘If you build it, they will come!’ 🙂
Mother created it, Eliza. That’s what so amazing. Seeds flew, planted and then grew. We had 2 trees total and now probably about a dozen. It’s so filled in that when I look at pictures from 27 years ago, it’s shocking. A LOT can happen in 27 years!!! ❤
I know what you mean. We’ll be here 26 years this July and when I look at the old photos I am amazed. Indeed, a lot grows in that amount of time!
I offer up my dogs’ fur and lots of sticks. Sweet shot.
Nice! I bet their fur makes cozy nests. 🙂
Another post that I must bookmark! Thanks!
You’re welcome, glad to pass it on!
My increasingly large compost pile(s) have much to offer – twigs, grass, stems! I have also left out remnants of “window box Christmas arrangements” cattails – the fluffy downy stuff, sumac. Reminding me to get my birdhouses out and up – I need more, of course. A nice warm nest would be appreciated today! I am home and it is cold and grey here Eliza, not very welcoming. But I planted my peas (: I’m watching gold finches at the feeder – beginning to turn color.
Sounds like you are settling in and are already out in the garden. I have still yet to receive my sweet peas in the mail, backordered since Feb. Looking forward to the garden season ahead!
Oh! ty for this. The wrens around here frequently use plastic to line their nests. I think I will try to make it easier for them to find better materials.
It’s fun to watch them going through the pile of grass and twigs, like discerning shoppers at a bargain table, and pulling the fur out of the little bag, a beak full of fuzz flying off with their prize!
What a beautiful post Eliza.
Thank you, Maria. It is that time of year!